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Remembered Today:

Je Maintiendrai


Guest Catherine R
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Guest Catherine R

post-15103-1158410894.jpg

Can anyone identify this woven tape or badge?

It is approximately 15cm long (21cm including the frayed or fringed ends) and 2.4cm wide. I have established from Google that "Je Maintiendrai" means "I Maintain" and is the motto of the House of Orange (Dutch Royal Family) and of The Netherlands, and also links to the Orange Order and Northern Ireland. The edges of this tape are in the colours of the Netherlands flag, so I suspect a Netherlands connection rather than an Irish one.

So why an I posting on a Great War forum? Because this badge has "always" been kept in the same biscuit tin as the family WW1 medals, and although no-one has any idea what it is, everyone is adamant that it has "always been with the medals"...!

The badge is slightly grubby, but it looks like grubbiness from handling, and being stored with photographs. I am fairly sure it has never been attached to anything - no holes or stitch marks.

Any bright ideas, whatsoever, anyone?

C.

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Guest Catherine R
who were the medals awarded to? A lovely idea would be to some RND or RM chap interned in Holland after the abortive Antwerp operation!

Private Frank Roberts, 66385, Machine Gun Corps (my paternal grandfather), and Harold Singleton, I think Royal Army Service Corps, a great-uncle.

I don't have any real details about either of their service records, it's on the list of things I haven't got around to yet. I also don't have the medals in my hands as they are with my parents at present, so can't double check the units/service numbers etc.

Can you explain "abortive Antwerp operation" to a WW1 novice and ignoramus please?

C.

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The Royal Naval Division was sent to Antwerp in October 1914 by Winston Churchill to bolster the collapsing Belgian defences of the city. Far from being abortive, their presence temporarily halted the 'unstoppable' German advance on the city and almost certainly saved the Channel ports further west. The intervention, by a largely untrained force of sailors and marines, nevertheless resulted in the loss of several RND battalions to internment in Holland or German captivity.

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Guest Catherine R

Thank-you, Horatio2! Interesting - I need to find out more about the service records of Frank Roberts and Harold Singleton. I wouldn't immediately have said it looked like they were involved, but it is something for consideration. Of course the family tradition that the "Je Maintiendrai" badge/tape has "always been with the medals" maybe misguided! I have looked for Grandad Frank's service record (he received a Mention in Despatches but we have no idea why or for what) but sadly his records appear to be slap-bang in the middle of the Most Burnt section of the Burnt Records!

Thanks for your help though.

Any more ideas anyone?

C.

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Are you sure of a WW1 connection? Whilst I would not entirely rule that out this item is probably more likely to date from WW2.

I think that the Dutch government in exile/Queen Wilhelmina produced this sort of thing in order to raise both their profile and to raise money.

I believe that patriotic items were sold to both sympathisers and to people of Dutch origin all over the world. I would guess, and this is a complete guess, that anything to do with the House of Orange would have found a ready market in parts of Ireland?

There was also a free newspaper/news sheet called the "Flying Dutchman" (Vliegende Hollander) that was air dropped into occupied Holland and, besides the KNIL fighting the Japanese, there was also the "Irene Brigade" - a free Dutch formation named after the Dutch Princess. This formation fought in NW Europe in 1944/45 and recruited people of Dutch origin from all over the world, notably in South Africa and Canada. If some people were prepared to join the Dutch army in exile I am quite sure a lot more would have been prepared to buy items such as this.

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Guest Catherine R
Are you sure of a WW1 connection? Whilst I would not entirely rule that out this item is probably more likely to date from WW2.

Thanks for this BeppoSapone - no I am not sure of a WW1 connection. The badge has "always" been kept in an old biscuit tin which contains WW1 Medals, photos, letters etc, (many of which are unrelated to each other), has always been regarded as connected with the medals in some way. On the other hand, I believe that my grandfather, who served in WW1 (see post above) also served in WW2 as a "stretcher bearer". Your information is interesting though, and I shall widen my search and consider WW2 sources as well.

Basically, it's anybody's guess!

Another guess, anybody?!

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