The above photograph, taken in the nineteen eighties, shows a sample of the war souvenirs that people brought home from the Second War World. Most were collected by my uncles in North Africa but others were given to the family by friends.
Why you would collect souvenirs from the battle field is beyond me. I’d want to get the hell out of there but that’s what soldiers have always done throughout history.
The red object at the top of the photo is an Italian grenade. Diffused of course. It was made of aluminium and it looked like a toy rocket. The second object is a German Africa Korp ammunition pouch, followed by a German soldier’s belt. As we know, the Nazis were one of the most evil and Godless regimes that ever existed. It is bizarre that such evil people would have put Gott Mitt Uns ( God be with us) on their belt buckles.
Taken out of the scabbard, is a Samurai sword, that a mate of my dad’s gave to him when he returned from New Guinea. I remember it been razor sharp and it was mainly locked away in dad’s gun cupboard. The craftsmanship was amazing. It was so sharp that you could have easily cut your finger running your finger down the blade. Occasionally dad would take it out for visitors. Most people were always scared by it, especially my mother. I think she thought dad would do something stupid. I remember him pretending to shave with it. Dad sold it in the late nineteen eighties and the guy who had bought it, later told dad that the sword was two hundred and fifty years old. Finally, is a Turkish bayonet that was collected in Gallipoli by an Australian light horseman who used to work for the family. And yes folks, the feet in the picture are mine. They’ve aged a little since then.
And no, we didn’t have a souvenired Tiger tank in the back yard. I wish. But dad did have an American GMC military truck which he nicknamed Gilda, after a Rita Hayworth movie. The ride was rough, the cabin was bare metal but it would go anywhere. It had a hydraulic winch that was used on many occasions. Over the years dad had crossed a flooded river with the water lapping at his knees and had stuck it in mud that went over the wheels. It didn’t stop in the river and with the help of the winch, he pulled it out.