Sunday, February 3, 2008

Fortunes of War: Items taken from Bosche POW's

Rex often told the story that common practice was for the Bosche POW's to be lined up and walked through a single gate into the compound where they were held before being sent behind the lines. Rex and his fellow medics and the French Poilus (soldiers) would strip the POW's of any hidden weapons, insignia, belts, medals, accoutrements, or anything that might later be used for a tool for escape.

In his diary he recounts the story of a Bosche POW who had a hidden grenade, and then threw it at a group of officers. The grenade failed to explode. A French Poilu "dispatched" him straight away with his pistol.

Upper left and top: Three helmet "trimmings” denote the particular regiment to which the soldier belonged. These were attached to the front of a leather spiked helmet.

Lower left: (Rectangular shape) Infantry belt buckle, with the saying "Gott Mit Uns" meaning "God With Us". Ironic that in war, both sides claim Divine approval....

Bottom: Two Iron Cross medals, issued to Bosche soldiers for service and bravery.

The other items are epaulettes, worn on the shoulders of the uniform. The different trimmings identify the branch of service and regiment. The plain grey ones are for the lowly privates!
And may I add: I mean no disrespect for the German soldier during The Great War by my use of the term Bosche, admittedly a "slang" term of negative connotation. However, this is the term my granddaddy always used, and I will continue to use same.

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