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18/04/2017 - All the dog-tags made the post today and not long after I returned home I had an email pop up from the son of JE Lock, mentioned on the previous page. We where waiting for a photograph and then I saw two collages of photographs. Both included the same photographs but paid out in different ways, some of them were from his war time days and others from now, he is even wearing his dog-tag. After all this time, it is finally being worn. The smile says it all, about how much these little tags mean to the people receiving them. 

23/04/2017 - After the searchable list of surnames and serial numbers went live the very first email I received was from a lady called Pauline. She said that I had a dog-tag that belonged to her father, she gave his initials, surname, army serial number, where he served and what years he was in the army. I couldn't click reply and type fast enough! I confirmed that the dog-tag was indeed her fathers, I asked her for an address and if she had photographs and any other information about her fathers time in service. She replied within the hour and said she had a photographs that she could send me later, she also told me that after the war he got married, but had to wear his army uniform as non of his old clothes would fit and his demob suit hadn't arrived. It's little gems like that, that I love

reading about, it's a individual side of the war that goes untold. Heavy work, shortages or poor quality food and plenty of exercise lead to almost all troops coming back from the war a very different size than when they left all those years before. I said I would find the dog-tag and get a photograph in the next email. I checked the database and I didn't only have 1, or a pair, I had all three! I waited to hear back and find out where in the world I would be posting more tags too. The reply came in... Essex! I laughed, so the same county. Handy! 

Cecil Alfred Bezant 7934858, 25th Dragoons, Royal Armoured Corps, Cecil served from 1941-1945. He served in India & Burma, some of the harshest places of warfare from World War 2.

Cecil, like most who served in Burma very rarely spoke of their experiences. My Uncle Ken was exactly the same, when it came to being awarded a medal for service in Burma, many soldier returned the Burma star or threw them away. The Burma star that I have in my uncles medal group is a replacement that I had to purchase to have what he was issued complete again. I don't know where he was or what he did with it, it just wasn't there. If I understood what Pauline was saying, her father didn't claim his medal entitlement. A common them for Burma veterans. 

Ken's story about being in Burma only came to light after I found my first relic. The whole story is in my book 'Men Behind the Militaria' (see the books tab at the top), which also contains lots of stories like these dog-tags, including the one soldier that we had added onto a war memorial after he was missed off! See the page on Frank Jarrett.

So today, I have posted off another three dog-tags, one even is travelling all the way to an island off the coast of Spain! Katey did her usual trick of telling me that she has just received the address of another dog-tag to post, whilst I was walking home from the post office! I'm sure she knows when I go out and does it on purpose. 

 

Where we are so far... 30/04/2017. We have now sent home 18 dog-tags now, sadly only 3 of those we have photographs for. 2 dog-tags are planned to be handed over soon in person and hopefully we will get to see some photos then. We are waiting on address to  return 3 dog-tags home. Weirdly one of those is the Hinitt dog-tag that I have been working on since this whole thing began. It was the first dog-tag that I ever found anything about, I wrote to the newspapers that ran the stories, they ignored me. Eventually I tracked down the family on Facebook of all places and the woman I spoke with confirmed it was the same person. But, after a couple of messages, I heard nothing more. I even sent a reminder message asking if they still wanted it, but I didn't get a reply. So sadly it seems like it isn't wanted, which is a little odd as the vet in question is still alive.

It's very interesting the responses we get while trying to return these, from the people who think its a weird scam to the people who misunderstand and think we are selling 'tags for dogs!'. To then those people who are so excited and grateful and put up with all our requests for photos and information and then turn their homes upside down looking for it (Barrie Oakhill especially, thanks Barrie) to the people who barely type more than the address in which to post it too and you never
hear from again. The list of names home so far is as follows:-

BERRETT VE - HUSSARS, RAC

BILLS FH - 17th/21st LANCERS, RAC
LOCK JE - General Service Corps
DUCKMANTON RW -  General Service Corps
HOLBECHE DF -  General Service Corps
TEECET RG -  General Service Corps
HOLYOAKE GT - General Service Corps
BATTENBO DG - General Service Corps
OAKHILL KH - General Service Corps - Served with Desert Rats, RAC (see a seperate page for Ken Oakhill)
TYTE AE - General Service Corps 
LAIDLOW AE - General Service Corps 
OSTICK FG - Issued from a Large ww2 Army Depot
LOWTHIN GJ - Post ww2, Issued some point before October 1950 - 2 years national service age 18-20 from 1946-1948- he served in Germany
TAYLOR JA - General Service Corps 
PENNING WR - General Service Corps 
BIBERFIELD M - General Service Corps 
GARTENFELD DN - no idea who issued the tag, the tag is broken where the serial number was :(
DASCOMBE JWG - General Service Corps

13-06-2017 Firstly, I can't apologise enough for my lack of entries onto the website. To say I have been busy would be one huge understatement! Katie came over for a week to help with some filming with BBC London, the show 'In side Out' is making a mini documentary about these dog-tags. In our first meeting, we met Mark Smith who works for the BBC, mainly on Antiques Roadshow (AR), he also values militaria for some of the nicest collections around and he is possibly one of the most interesting collectors I have met! During our first meeting with Mark we asked if he would like to present the show, he was already ever excited about doing that, that he had preempted us asking that and he already asked the AR if that was alright. So, with him on board we started really looking into why these dog-tags exist in the first place, this adventure, and it really turned into one took us to all sorts of places we met some interesting people. From Kings College London to the Bovington Tank Museum archive room. What I can say is that we have discovered without a shadow of a doubt why these were made, not only that but also have evidence as to why they are made of stainless steel and not the usual fibre dog-tags. The only downside to this is that I can't really say too much until the show airs in September... I will keep you posted when I know more about time and channel etc...

RSH BRIDGES 7901998

Now, since I last wrote we have of course returned more dog-tags. Katey and I were in Oxford and we sent to see Malcolm Bridges whose father was Reginald Bridges of the Westminster Dragoons. He fought with Mongomery's 8th Army in Eygpt, Italy and then later took part in the Normandy landings (D-day).  Malcolm was a delight to meet, he proudly showed us his fathers medals and a whole shoe box full of photographs and paperwork.

It was so heart warming to see these dog-tags being added so preciously to all the items that Malcolm has kept from his fathers time in service. He knew we were going to hand over one dog-tag to him that we had found, but in between the time we made contact with him online and actually meeting up, we had gone and found the other two dog-tags to make a full set of 3! He was left a little short for words at hearing they were not just found, but all three were found separately and reunited.  

Reg was enlisted really early on, he certainly caught a really early draft 22-01-1940. He was placed in the Royal Armoured Corps on the 29th Jan 1940. After training he was shipped out to Africa to fight Rommel, not personally of course. After Africa he assigned to the Westminster Dragoons, a unit whose history goes back to the BOER war. He was part of the huge assembled force sat waiting in England for the invasion of France. His time would come of course and who can imagine the anticipation of waiting around for it all to happen. 
He assault the beaches like so many others, interestingly the Westminster Dragoons seem to have become immortalised in history for using some of 'Hobarts Funnies', mostly the Flail tank for mine clearance. Reg was however in a standard Sherman tank with its comparatively small 75mm main gun. Which would soon prove to be a bit 'light' when facing some of the larger German tanks! However, Reg survived all that Normandy had to throw at him. He went on into Belgium and eventually crossed over the Rhine where he was part of B.A.O.R. British Army Over 'the' Rhine and stayed as part of the occupation force in mid 1946 where he came home and was placed on the reserve lists like so many others.
Reg sat on the gun of his laden down Sherman, most likely somewhere in Belgium.