Monday, May 11, 2015

Personal effects; World War I paraphernalia

On my bucket list, and on my Dad's bucket list, unfortunately, was to get my mother's father's (my maternal grandfather) World War I paraphernalia into a display case. We finally did so this weekend.

His flag was undersized, but that worked out perfectly. My wife put together a shadow box that fitted into the bottom of the case. (For the record, he didn't die in the war, he died in 1943.) Under the flag we have a doughboy sewing kit, his dog-tags, a French Verdun medal (see Unofficial medals, on the linked page) American World War I Victory medal with three battle clasps, and rifle bullet shells.

This case now stands on our fireplace mantle, but the glare from the light didn't make for a good photo. Hence, the floor shot.

One other item did not fit into the case. A rather unique crucifix.

 "Gott mit uns" - God with us. Sorry Kaiser, better luck next time.

As a side story, my six-year old daughter recognizes Jesus and crucifixes. She wanted to know why Jesus was on 'that' (the cross of bullets.) I was a bit on the spot. The best I came out with was, "The problem with war is that sometimes both sides think God is with them. But it's a just a terrible thing." Or something to that effect.


  1. Great display. Your young-un asked a pretty important question there. One with no easy answer.

  2. Wow. That is one heirloom I know you'll treasure. It's a gorgeous display. Was your grandfather in the infantry, or did he serve is a specialized unit?

    I've never seen a crucifix made of bullets. And good answer to your daughter.

    1. My grandfather was infantry (draftee) nothing specialized. 82nd Division (which now appears to be an airborne outfit.) Company L, 325th Infantry Regiment. (Sergeant) Alvin York was also in the 82nd, but a different company.

  3. Very cool Paul. Its important to connect kids with the past and their ancestors.

  4. I recently found a similar crucifix in my Grandpa's WWI things. My Dad believes the shell casings in our crucifix are French.