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Remembered Today:

Decorated Shell Casings


Nigel M
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On returning from France my grandfather brought home a decorated shell casing which commemorates Ypres . It has a number of emblems carved in to it including what appears to be a military badge which is a canon with a crown over it with Ubique, Quo Fas, Et Gloria ,Dudunt carved around it. The emblem has the letters RCA or RGA above it and what appears to be the Union Flag and another flag with three horizontals sections possibly representing the German flag below.It is fully carved with leaf and twig like decoration and YPRES in large letters. On its base are several stamps- 18PR II , EKO , 1917 , 12 7 17 . There are several smaller stamps including CF, D31,NA . The family story was that it was carved by a German POW and my grandfather traded cigarettes and chocolate for it. I have seen others over the years but not with so much decoration or intricate design. If any one can shed any light on the origin of shell carving or has something similar I would be interested in any information available. My grandfather served as a private in the Expeditionary Forces Canteens and was in France until 1919.

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Nigel,

This is commonly known as 'trench art' - see my site below for other examples.

It is possible it was made by a German POW as a commission, but more likely it was commissioned from one of the multitude of local craftsmen who would produce such souvenirs for Tommy to take home.

The emblem is for the Royal Garrison Artillery, but wouldn't he have been in the ASC if he was with the canteens ? Maybe the trench art was payment for a mess bill!!!

All the lettering underneath does mean things to those in the know, but suffice to say this was the casing from a British 18 pounder shell from 1917.

Nice family piece - treasure it (but NEVER polish it!!)

Jim

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Jim

Thanks for the informtation.I will have a look at the sites and make sure we keep the Brasso well away.

Nigel

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Hi Nigel,

As Jim says the vast majority of trench art was produced comercially and not by Tommy or Fritz sitting in a trench. It's been a while since the subject came up but this list of previous discussions should give you a lot of useful info:

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...lite=trench+art

Your case is for an 18 pdr MK II. The standard British field gun. Manufactured in July 1917. EKO is the manufacturer's mark - no ref' for them I am afraid. CF dentotes it is filled with Cordite. D31 is probably a batch number.

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Max

Thanks for the information it is very interesting to read.The family stories on how my grandfather came to have the shell casing are a bit more glamorous than the truth.I will break it to them gently.

kind regards

Nigel

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Twas ever thus Nigel - but I guess none of us will ever know how accurate many of the family stories are. If in doubt - why not? I think's it's a good idea to keep them going if possible!

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