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Daily Mail Online (10th June 2014)

Charging head-long into battle! The experimental ‘bayonet hat’ that would have allowed British First World War soldiers

to attack the enemy with their heads

  • Hat with six inch blade on top was brainchild of British solicitor Philip Baker
  • Soldiers could have used it to attack enemy by charging head first at them
  • Prototype cap was rejected by War Office which deemed it too dangerous
  • Rare item is now expected to sell for £3,000 when it is auctioned on June 25

By EMMA GLANFIELD

PUBLISHED: 12:27, 10 June 2014 | UPDATED: 12:45, 10 June 2014

 

This extraordinary ‘bayonet hat’ would have allowed British soldiers in the First World War to attack the enemy with their heads if it was given the go-ahead, it has emerged.

However, the incredibly rare prototype cap – which comes with a sharp six inch blade fixed to the top of it – was deemed too dangerous for soldiers after being considered by the War Office.

It has now been discovered nearly 100 years after the war and is expected to sell for more than £3,000.

The extraordinary 'bayonet hat', was the brainchild of British solicitor Philip Baker, would have allowed soldiers in the First World War to attack the enemy with their heads if it was given the go-ahead by the War Office

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The extraordinary ‘bayonet hat’, was the brainchild of British solicitor Philip Baker, would have allowed soldiers in the First World War to attack the enemy with their heads if it was given the go-ahead by the War Office

 

It is thought the idea was for the wearer to stab the enemy with the knife on the hat, either by running at them head first and ramming the weapon into them or by removing the hat and using it as a conventional knife

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It is thought the idea was for the wearer to stab the enemy with the knife on the hat, either by running at them head first and ramming the weapon into them or by removing the hat and using it as a conventional knife

 

 

The item was the brainchild of British solicitor Philip Baker who patented the invention in 1916 and offered it up to the War Office for consideration.

He gave them a prototype cap along with drawings showing how it worked.

It is thought the idea was for the wearer to stab the enemy with the knife on the top of the hat, either by ramming their head at them or by removing the hat and using it as a conventional knife.

 

The design allowed the knife to be covered by a scabbard and locked in the down position when the wearer was in his own trench.

But, when in close combat attack, the soldier would have flicked the knife 90 degrees upwards and used it as a weapon along with his rifle and regular bayonet.

Both army-issue caps and steel helmets were to be modified with the foldable knife, with the latter doubling as a small shield and the dagger acting as the handle.

However, the War Office didn’t take up the option of the bayonet cap as it was considered too dangerous for the wearer.

The design allowed the knife to be covered by a scabbard and locked in the down position when in the trenches. However, the War Office considered the bayonet cap to be too dangerous for the wearer

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The design allowed the knife to be covered by a scabbard and locked in the down position when in the trenches. However, the War Office considered the bayonet cap to be too dangerous for the wearer

If the prototype had been given the go ahead, both army-issue caps and steel helmets would have been modified with the foldable knife, with the latter doubling as a small shield and the dagger acting as the handle

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If the prototype had been given the go ahead, both army-issue caps and steel helmets would have been modified with the foldable knife, with the latter doubling as a small shield and the dagger acting as the handle

 

 

It was one of numerous quirky weapon inventions that were produced during the First World War in a bid to give the British soldiers on the Western Front the upper hand.

Now the prototype hat, complete with knife fixed in position, has emerged for sale and is expected to sell for more than £3,000 when it is auctioned on June 25.

The original patent document is being sold with it, along with the basic drawings.

Matthew Tredwin, of C&T Auctioneers in Kent which is selling the item, said: ‘Many inventors and members of the public came up with ideas for items of uniform that may have helped protect the soldiers at the front.

‘This bayonet hat was meant for hand-to-hand combat and would have quite a barbaric weapon when you think about it.

‘We can only assume this item was made to present to the War Office to gain approval, but obviously was not considered as was not by any means practical.

The bayonet cap was one of numerous weapon inventions produced during the First World War in a bid to give British soldiers (pictured) the upper hand

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The bayonet cap was one of numerous weapon inventions produced during the First World War in a bid to give British soldiers (pictured) the upper hand

 

The prototype bayonet hat, complete with the knife fixed in position, is expected to sell for more than £3,000 when it is auctioned with the original patent document (pictured) and original basic drawings on June 25

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The prototype bayonet hat, complete with the knife fixed in position, is expected to sell for more than £3,000 when it is auctioned with the original patent document (pictured) and original basic drawings on June 25

 

Matthew Tredwin, of C&T Auctioneers in Kent which is selling the item, said: 'This bayonet hat was meant for hand-to-hand combat and would have quite a barbaric weapon when you think about it'

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Matthew Tredwen, of C&T Auctioneers in Kent which is selling the item, said: ‘This bayonet hat was meant for hand-to-hand combat and would have quite a barbaric weapon when you think about it’

 

‘It is very rare however to find any examples of items that were created but never put into production. It is truly a unique item, that you will never find another example of.’

The prototype has been held by the Wilson Military Headgear History Research Centre in the US for many years.

The centre was set up by the late philanthropist Robert Wilson. He died last year from cancer and the hat has now returned to Britain where it is now being sold.

Terry Charman, of the Imperial War Museum, said: ‘After the war settled down into trench warfare, uniforms and weapons were tailored for hand-to-hand fighting.

‘This hat is one of the weird and wonderful inventions that people produced to give the British the upper hand over their opponents.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2653834/Charging-head-long-battle-The-experimental-bayonet-hat-allowed-British-First-World-War-soldiers-attack-enemy-heads.html#ixzz34EwydQzp
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Daily Mail Online (18th April 2014)

Graphic monochrome images from a liberated Denmark show how kidnap

squads hunted down and abused women who had slept with Germans at the end

of WWII

  • Black and white images were taken during liberation of Denmark in 1945
  • Pictures depict members of Danish Resistance rounding up suspected conspirators
  • Images show British paratroopers cheered through streets of Copenhagen
  • Album has been revealed for the first time as it goes up for auction

 

Graphic photographs taken during the liberation of Denmark after five years of Nazi rule show how gangs of men rounded up and abused conspirators and women accused of sleeping with Germans.

The black and white images, taken after British paratroopers swept into the Scandinavian country in 1945, illustrate the anger and hatred the Danes felt towards the German occupiers.

In one shocking series of images, a woman who is believed to have slept with a German is chased down and stripped before having swastikas painted over her.

In other images, which are only now coming to light as they go up for auction, men are taken away at gunpoint while another image shows a baying mob rip and burn a Nazi swastika flag.

In a shocking series of images, taken following the liberation of Denmark in 1945, a woman who had slept with a German is chased down by a group of men

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In a shocking series of images, taken following the liberation of  Denmark in 1945, a woman who had slept with a German is chased down by a group of men

 

The men grab hold of the woman as she tries to escape

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The men grab hold of the woman as she tries to escape

 

The brutal images depict the woman as she is pinned down on a bench by the group

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The brutal images depict the woman as she is pinned down on a bench by the group

 

The woman is then stripped of her clothes before the men paint swastikas on to her

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The woman is then stripped of her clothes before the men paint swastikas on to her

 

The woman is understood to have been attacked by the group of men for sleeping with a German

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The woman is understood to have been attacked by the group of men for sleeping with a German

 

Written beside some of the pictures of men being taken away is the Danish word ‘stikker’ which translates to ‘mole’.

The album also includes shots of a car riddled with bullet holes and a blood-soaked passenger seat

Another photo meanwhile depicts a celebratory scene of a truck carrying dozens of British paratroopers being cheered through the streets of Copenhagen.

The album, which gives a stark insight into anger felt in the aftermath of the war, is now coming up for sale at C&T Auctioneers of Rochester, Kent.

Unlike other countries under German occupation, the Danish government remained in power and the country continued to function relatively normally after leaders opted to cooperate with the Nazi regime.

But, increasingly provoked by German soldiers’ brutality, resistance groups started to build momentum prompting mass strikes and demonstrations across the country.

When the Danish government refused to prohibit public meetings and impose curfews on its people in response to the action, German authorities dissolved the government and took military control of the country in 1943.

Later that year, Danish citizens discovered German troops were planning to round up Danish Jews and take them to concentration camps. Many more Danes joined the resistance which then stepped up its acts of sabotage and hostile attacks against the Nazis.

Photographs which depict men being taken away at gunpoint following the 1945 liberation of Denmark are now to go up for auction

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Photographs which depict men being taken away at gunpoint following the 1945 liberation of Denmark are now to go up for auction

 

Written beside some of the pictures is the Danish word 'stikker' which translates to 'mole'

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Written beside some of the pictures is the Danish word ‘stikker’ which translates to ‘mole’

 

The pictures appear to show suspected conspirators being rounded up and taken away at gunpoint

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A man holds his hands in the air as he is taken away at gunpoint

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The pictures appear to show suspected conspirators being rounded up and taken away at gunpoint

 

 

A baying mob rip and burn a Nazi swastika flag during the liberation of Denmark in 1945

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A baying mob rip and burn a Nazi swastika flag during the liberation of Denmark in 1945

 

They managed to help the majority of Jews flee the country to neutral Sweden with only 600 out of 6,000 Danish Jews being sent to concentration camps.

It was only then that the clandestine ‘Danish Freedom Council’ was created and gradually unified the various resistance groups.

Danish citizens who collaborated with the Nazis were despised by their fellow countrymen who suffered brutal conditions under a tougher stance by the German occupiers for the last two years of the war.

The resistance started to publish an underground newspaper called ‘Land and People’ and in June 1944 the whole of Copenhagen went on strike.

This resulted in a huge backlash from German troops who cut off water supplies and electricity. Within a month, 23 Danes had been killed.

But the Danish resistance refused to give in and continued to organised strikes and acts of sabotage.

When Berlin finally succumbed to advancing Allied forces in May 1945, Germany abandoned Denmark altogether.

Some 900 Danish civilians and 850 resistance fighters were killed during the war and a further 4,000 Danish volunteers died fighting in the German army on the Eastern Front.

Within days of troops leaving, ‘traitors’ were rounded up and 40,000 people were arrested on suspicion of collaboration. Of these, 13,500 were punished.

In this image a car can be seen riddled with bullet holes

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In this image a car can be seen riddled with bullet holes

 

Another image of the car shows the blood-soaked passenger seat

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Another image of the car shows the blood-soaked passenger seat

 

The album also includes this celebratory scene of a truck carrying dozens of British paratroopers being cheered through the streets of Copenhagen

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The album also includes this celebratory scene of a truck carrying dozens of British paratroopers being cheered through the streets of Copenhagen

 

Such was the hatred of those who sided with the Nazis that capital punishment, which had been abolished in Denmark in 1930, was reinstated between 1945 and 1950 in order to execute 46 Nazi collaborators.

 

The album, that contains 112 photographs, shows how come angry citizens decided to take the law into their own hands if they weren’t satisfied with the official punishment given.

Collaborators were attacked in the street, and ostracized from society.

The album has a pre-sale estimate of £850 and is due to be auctioned on April 30.

Matthew Tredwen, of C&T Auctioneers, said: ‘This is a scarce and historically interesting photograph album showing the liberation of Denmark.

‘It has some very graphic photographs of how the Danes dealt with conspirators in 1945.

‘They are snapshot size photographs of scenes in the streets of Denmark with a British army general and the return on the Danish King Christian.

‘Eight photographs show a woman being attacked by a group of Danish men, who strip her and paint her with swastikas, obviously she was accused of being a conspirator.

‘There are photos of Nazi flags being destroyed in the streets and men being led away under guard from Danish resistance fighters.

‘The album has come from a private collector after it turned up for sale at an exhibition in Germany many years ago.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2606992/Graphic-monochrome-images-liberated-Denmark-kidnap-squads-hunted-abused-women-slept-Germans-end-WWII.html#ixzz2zEXoDNpr

BBC News (8th Jan 2014)

Battle of Jutland VC letter is auctioned

John Cornwell John Cornwell was fatally wounded at the Battle of Jutland but stayed at his post awaiting orders

A letter informing the mother of a 16-year-old sailor killed during World War One that her son was to be awarded the Victoria Cross has been sold.

John Cornwell was posthumously awarded the medal for his actions during the Battle of Jutland on 31 May, 1916.

The letter from the Admiralty tells his mother, Lily Cornwell, of the honour and asks whether she would like to receive it on his behalf from the King.

It fetched £2,500 in an auction run by Kent-based C&T Auctions.

Matthew Tredwen, of C&T Auctions, originally expected the letter to fetch between £800 and £1,000.

Cornwell, who was born in Leyton, then part of Essex, tried to enlist in Royal Navy at the outbreak of WWI in 1914, but was rejected because of his age.

Sole survivor

He joined up in 1915 without his father’s permission and following basic training at Plymouth was assigned to the light cruiser, HMS Chester.

The vessel came under intense fire during the Battle of Jutland, which saw the British and German fleets of dreadnought class battleships come to blows for the only time during the conflict.

After the action, Cornwell who was the sole survivor at his gun, was found with shards of steel penetrating his chest, still looking at the weapon’s sights and awaiting orders.

He was transferred to Grimsby General Hospital but died two days later.

Mrs Cornwell received her son’s Victoria Cross from King George V at Buckingham Palace in November 1916.

The medal is the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

The letter is accompanied by an official document sent to Admiral Beresford about a fund to be established in his memory.

A painting depicting Cornwell at his gun post on HMS Chester hangs in St Paul’s Church at HMS Raleigh, the Royal Navy’s training base in Cornwall.

The scouts created the Cornwell Scout Badge for “courage and endurance” in light of his legacy.

The Daily Mail Online (13th Dec 2013)

WWWI hero,16, who lied about his age to join-up awarded posthumous Victoria Cross for fighting-on despite being fatally wounded by shrapnel and surrounded by dead men

  • Jack Cornwell was 15 when he enlisted to fight in the Navy in 1915
  • He was stationed as a gun sight setter on HMS Chester for Battle of Jutland
  • He was killed in what is regarded as most crucial naval battle of WWI
  • Letter to his mother from King George VI awarding Jack the Victoria Cross has emerged and is set to sell at auction next month for around £1,000

 

Hero: Jack Cornwell was 15 when he enlisted in the navy to fight the Germans in 1916Hero: Jack Cornwell was 15 when he enlisted in the navy to fight the Germans in 1916

 

The last man standing on the deck of HMS Chester as his comrades were shot down in the greatest naval battle of the First World War, Jack Cornwell was harbouring a secret.

A besotted patriot, dazzled by his father and older brother in the Navy, he had been desperate to fight for his country when a state of war was declared in 1914.

Aged just 13, that was not an option.

But Jack would not take no for an answer.

In 1915, without telling his father Eli, the mature-looking newspaper delivery boy from east London fashioned himself as a fresh-faced 17-year-old and stood up to serve.

It was two years later that the true nature of his valour and courage was revealed.

He was shot in the chest in the Battle of Jutland, and when he was brought back to be treated in an English hospital, nurses realised his age.

Now, 97 years later, a letter from King George VI to Jack’s mother, Lily, has emerged, commending her son for his service, and awarding him the Victoria Cross.

The official document informed Lily Cornwell that her 16-year-old son Jack was to be posthumously awarded the highest decoration for valour for his heroics in World War I, and invited her to receive it at Buckingham Palace.

To this day, he remains the third youngest recipient of the medal.

The announcement of Jack’s VC appeared in the London Gazette.

It stated: ‘The King has been graciously pleased to approve the grant of the Victoria Cross to Boy, First Class, John Travers Cornwell for the conspicuous act of bravery.

‘Mortally wounded early in the action, Boy, First Class, John Travers Cornwell remained standing alone at a most exposed post, quietly awaiting orders, until the end of the action, with the gun’s crew dead and wounded all round him. His age was under sixteen and a half years.’

Historic: A letter from King George VI describing the incredible bravery of one of the youngest recipientsHistoric: A letter from King George VI describing the incredible bravery of one of the youngest recipients of the Victoria Cross to his grieving mother has come to light

 

The teenager had lied about his age to join the Royal Navy at 15 so he could serve along with his father and elder brother in the war effort.

After completing his basic training he was assigned to HMS Chester as a gun sight setter and on May 31, 1916 the ship was on scouting duties at Jutland when it came under attack by four German cruisers.

Chester was hit by 18 150mm shells.

Although the ship was never in danger of sinking, the scene on deck was one of horror as many of the gun crews had lost lower limbs in the bombardment.

Despite all his comrades on the gun being killed and having been hit in the chest by shrapnel, Jack remained stood alone at his post until the end of the action.

He was later transferred to hospital in England but he died from the severe chest injuries he had sustained before his mother could arrive.

Deadly: The Battle of Jutland was deemed the most crucial naval battle of the First World WarDeadly: The Battle of Jutland was deemed the most crucial naval battle of the First World War

 

In all, 29 men on HMS Chester were killed in the action, mostly gun operators who lost their legs as the open-backed gun-shields did not reach the deck to give protection.

Jack’s mother received the VC from the King on November 16, 1916.

The framed Admiralty letter is owned by a private collector who is now selling it next month with a pre-sale estimate of £1,000.

Matthew Tredwen, of Kent based C&T Auctioneers, said: ‘Boy Cornwell’s Victoria Cross is one of the most famous because of his age.

‘He was the last man, or in this case boy, left standing on the gun while everyone around him was killed.

‘He was mortally wounded and for someone of 16 to carry on with his duty in those circumstances is remarkable.

‘When his grieving mother received this letter telling her her late son was to be awarded the VC it must have been a proud moment for her during a terrible time.’

BBC News Kent (2nd Oct 2013)

Kent auction house sells James Bond Corgi cars

Six James Bond toy cars designed by Corgi have been sold at auction in Kent for about £5,500 plus commission

Auction house C&T Auctions, in Rochester, said the cars sparked a wave of international interest.

An unnamed British buyer bid £5,500 for the cars plus fees.

Matthew Tredwen, from the auction house, said there was interest from the US, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and South Africa.

Matthew Tredwin with the unopened boxes of cars Matthew  said the toy cars were still in their original wrapping

He said: “The toy itself is not overly unusual because there was a million of them made.

“What makes this so fascinating is that it’s still wrapped in the original wrapping, as it would have been sent to the toy shop for the retailer to then open it up and display it.”

According to the auction house catalogue, the models of Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 were taken from the film, Goldfinger.

The unopened trade pack contained six models all with sealed secret instruction packs.

A notice on the pack says in five different languages: “Mr Retailer, the instructions are packed in the compartment in the base of every inner display stand, please make sure that every young purchaser realises this.”

The Daily Mail Online (1 Oct 2013)

No Mr Bond, I expect you to drive! Original Corgi models of

 007’s Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger set to fetch £8,000

  • Six Bond toy cars found in original  packaging after 50 years
  • Were kept by Corgi sales rep when they  should have been distributed
  • The models are expected to fetch around  £8,000 at auction this week

 

Six  James Bond toy cars designed by Corgi  have been found in their original packaging nearly 50 years after they were  intended for sale.

The models of Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 were  kept by a sales rep from the firm who should have distributed them to toy  shops.

After being designed in 1964, in the wake of  the classic  Goldfinger  film, in which Sean Connery starred as Bond, the six toys  are expected to fetch around £8,000 when sold together at auction this  week.

Goldfinger, which featured the famous line,  ‘No Mr Bond, I expect you to die!’, was the first of the films to feature 007’s  gadget-laden silver car.

Sean Connery starred as Bond in Goldfinger, where he drove the Aston Martin DB5Sean Connery starred as Bond in Goldfinger, where he  drove the Aston Martin DB5

They were found in the cellophane-wrapped  boxes they were left in leaving the Corgi factory 49 years ago.

The cars even come with a letter sent by  Corgi to toy shops, advising ‘Mr Retailer’ to point out to ‘every young  purchaser’ that ‘secret instructions’ are hidden inside the box.

The instructions informed children how levers  at the back and side of the car operated the bullet-proof rear windshield and  machine guns that shot out from the front bumper.

Another lever also activated the  spring-loaded sunroof, projecting the gun-wielding villain into the  air.

Glen Chapman, of C&T Auctions of  Rochester, Kent, said: ‘To have these  James Bond cars still in their original packaging and having never been opened is exceptionally  rare.

‘They are in mint condition and are presented  as if they had just come from the factory.

‘We have decided to sell them as they have  been for the last 50 years and that is as a trade pack in their sealed  boxes.

‘It would be terrible to open them. They  should be treated as an investment and locked away in a safe, a bit like a fine  wine.’

 

Out of their original packaging, the Corgi cars usually sell for around £500

The finding of the cars, in their original cellophane wrapping, has been described as 'exceptionally rare'
The Finding of the cars in their original cellophane  wrapping, has been described as ‘exceptionally rare’

Mr Chapman added: ‘They shouldn’t really be  given to a grandchild to open and play with that’s for sure.

‘They belonged to a Corgi sales rep for about  30 years. Either they were surplus stock or he just kept them.

‘He sold them to a private collector 20 years  ago and he has now made them available at auction.’