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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Trench Club


JohnC

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I  bought this trench club at a local collectables market a few months ago. It looks to me like the handle of an entrenching tool. The end is wrapped with a sheet of lead which is secured with hobnails. There is no lead filling. The handle looks a little over-restored - perhaps wire brushed to raise the grain, although it is very grippy. It's a foot long and weighs just over a pound, so not monster size, but it has a very deft feel in the hand. I certainly wouldn't like to be fetched one round the ear with it. I'm inclined to think it's genuine, it just feels like a proper piece of trench DIY.

John

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Please tell me this is real...I need a project for the weekend and I could knock up a half dozen of these in no time. A couple of weeks under the sod and they'd come out looking great.

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An English Trench club. 

I will need some more detailed photos before I say OK for its authenticity. 

For start, it looks good.

Very nice... 

Regards

D. 

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I think what Joolz is saying that probably over 95% of these clubs are fake and have been sold since the 1920s.

 

If its proper trench DIY which trench had the lathe the handle was made on? 

Edited by Gunner Bailey
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On my first trip to the Somme over 20 years ago I bought one off a French collector and thought it was great until I realised the regiment was spelt incorrect on the head! Used it as an example in my school talks but got rid a few years ago as a repro.

Buyer beware!

Tony

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Alternatively, which of all the millions of tools used at or near the front might have had its handle broken and recycled into a weapon? No need for anything more complex than a hammer.

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John. 

 

A hammer was not part of a soldiers kit nor were lead sheets or nails. 

 

At best trench clubs would be made by RE Field Companies. 

 

You seem to be trying to make this item authentic when in reality the odds are against it. 

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Not at all Gunner. It owes me all of a fiver, I'm simply exposing it to opinion and have already commented that the grained handle looks odd. However, given the amount of scrap material that must have been laying around the war zone, such as derelict buildings, ruined farms and (literally) dead mens' boots, I don't think it would have been beyond many soldier's ingenuity to knock together such a simple object from easily available items. After all, many soldiers were factory workers or farmhands who would have had very competent craft skills. It wouldn't take an RE with a lathe to make this thing, just an old tool handle, a bit of roofing lead and a dozen hobnails, plus a stone to wallop them in and a jack-knife to shape the handle. Whether they could have made it is a different thing from whether or not somebody actually did.

J

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I once, in the mists of time, collected an item from a dealer,  who shall be nameless. In the back room was a bucket with about a dozen of these. I can only assume he was lucky enough to stumble across a cache of them found on the site of an old RE workshop 'somewhere in France'.....  You can draw your own conclusions from this, as I have drawn mine!

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Sorry, it's a blatant fake.There are lots like this about - shrivelled lightweight wood and rusted nails hammered into a piece of lead round the top, often with spurious WD or regimental marks and dates. Unfortunately people continue to be taken in by them.

17 hours ago, Joolz said:

Please tell me this is real...I need a project for the weekend and I could knock up a half dozen of these in no time. A couple of weeks under the sod and they'd come out looking great.

 

I think you've answered your own question!

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7 hours ago, JohnC said:

Thanks Zuluwar. Which details would you like photographed?

J

I will need a nice photo from the top of the club and some more from the lower iron parts of this Trench club. 

After that I will tell you if is authentic or not. 

Regards

D. 

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I never could understand why out of all the souvenirs of "The Great War" that Tommy could have brought back, why so many chose a trench club, or as there appears to be the better part of several hundred doing the rounds, how come so many turn up 'as dug', unless I missed the small mountain of unissued ones found in a dump somewhere.

However every single one I have seen, is a genuine club, its the words trench and genuine that cause me to ponder.

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56 minutes ago, wainfleet said:

Sorry, it's a blatant fake.There are lots like this about - shrivelled lightweight wood and rusted nails hammered into a piece of lead round the top, often with spurious WD or regimental marks and dates. Unfortunately people continue to be taken in by them.

 

What he said.

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personally I dont think its real  but would stand to be corrected,if its any consolation I know an experienced  battlefield guide(no names no pack drill)

one Christ++++ she bought her husband a genuine trench club,bought from I think the canada swop meet at the side of the Menin rd,when her husband saw it he showed her it was a chair leg with a few hob nails,man I would have paid to see the sellers face when she stormed in and had her money refunded,:w00t: 

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Greeting from the Forest Of  Sherwood

If I may put in my two groats worth.

It looks to me that if this club is a fake someone has gone to some trouble to make it and age it. If you personally like it and owning

it  pleases you then it was money well spent.  In my collection I have several fake items and it doesn't worry me one bit.

My opinion is that there is a good chance that it is" wrong" but it certainly looks the part.

 

                                           Old Robin Hood

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19 minutes ago, OLD ROBIN HOOD said:

Greeting from the Forest Of  Sherwood

If I may put in my two groats worth.

It looks to me that if this club is a fake someone has gone to some trouble to make it and age it. If you personally like it and owning

it  pleases you then it was money well spent.  In my collection I have several fake items and it doesn't worry me one bit.

My opinion is that there is a good chance that it is" wrong" but it certainly looks the part.

 

                                           Old Robin Hood

Very nice words. 

Respectfully

D. 

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23 minutes ago, OLD ROBIN HOOD said:

Greeting from the Forest Of  Sherwood

If I may put in my two groats worth.

It looks to me that if this club is a fake someone has gone to some trouble to make it and age it. If you personally like it and owning

it  pleases you then it was money well spent.  In my collection I have several fake items and it doesn't worry me one bit.

My opinion is that there is a good chance that it is" wrong" but it certainly looks the part.

 

                                           Old Robin Hood

In which case it should/would be labelled as a 'reproduction' and then there would be no question of anyone being deceived and the owners joy would be complete.

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Spandaumilitariashop, a well known military dealer, sold several months ago this (similar to out friend) Trench club. 

He examed it and found it was a real stuff. 

What are the differences between this and the one of our friend collector??? 

I always indicate to pay attention on the detail and never say anything could harm the fellow collector. 

The respect on our fellows collectors, is the characteristic gift we have, as collectors and this way, we (and must always) behave as gentlemen. 

Do not use hard language as many times our friends do not know the truth and are amazed by the object they got. 

Please indicate me the differences. 

Regards

D. 

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Some original Austrian ww1 Trench clubs, found in trevizo area (Italy) 

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19 minutes ago, zuluwar2006 said:

Spandaumilitariashop, a well known military dealer, sold several months ago this (similar to out friend) Trench club. 

He examed it and found it was a real stuff. 

 

Forum rules prevent us from commenting further on this post.

 

I am allowed to say, however, Google is your friend...

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14 minutes ago, Grovetown said:

 

Forum rules prevent us from commenting further on this post.

 

I am allowed to say, however, Google is your friend...

:D

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54 minutes ago, zuluwar2006 said:

Spandaumilitariashop… …examed it and found it was a real stuff. 

 

 

Thanks a bundle. I read that as I was taking a mouthful of tea. I'm still mopping up tea from the monitor and keyboard...

 

 

 

265

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7 minutes ago, 14276265 said:

 

Thanks a bundle. I read that as I was taking a mouthful of tea. I'm still mopping up tea from the monitor and keyboard...

 

 

 

265

Friend

First you should check this problem with the tea asap, with a specialist doctor... It is serious... You can destroy your monitor... 

Secondary read carefully my words. It is NOT the same Trench club. Is similar. 

Also if you have any doubts talk directly to the dealer, not me. 

Tell me the differences between the 2 Trench clubs (and not the same Trench club). 

Regards

D. 

 

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The key to non - authenticity in this case is commonality. How many do we see at Militaria Fairs in France and Belgium? Far too many for them all to be real. Like the report earlier in the thread of a dealer with a bucket full. Rare item?

 

As far as I know there was no standard trench club mass produced although some of the Austrian ones in this thread do look rather too good to be knocked up in the trenches.

 

Trench raids tended to be done by experienced and fairly specialist soldiers of both sides. Yet nobody seemingly got around to standardising a design. Although you could say the USA did with their knuckleduster knife.

 

This is the open door that forgers push open. They can do what they like and some have even made up castings that look like medieval mace heads.

 

And to JohnC. If you bought it from a dealer at a collectors fair, why did they sell it so cheaply? A fiver! That seems like a big clue to me.

Edited by Gunner Bailey
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