A (very) ceremonial uniform

Some WW1 Photographs...

Wauh! That’s a uniform! The point is that I don’t know anything about this man, his rank and his unit. All I know is that this picture was taken in Tréveray (Meuse) during the war, or just after. This man belongs to a French colonial unit, the 24th (as indicated by the crescent and the number on his collar).


Here’s a detail of his medails, from left to right:

– Officier de la Légion d’Honneur

– Croix de Guerre with 5 stars and 4 palms

– Four unidentified ribbons

– Fourragère with moroccan star and arabic text.

Who will be able to tell me more about this man?


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Downton Abbey

If you ever consider collecting uniform just check how easy it can be at http://www.collecty.net

Some WW1 Photographs...

My British and US readers may wonder why I am writing now a post about the vision of the Great War in Downton Abbey TV series, but the second season is currently broadcast in Italy and I wanted to share my thoughts with you…

Disclaimer #1: I am a genuine fan of the series

Disclaimer #2:  there is no spoiler for those who have watched the first season and the four first episodes of the second season. Anyone interested in watching Downton Abbey and who hasn’t watched these episodes can stop here.

The first season ended with the declaration of war against Germany in 1914, the second season is centered around the impact of the Great War on the differents characters, with a very strong introduction:

The relationship with one of the most famous pics of the Battle of the Somme is quite clear:


But the series isn’t transformed in a…

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Anti-Aircraft Artillery

If you ever consider collecting uniforms just check how easy it can be at http://www.collecty.net

Some WW1 Photographs...

This picture, according to its caption, has been taken in Verona in 1914 and shows us the “two photo-electric” (teams) of the 4th AA Battery. As there are 10 men, we can easily deduce that each team was composed by one NCO and 4 men. But what are these “photo-electric” teams?

The patches on their sleeves help to understand it: these men belonged to the crews who served cars with a special lighting system (see this post and this other one).

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US ribbons

If you ever consider collecting uniform just check how easy it can be at http://www.collecty.net

Some WW1 Photographs...

I confess: I do not own this series of ribbons and I’ve found this picture on the Web. But I wanted to share it with you anyway, because it may be useful for the fans of American WW1 uniforms. As the picture was lost on my desktop, I think it’s more safe to keep it on this blog.

Because of B&W phtographs, it’s often hard to identify the ribbons worn by the Doughboys on their uniforms. Thanks to this series (probably done by a French tailor, as the text is in French), you can easily identify the most common models, studying the difference between dark and light shades.

Left Column, from top: Philippines Campaign, Cuba Campaign, Cuba Pacification, 1st Mexican Campaign, 2nd Mexican Campaign, Mexican Occupation.

Right column, from top: Spanish-American War, Malta Medal, China Campaign, Philippines Congress Medal, Croix de Guerre, unknown.


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SPARs Uniform

Hinges of History

The SPARs had a similar uniform to the WAVES, as shown in the photo above. Both were designed by couture designed Mainbocher. The key difference was in the lapel insignia. While the WAVES had the “fouled anchor” symbol of the Navy, the SPARs had a Coast Guard insignia on their collar.

This National Archives photograph shows World War I Yeomanette Sadie Flay comparing her uniform with World War II era WAVES and SPARs during a recruiting tour in Arizona.

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From Sofia with love

Some WW1 Photographs...

I do apologize for the silly title, but one cannot always be brilliant…

This picture was sent from Sofia (Bulgaria) on May 22, 1919, by an Italian captain to his brother. All I know about this officer is his first name: Enrico. What did he do in Bulgaria in 1919? Simple: he was a member of the occupation troops.

Indeed, according to the Armistice Terms Agreed by Bulgaria and Allies (September 29, 1918), the military occupation of Bulgaria was entrusted to British, French, and Italian forces, and the evacuated portions of Greece and Serbia, respectively, to Greek and Serbian troops (Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. IV, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923). Italian troops replaced British ones in February 1919 and remained in this country until July 1919.

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Military Uniforms of the British Empire Overseas

Some WW1 Photographs...

This post is almost off-topic because this cigarette-card album has been published in 1938, but it’s soooooo cute, I must show it to you! This album was issued by the John Player & Sons firm and presented in 24 pages the different uniforms used by British Empire Overseas troops. Here’s the index:

– Union of South Africa

– Southern Rhodesia

– Australia and New Zealan

– Canada

– India and Burma

– Colonies, protectorates and mandated territories.

To illustrate this album I’ve chosen two regiments who fought on the Western front during the Great War:

The Poona Horse (17th Queen Victoria’s Own Cavalry), which was stationed at Secunderabad, as part of the 9th (Secunderabad) Cavalry Brigade, in August 1914. On 2 November 1914 the regiment was sent to reinforce the 2nd Gurkhas in the Neuve Chapelle sector. In France the regiment has been involved in the Battle of Givenchy, Battle…

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Georges Guynemer

Some WW1 Photographs...

Today’s pic is a wonderful portrait and it isn’t by chance: indeed it was done by the Atelier Nadar (and I’ve discovered  doing somes researches on this topic that this picture worths about 50-60 euros…). The portrayed man is Georges Guynemer, one of the most famous pilots of WW1. I won’t present his biography (you can have a look at his Wikipedia page for an introduction). Between 1915 and 1917, this pilot had 53 certified victories against German aircrafts and 35 probable ones. He wears on this photo, from left to right: the Légion d’Honneur, the Médaille Militaire and the Croix de Guerre with 5 palms (before he died, he had 24 palms on his Croix de Guerre!). Guynemer failed to return from a combat mission on 11 September 1917 in the Langemark area, near Poelkapelle. The was only 22 at his death and his body was never found.

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