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133.R

British spade

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chris mccarthy

Simon

I was always under the impression that you called a spade a spade. Now I have my doubts.

Chris

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tocemma

Sven,

A very nice example of a Shovel, GS. It is a typical example of the time. These have always been difficult to find in good order, well done!

I have added some photos of the Shovel, RE, this example marked A & F Parkes Ltd., 1902. Also for the sake of completeness a couple of photos of the issue pick. The one shown is marked Hardy Patent Pick Co Ltd., Sheffield, 1915 on the helve. The head is marked 1916. Axe, Pick, Head, GS. and Axe, Pick, Helve, GS.

I also have a Shovel, GS., marked Parkes Ltd (no sign of the A & F) and is dated 1914. However there has already been too much repetition in this thread! If anyone needs to see the photos I am happy to oblige.

When issued for major attacks, the mix of tools is sometimes noted in Battalion orders. I will find some examples and post, but usually it seems to have been four or five Shovels GS, to every Pick or RE Shovel issued. I have seen a specific order mentioning the issue of the RE Shovel on a wider scale. I will also look this out.

Tocemma

On the wider issue of intrenching tool etymology.....

These tools seem to have been termed 'Shovels' in official terms until at least the end of WW2.

I own a WW2 armoured car, a Daimler, and this has a Shovel, GS., as part of the stowage. It is listed in the stowage diagram and in the handbook for the vehicle, as JA 1320, Shovel, GS!!

I once owned a Bren Gun Carrier (Carrier, Universal, Canadian, MKI* for the pedants out there) which was fitted with a CO1UC 100703 Shovel, GS, (British Pattern, JA1320)

The only other point I would make is that most of the dated WW1 GS Shovels I have seen have blades of the 'strap' type secured by three rivets (like the RE Shovel shown below) IE a strip of steel either side of the handle, and riveted straight through (like Sven's example) Later WW2 Shovels were mostly of the 'socket' type, where the forged blade is wrapped around the handle and attached by only one rivet (like most modern shovels, spades and forks) These are easier and cheaper to produce and repair, though less durable than the 'strap' construction.

Finally to avoid accusations of shovelism or being regarded as a spadeist,

Some well known German proverbs:

die Dinge beim rechten Namen nennen English translation - Call a spade a spade

jedes Ding hat zwei Seiten English translation - there are two sides to everything

and lastly on the subject of 'Dings'

reden wir von andern Dingen English translation - Let's talk about something else!

 

 

 

Edited by tocemma

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Simon Jones

Ram - stop that!

Tocemma - Brilliant photos!

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133.R

The shovel is now cleaned and the wood preserved .

..

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tocemma

Sven,

Excellent job, it looks great.

Regards

Tocemma

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Andrew Upton

For those interested, this is my 1916 shovel, which compares very favourably with the RE Shovel illustrated earlier, mainly differing in having a much longer metal shaft to the head and a D-handle. This was a reclaimation yard find about 10 years ago costing £15, and was still being used to shovel wet cement on occasion! It suffered an unfortunate fall a couple of years ago, and resulted in me having to get the original handle replaced as it broke off just above where it enters the metal shaft of the head. The original wood is actually scorched from where it was fitted into the still hot metal:

http://postimage.org/image/7ttbxmhw/full/

RIMG1217.jpg

http://postimage.org/image/172z78p50/full/

RIMG1218.jpg

http://postimage.org/image/7vz26xpg/

RIMG1219.jpg

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Andrew Upton

Although dated 1938 or 1939, this spade (still in regular gardening use) is a pretty spot on match for the MkIII spade illustrated earlier:

http://postimage.org/image/eknrpgk/full/

RIMG1221.jpg

http://postimage.org/image/12mk3aimc/full/

RIMG1222.jpg

http://postimage.org/image/fg2zauc/

RIMG1224.jpg

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Grovetown

The only other point I would make is that most of the dated WW1 GS Shovels I have seen have blades of the 'strap' type secured by three rivets (like the RE Shovel shown below) IE a strip of steel either side of the handle, and riveted straight through (like Sven's example) Later WW2 Shovels were mostly of the 'socket' type, where the forged blade is wrapped around the handle and attached by only one rivet (like most modern shovels, spades and forks) These are easier and cheaper to produce and repair, though less durable than the 'strap' construction.

The Most qualification was well put there - my 1911 shovel is of the strap type; while I also have a 1918 one by Brades Co that is socket.

Cheers,

GT.

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Andrew Upton

Profile comparison - these display what I would personally consider as the main differences between a spade and shovel, the former with the curved, broad and noticably V-shaped blade ideal for moving loose material, the latter smaller and with a very flat profile ideal for cutting:

http://postimage.org/image/12n0mnzk4/full/

RIMG1220.jpg

http://postimage.org/image/hgumkkk/

RIMG1223.jpg

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SiegeGunner

I am tempted to quote former British Defence Minister, Dennis Healey, who was wont to say "When you're in a hole, stop digging" ...

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Pete1052

The classification of the genera and species of military digging implements is truly a sadly neglected area of military history that cries out for further study, and may have a Ph.D dissertation in it for a determined scholar. Since World War II we in the U.S. have been calling them Entrenching Tools. Our model during that war was copied from the one the military genuises in the Wehrmacht had -- it has a blade that can be adjusted 45 degrees to make it either a pick or a shovel. I have one in my car, ostensibly for digging out from mud or snow, but mainly for the purpose of bashing unpleasant people on the head should the need ever arise. The police here would not regard it as weapon should they see it at a traffic stop.

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Pete1052

If Andrew Upton were to write the definitive book on this subject he could be to military digging implements as Linnaeus is to botany. Who knows, the Royal United Services Institute might even give him a free lifetime membership. :hypocrite:

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truthergw

Scots and Irish building site operatives referred to some spades as grafts.

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SiegeGunner

Our model during that war was copied from the one the military genuises in the Wehrmacht had -- it has a blade that can be adjusted 45 degrees to make it either a pick or a shovel.

When set at 90° to the handle, it becomes a mattock, not a pick. Some entrenching tools also have a small pick that folds flat to the handle when the digging head is in the spade/shovel position.

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SiegeGunner

I've always understood a 'graft' to be an absolutely flat-bladed spade for cutting square edges (eg. in turf) or cutting perfectly straight-sided holes or cutting out regular-shaped spits of material such as clay.

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ph0ebus

I've always understood a 'graft' to be an absolutely flat-bladed spade for cutting square edges (eg. in turf) or cutting perfectly straight-sided holes or cutting out regular-shaped spits of material such as clay.

Are you referring to an edger?

mid-length-ergonomic-professional-grade-edger-garden-tool-for-garden-edging-lawn-edging-driveway-edging.jpg

Or, something else? This thread is giving me quite an education, though on what, I'm not sure. :)

-Daniel

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SiegeGunner

No - that looks more like the paddle out of a food mixer, and it has a distinct bulge in the middle, so it isn't absolutely flat (or is that an optical illusion?). The implement I know as a graft has a normal length shaft with a T or loop handle at the top.

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Krithia

Mines bigger than yours ! Did you know about the lesser known "GS Shovel Brigade"?

post-1114-050047500 1290548972.jpg

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ph0ebus

No - that looks more like the paddle out of a food mixer, and it has a distinct bulge in the middle, so it isn't absolutely flat (or is that an optical illusion?). The implement I know as a graft has a normal length shaft with a T or loop handle at the top.

It's actually flat. I have one out in the shed I could photograph but I just piled ot of stuff out there this past weekend...it might take till spring to extract it...I use it for edging along the driveway and garden.

-Daniel

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SiegeGunner

Is anybody interested to see german spade variants with cover?

I could take or leave the cover, Sven, but would be interested in seeing some German spade variants - not least because of the fearsome reputation of the sharpened short German spade as a trench-fighting weapon.

German digging implement terminology is doubly confusing, of course, as a Pik is a Spade (but only on playing cards) ...

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SiegeGunner

I have one out in the shed I could photograph but I just piled ot of stuff out there this past weekend...it might take till spring to extract it...I use it for edging along the driveway and garden.

You obviously live in the part of New York that we don't see on TV over here, Dan ...

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ph0ebus

You obviously live in the part of New York that we don't see on TV over here, Dan ...

Dang, I've blown my cover. I'm a suburb-dweller. :)

Pete's point about the folding shovel is true...I have one myself and it has gotten me out of many a tight spot.

-Daniel

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Pete1052

Before I read this thread I had the impression that many of the guys who collect obscure items of military equipment led dull lives. I was under the impression that years ago when Dad lent them the car during their teenage years none of their dates had ever unzipped their pants, nor had they done the same to the girls. Boy was I wrong, I really underestimated how aroused these guys become when they get rowdy and out of control! These guys are real live wires, particularly when the discussions turn to the proper nomenclature of old army stuff and they want to fight to the death about the differences between shovels, spades, entrenching tools, picks and maddocks.

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ph0ebus

Before I read this thread I had the impression that many of the guys who collect obscure items of military equipment led dull lives. I was under the impression that years ago when Dad lent them the car during their teenage years none of their dates had ever unzipped their pants, nor had they done the same to the girls. Boy was I wrong, I really underestimated how aroused these guys become when they get rowdy and out of control! These guys are real live wires, particularly when the discussions turn to the proper nomenclature of old army stuff and they want to fight to the death about the differences between shovels, spades, entrenching tools, picks and maddocks.

Them's fightin' words! Lemme get my entren..., no, spa...oh, forget about it.

-Daniel

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