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paul@bolton

Found at High Wood

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paul@bolton

post-17018-0-19678000-1305653587.jpgThis was found in the field adjacent to High Wood last weekend, very close (within 40 meters) of the Black Watch memorial and mine craters. It is made of silver (hallmarked) and has the Ferguson family crest and motto 'Arte et Animo' on it.

Would anyone have any idea what it is and who it might have belonged to? Maybe I'm assuming too much but something as valuable as this seems likely to have belonged to an officer or at least someone from a well off family.

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Old Owl

Hi Paul,

Your attached photo does not seem to want to download.

Robert

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Tom Morgan

What an interesting find. You could speculate that the item belonged to this officer.

Tom

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paul@bolton

Tom,

Yes, I first looked at the officers named Ferguson and spotted him. As his father was a Major, it sounds a possibility that a military family might have this type of heirloom. But were the 1st/4th Gordon Highlanders involved at High Wood?

There are several other officers who might be candidates and I thought this would be an interesting puzzle for forum members who have access to the relevant Battalion war diaries - I know how much some of you like a good puzzle! :rolleyes:

Paul

post-17018-0-67754300-1305656517.jpg

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Tom Morgan

I agree Paul - the Battalion War Diaries are going to be the best sources. According to Ray Westlake's British Battalions on the Somme, the 1/4th moved from Becourt forward via Fricourt and Mametz to positions SE of High Wood on the 21st. They attacked at 1.30 a.m. on the 23rd and - with 1/9th Royal Scots - they were swept by machine-gun fire during the advance and forced to withdraw by 3 a.m.

Tom

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paul@bolton

Robert,

Sorry. New to this. Can you see it now?

Paul

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paul@bolton

Another view of the crest and motto

post-17018-0-05306600-1305659405.jpg

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KevinBattle

693 Fergusons died in UK service, of which 69 were officers.... plus who knows how many may have been wounded and others who may simply have lost it?

Quite a challenge.

I'd be tempted to scour it well and then drink 693 toasts (not necessarily all at once....!)

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Old Owl

Robert,

Sorry. New to this. Can you see it now?

Paul

Hi Paul,

Yes, I can see it perfectly now. What an interesting find, you lucky devil!!

The 2nd Bn Gordons were heavily involved at High Wood on the 20th July, the day on which Lt.A.L.H.Ferguson was killed, so I think that there is a good chance that this belonged to him.

I have located a photo of him and can send you a copy if you PM me your email address. I also have quite a lot of information on him which I can also copy for you.

A quick precis of his service: He went to France in October, 1915, to join the 8th Gordons; he was wounded in November, 1915, losing an eye; he returned to France in February, 1916,

and was wounded again in March, 1916, and fell whilst leading his men into action on 20th July, 1916.

I would suspect that through him being wounded a couple of times that he ended up with the 2nd Bn at High Wood. The war diary might confirm this, but unforunately I do not have access to this.

Hope this helps,

Robert

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Malcolm

693 Fergusons died in UK service, of which 69 were officers.... plus who knows how many may have been wounded and others who may simply have lost it?

Quite a challenge.

I'd be tempted to scour it well and then drink 693 toasts (not necessarily all at once....!)

Also 41 Fergussons! See http://www.myfamilysilver.com/crestFinder/?name=Ferguson

Mintlaw seems likely. It isn't from the main branch. What is the Hallmark?

Aye

Malcolm

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SiegeGunner

I was also near High Wood on that weekend, and am sorry I missed this remarkable find. :( Is it apparent what the object is? If a flask, it seems very small. Is the hallmark legible, and is there a maker's name or mark?

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paul@bolton

Robert.

PM sent (I think).

Paul

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Old Owl

Hi Paul,

I have received your PM and will send the info later today.

Robert

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David_Underdown

Officers' files often include lists of effects for those killed, obviously this wouldn't be listed as it wad lost, but if itwere a heirloom his next of kin might have enquirer about it

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paul@bolton

It measures 3"x2.5" and appears to be a simple lid. There is no hinge.

The hallmark is badly worn - by rubbing against whatever was in the tin, I suspect, rather than subsequent damage but, of the three marks, it is possible to make out what looks like a standing lion on the middle one and the outline of an animals's face (with pointed ears)on the mark to the right.

The left hand stamp is slightly separated from the other two and is more worn. Possibly two letters - SM, 8M, SN but very difficult to distinguish.

Cigarette tin? Snuff box?

Paul

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PhilB

Wouldn`t the use of that crest be restricted to one family? In which case, name the family (Fairbairn`s book?) & you`ve cracked it?

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Malcolm

The crest is Fergus(s)on of Pitfaurs in Aberdeenshire.

Aye

Malcolm

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keithfazzani

There were cigarette boxes that were a form of "pouch", which is the best way I can describe it, with a lid that fitted on top. You dispensed the cigarette rather like out of a US cigarette pack or a Gauloise pack. Could it be one of those?

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irnbru1970

hi,

what a great find !! Did you clean it up perchance? I was just wondering if it was lost during the period or was perhaps a later loss ? The clue would have been its original condition.

J

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ph0ebus

I hate to be an alarmist but if this item belongs to who we think it does, he has no known grave. Did you note where you found it? I certainly hope the answer is yes.

Daniel

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paul@bolton

Malcolm. I am not sure what Pitfaurs is as it doesn't appear in my road atlas. Or on google. However, Aberdeenshire looks promising as a quick look on Ancestry shows Alexander Lundie Hunter Ferguson's grandfather as a doctor, born in Ellon, Aberdeenshire and his grandmother born in Inverurie. Are we close?

John. I just removed the encrusted mud from the inside of the lid to expose the hallmark. The outside had some dried mud but the photo shows pretty much as it was found.

Daniel. The answer is yes. We had a look around the immediate area (a tilled field) but nothing else obvious.

Paul

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angelab

It looks very similar to a cigarette case that I have, which belonged to my late father-in-law. I will try and upload images of it closed and open.

He served in the ASC in WWI, and remained a private. I don't know if this would have accompanied him to war, but it is quite possible as no doubt every soldier needed to keep his cigarettes in usable order!

The inner faces are sort of gilded, but hallmarks are visible on each side: lion, anchor and letter O, which makes it Birmingham, 1913. It would quite probably have been a 21st birthday present (he was born in 1893).

post-8521-0-01542900-1305720620.jpg

post-8521-0-84087500-1305720637.jpg

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ph0ebus

Malcolm. I am not sure what Pitfaurs is as it doesn't appear in my road atlas. Or on google. However, Aberdeenshire looks promising as a quick look on Ancestry shows Alexander Lundie Hunter Ferguson's grandfather as a doctor, born in Ellon, Aberdeenshire and his grandmother born in Inverurie. Are we close?

John. I just removed the encrusted mud from the inside of the lid to expose the hallmark. The outside had some dried mud but the photo shows pretty much as it was found.

Daniel. The answer is yes. We had a look around the immediate area (a tilled field) but nothing else obvious.

Paul

Phew!

Wouldn't that have been something if this discovery led to his re-discovery! I wonder if he has relations living in the present day?

-Daniel

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Auimfo

Try this link for a description and brief history of 'Pitfour House' owned by the Fergusons.

http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/buying_and_selling/article4788651.ece

Paul are you sure his Grandmother was from Inverurie and not Inverugie? It's just the second one is awfully close to where Pitfour House once stood (which is just near Mintlaw).

Cheers,

Tim L.

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Auimfo

Also found this online...

The Ferguson family crest:

post-2918-0-64775000-1305740565.jpg

Arte et animo

By stratagem and courage

Ferguson (Entry from Fairbairn's Book of Crests, 1905 ed.)

William, Esquire, J.P., D.L., of Kinmundy, Mintlaw, N.B.

Issuing From A Cloud A Dexter Hand Grasping A Broken Spear In Bend,

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