World of Coins

Other tokens and medals => Advertising, propaganda and numismatic artefacts => Private countermarks => Topic started by: brandm24 on April 24, 2020, 01:28:22 PM

Title: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on April 24, 2020, 01:28:22 PM
These two pieces are included in a lot of old copper coins I'm watching on eBay. I believe they're dog tags but can't decipher the meaning of them.

This one is on the planed down obverse of an old Spanish 10 Centimos. There's very little detail left to date it but it appears to be pre -World War l. The STO CE struck on either side of the hole is curious. I don't know if it should be read as a single word STOCE or as separate words or acronym STO CE.
I assume the GE / Cockcain is the serviceman's name and the numbers below are his serial number. The letters/numbers are a little indistinct but seem to read KK(orX)97405. Can anyone decipher it for me?

I have to grab a picture of the second one so will post it later. Thanks everyone.

Bruce
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: FosseWay on April 24, 2020, 01:59:07 PM
"Cockcain" proves to be a very unusual variant of the name more often seen as Cockayne and similar. The whole of Ancestry yields just four matches:

- Samuel Cockcain, who paid 2s 8d in tax to Fannett township, Pennsylvania, in 1786.
- Mary Cockcain, buried at Sheering, Essex, on 2 September 1790
- Thomas Cockcain, buried at the same place on 13 March 1785 (quite possibly Mary's husband)
- Reginald Cockcain, freemason, who at the age of 35 was inducted into the Greta Lodge (Keswick, Cumberland) of the United Grand Lodge of England on 14 October 1919.

None of these seem relevant here.

A similar global search on FindMyPast (similar to Ancestry but more UK/Ireland oriented) yielded just one hit, a 1910 passenger list from New South Wales containing a "Mr and Mrs Cockcain" (no further details in the summary, and the original is in part of the site I don't have a subscription to).

I'll try and dig a bit more using variants of the name.
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: malj1 on April 24, 2020, 02:57:35 PM
I think KX 97405 may be an Australian number

CE could be CofE (Church of England) as most dog tags had the religion prominently.
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on April 24, 2020, 05:52:47 PM
"Cockcain" proves to be a very unusual variant of the name more often seen as Cockayne and similar. The whole of Ancestry yields just four matches:

- Samuel Cockcain, who paid 2s 8d in tax to Fannett township, Pennsylvania, in 1786.
- Mary Cockcain, buried at Sheering, Essex, on 2 September 1790
- Thomas Cockcain, buried at the same place on 13 March 1785 (quite possibly Mary's husband)
- Reginald Cockcain, freemason, who at the age of 35 was inducted into the Greta Lodge (Keswick, Cumberland) of the United Grand Lodge of England on 14 October 1919.

None of these seem relevant here.

A similar global search on FindMyPast (similar to Ancestry but more UK/Ireland oriented) yielded just one hit, a 1910 passenger list from New South Wales containing a "Mr and Mrs Cockcain" (no further details in the summary, and the original is in part of the site I don't have a subscription to).

I'll try and dig a bit more using variants of the name.
I thought Cockcain was an odd surname too. As a matter of fact, every time I tried to Google the name i got directed to all kinds of information on cocaine. I decided not to click on any of them or I might be getting a not-too-polite knock on the door from the internet police. :-X

I agree, the four examples of the surname Cockcain you came up with don't look promising. I appreciate your looking into it a bit more. I also thank you for the tip on FindMyPast. I'll have to look into that for future reference.

Bruce
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: FosseWay on April 24, 2020, 05:57:18 PM
If Malcolm is right about it being an Australian army number, then the person involved in the NSW passenger list could be the same as the owner of the tag.
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on April 24, 2020, 05:57:59 PM
I think KX 97405 may be an Australian number

CE could be CofE (Church of England) as most dog tags had the religion prominently.
Good catch on the CE, Mal. I hadn't thought about it indicating his religion. I know on American dog tags, at least starting with WW ll, a serviceman's religion was part of the inscription. My father was in the navy and it was on his.

That's interesting that it might possibly Australian.

Bruce
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on April 24, 2020, 06:01:31 PM
If Malcolm is right about it being an Australian army number, then the person involved in the NSW passenger list could be the same as the owner of the tag.
Definitely possible then. Too bad the couples first names weren't recorded.

Bruce
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: Figleaf on April 24, 2020, 06:24:40 PM
In the Australian military, STO stands for Sea Transport Officer (https://www.awm.gov.au/learn/glossary/s).

Since it doesn't look like a military rank, couldn't GE be a first name (George) or initials?

Peter
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: FosseWay on April 24, 2020, 06:37:32 PM
I presumed GE were initials, yes. The standard shortened written form of George was Geo.
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: gerard974 on April 24, 2020, 07:17:37 PM
In the Australian military, STO stands for Sea Transport Officer (https://www.awm.gov.au/learn/glossary/s).

Since it doesn't look like a military rank, couldn't GE be a first name (George) or initials?

Peter
Hello Peter
and in France WWII STO i service travail obligatoire

Service du travail obligatoire — Wikipédia (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_du_travail_obligatoire_)(France)

Best regards Gerard
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: malj1 on April 25, 2020, 12:30:53 AM
Apparently this system of using a X followed by a number didn't come in until WW2

All members of the Second AIF were allocated a serial number. The first letter represented the state of enlistment: N – New South Wales; V – Victoria; Q – Queensland; S – South Australia; W – Western Australia; T – Tasmania; D ("Darwin") – Northern Territory; P - Papua New Guinea. The serial numbers of female soldiers followed this with an F. AIF serial numbers then had an X. A low number indicated an early enlistment. General Blamey was VX1.

The KX doesn't appear here in this list so it may have been for another commonwealth country.

See also Service number (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_number)

Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on April 25, 2020, 01:32:19 AM
I also assumed the GE were the initials of the first and middle name.

Bruce
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: bagerap on April 25, 2020, 10:30:39 AM
The surname has interesting antecedents:

Cockaigne - Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockaigne)
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on April 25, 2020, 04:23:11 PM
Here's the second tag that I mentioned. This one is on the reverse of a George Vl Penny but the date is obliterated. Apparently, it's a WW ii tag. It's made with a center punch.

I read "22845" (a serial number probably) "CE" (rank?) "RFA" (I was thinking Royal Field Artillery) and "Chapman or Chapman(s)" The extreme right part of the world is unclear.

Any thoughts on this tag?

Bruce
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: bagerap on April 25, 2020, 04:34:15 PM
Perhaps Royal Fleet Auxiliary which is a merchant fleet operated by the Ministry of Defence. Personnel wear Royal Navy uniform and are subject to RN regulations and discipline.
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: eurocoin on April 25, 2020, 04:53:35 PM
The second dog tag appears to be of this Stanley Chapman who was in the Royal Field Artillery. Further information and his medal card from the National Archives:

(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=39617.0;attach=98577;image)

(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=39617.0;attach=98576;image)
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: FosseWay on April 25, 2020, 07:15:39 PM
I'd had the same thought as bagerap about the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, where the rank/profession of Chief Engineer could have accounted for CE. But the medal card shown by eurocoin is much more convincing. CE may, once again, be Church of England.

Regarding the medal card, it seems he transferred from the Royal Field Artillery to the Royal Engineers. In both cases he was the equivalent of a private (gunner in the artillery, sapper in the engineers).
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on April 25, 2020, 08:02:52 PM
Perhaps Royal Fleet Auxiliary which is a merchant fleet operated by the Ministry of Defence. Personnel wear Royal Navy uniform and are subject to RN regulations and discipline.
If that's the case, maybe Chapman is the name of a ship he served on.

I just had another thought. Since the coin has two holes drilled in it it looks to have been attached to something rather than worn on a chain or lanyard as dog tags generally are.

Thanks for your input.

Bruce

Bruce
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: malj1 on April 26, 2020, 12:03:50 AM
First are you sure its George VI? it should be George V for WW1 ??? ...else he could of course made it much later.

The name I read as Chapman.S which fits Stanley Chapman nicely. As does the number on the medal card. (These medals BTW were known unofficially as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred after a popular newspaper cartoon of the time)

As for the two holes, I believe these were used to sew to their kit bags for identification.
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on April 26, 2020, 12:34:48 PM
The second dog tag appears to be of this Stanley Chapman who was in the Royal Field Artillery. Further information and his medal card from the National Archives:

(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=39617.0;attach=98577;image)

(http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=39617.0;attach=98576;image)
Thanks, eurocoin, that's definitely the man.

Bruce
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on April 26, 2020, 12:44:56 PM
First are you sure its George VI? it should be George V for WW1 ??? ...else he could of course made it much later.

The name I read as Chapman.S which fits Stanley Chapman nicely. As does the number on the medal card. (These medals BTW were known unofficially as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred after a popular newspaper cartoon of the time)

As for the two holes, I believe these were used to sew to their kit bags for identification.
I rechecked the coin, Mal, and it is a George Vl Penny. That would make it 1936 or after, so the tag must have been made as a souvenir. Chapman served only from 1916 until 1920 according to the records supplied by eurocoin. Maybe a 20 year anniversary piece?

I remember while researching American Civil War dog tags awhile back I came across quite a few pieces made in later years. Some were quite elaborate, listing name, rank, unit served with, and the actual battles that the person fought in. These weren't actual dog tags, but were remembrance pieces. They had the look of dog tags but could be confusing to some.

Bruce
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: malj1 on April 26, 2020, 12:51:40 PM

I remember while researching American Civil War dog tags awhile back I came across quite a few pieces made in later years. Some were quite elaborate, listing name, rank, unit served with, and the actual battles that the person fought in. These weren't actual dog tags, but were remembrance pieces. They had the look of dog tags but could be confusing to some.

Bruce

Somewhat like these Short Snorters (https://sites.google.com/site/malsbnotes/short-snorters) given to me by a friend a few years ago.
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on April 26, 2020, 03:10:47 PM
Short snorters are interesting and a lot of fun to research. I've seen some but don't own any. At one time I had a decent collection of currency, mostly US obsolete notes and private scrip but nothing military...MPC's or sutler notes.

Bruce
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: eurocoin on April 26, 2020, 09:58:07 PM
Thanks, eurocoin, that's definitely the man.

Bruce

You are welcome. If you happen to buy them, there is likely much more info on Stanley Chapman to be found, so if you wish I can then dive further into it, although I can imagine you may just as well wish to do the research yourself. I have seen some very interesting and well researched posts of you.
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on April 27, 2020, 11:22:07 AM
You are welcome. If you happen to buy them, there is likely much more info on Stanley Chapman to be found, so if you wish I can then dive further into it, although I can imagine you may just as well wish to do the research yourself. I have seen some very interesting and well researched posts of you.
Unfortunately, I didn't win the lot with the tags we've been discussing but did win one with other British counterstamps. I thought I had a strong bid in but it wasn't enough. I've noticed, especially in the last year or two, the prices for counterstamped coins have risen noticeably. That of course suggests that their popularity has increased as well.

Thanks for all your help, eurocoin, and your kind remarks.

Bruce
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on May 25, 2020, 11:46:47 AM
Here's another tag I thought I'd add here instead of starting a new thread.

It's struck on an WW I era English penny so is probably from then. I think "Ord Sea" might mean ordinary seaman (?) which would make it naval. I don't know the meaning of "WES"...maybe the abbreviation for his unit or ship?

Bruce
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: malj1 on May 25, 2020, 01:22:51 PM
I found three results: WES Weapon Engineering Stores; WES Weapon Equipment Stores WES; Weapons Effect Simulator.

I think we can discount the last as it doesn't appear to suggest its use in WW1
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: FosseWay on May 25, 2020, 02:24:46 PM
I've done a bit of trawling through the naval records available on various family history websites and have only found one record that completely fits, i.e. two first names beginning with J and A. If you only look for J obviously the numbers become unmanageable.

The one that fits is John Allan Upton who served in the Merchant Navy and was eligible for the Mercantile Marine Medal. Attached is his medal card from the National Archives. Unfortunately it is rather sparse on details, such as no date of birth. It does, however, include an address at Parkbeg, Saskatchewan, Canada.

This sailor is pretty much certainly the same person as a John Allan Upton born in the third quarter of 1880 in Guisborough, North Yorkshire, who emigrated to Canada around 1906 and appears in the 1921 Canadian census at Parkbeg Village, Swift Current, Saskatchewan. He is living with his parents, wife and four children, the eldest of whom was born in England, the rest in Sask. He and his father are postmen; his mother is the postmistress. He is also the census enumerator for the district, so one can hopefully rely on the information given about his own family! I've found them in 1911 as well, although the page is almost illegible. He was a farmer then.

He is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver, (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/26297321) and his dates are given as 17 July 1880 - 25 Jan 1962.

It's clearly not a given that your man with the tag is the same as this John Allan Upton, but there must be a reasonable chance.
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: eurocoin on May 25, 2020, 04:15:10 PM
I think that is another JA Upton. I think it belonged to James Arthur Brook Upton. A record about him can be viewed here (https://www.keepandshare.com/doc2/116015/adm-188-776-64578-pdf-205k?da=y).
It is odd that the initial B is not on the dog tag (possibly lack of space), however the service number seems to match as does the rating.

Born 20 August 1897 in Halifax, Yorkshire. Brown hair, grey eyes. First a dyer and later a general textile worker before he enlisted. Served on the HMS Vivid I and the HMS Galatea. He started as ordinary seaman on the HMS Vivid I and after also having served some time on the HMS Galatea became able seaman.

The reason why he was discharged and the part with 'dispersed' I did not understand/cannot read. Maybe someone can explain this. WES remains a bit of a mystery though, although the suggestions of Malcolm may well be correct.

Possibly other members can find more information about this person. I can now not look further into it.
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: FosseWay on May 25, 2020, 04:59:28 PM
Ah, yes, well done - that will be the right person alright. I tried searching on the service number but got nowhere.

As to "Dispersed" - this is a common term used about soldiers/sailors/airmen who are returned to civilian life after the armistice. I'm not clear what the difference between "dispersed" and "demobilised" is. It may be that people who were "demobilised" were still retained on a reserve list and could be called up again directly should the need arise, while "dispersed" people were returned  to civilian life permanently and would need to be redrafted from scratch, as it were.

The reason for discharge is "Shore on demob" - i.e. disembarked and demobilised. Basically his services were no longer required as there was no longer a war to fight.
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: FosseWay on May 25, 2020, 05:07:36 PM
I've found him in the 1939 National Register, living at 51 Victoria Avenue, Elland, Yorkshire, with the same date of birth, 20.8.97. He is a cloth finisher and living with his wife Leonore V Upton and three individuals whose details are redacted because they are still alive, presumably his children.
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on May 25, 2020, 06:44:34 PM
It's likely then that he was a Canadian sailor and not necessarily English. Lots of interesting information to consider. I love it when a face can be attached to a piece of metal like this. It makes it real.

You guys always come through on these tags and I appreciate it very much.

Bruce
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: FosseWay on May 25, 2020, 06:47:05 PM
It's likely then that he was a Canadian sailor and not necessarily English. Lots of interesting information to consider. I love it when a face can be attached to a piece of metal like this. It makes it real.

You guys always come through on these tags and I appreciate it very much.

Bruce

No, the Canadian guy turned out to be a red herring. The one Eurocoin found is your man, who I then found living in Yorkshire in 1939.
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: malj1 on May 26, 2020, 12:03:23 AM
Ah, yes, well done - that will be the right person alright. I tried searching on the service number but got nowhere.

As to "Dispersed" - this is a common term used about soldiers/sailors/airmen who are returned to civilian life after the armistice. I'm not clear what the difference between "dispersed" and "demobilised" is. It may be that people who were "demobilised" were still retained on a reserve list and could be called up again directly should the need arise, while "dispersed" people were returned  to civilian life permanently and would need to be redrafted from scratch, as it were.

The reason for discharge is "Shore on demob" - i.e. disembarked and demobilised. Basically his services were no longer required as there was no longer a war to fight.

My father was demobilised in 1946 following WW2 and placed on the Z reserve. 

Quote
The Class Z Reserve was a Reserve contingent of the British Army consisting of previously enlisted soldiers, now discharged.

The first Z Reserve was authorised by an Army Order of 3 December 1918. When expected problems with violations of the Armistice with Germany did not eventuate, the Z Reserve was abolished on 31 March 1920
Following the Second World War, a new Z Reserve of soldiers and officers who had served between 3 September 1939 and 31 December 1948 were available for recall if under 45 years of age.

 Maybe dispersed means they are not required to come back
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on May 26, 2020, 11:29:50 AM
My father was demobilised in 1946 following WW2 and placed on the Z reserve. 

 Maybe dispersed means they are not required to come back
Ok, I didn't read the descriptions carefully enough. Many thanks.

Bruce
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on October 29, 2020, 09:55:28 PM
Here's an interesting WW i French 10 Centimes used as a dog tag. The abbreviation Pte. is used in the UK and Commonwealth countries to indicate the rank of Private. The American abbreviation is Pvt.

The name Bearpark is quite uncommon I suspect, so should help in tracking him down. I found nothing as is usual for me when I research UK tags.The coin has been holed twice but looks like two other attempts were made but abandoned.By the "washer-like " indentations around the holes it looks to have been riveted to something.

As always, your help is appreciated.

Bruce
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: Figleaf on October 30, 2020, 12:09:38 AM
Found a John Bearpark, from Kings Arms, Staindrop, County Durham born in 1848 here (https://www.red1st.com/axholme/search.php?mylastname=BEARPARK&lnqualify=equals&mybool=AND). Siblings Jane and Richard. Died 1878. Either your man was a grandson, in which case the army number should help, or - as the host coin suggests - he served on an earlier occasion, e.g. having "volunteered" to help out George V, king of Hannover against the Prussians.

Peter
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: FosseWay on October 30, 2020, 07:14:55 AM
Found him :)

Private 24217 John Ronald Bearpark, Yorkshire Regiment. His WW1 service record is rather hard to read.

Anyway, he enlisted at Stockton on 10 November 1915. He married Edith Grace on 30 Dec 1917 but had no children by the time of his discharge. Given the coin he used for his dog tag, it won't be a surprise that he was posted to France on 30 September 1916 and served there as far as I can see until demob on 12 February 1919.

Aha, now I found a more legible front page... he was 18 years 4 months at enlistment, which would make him born in 1897. He lived in Appleton Wiske near Northallerton in North Yorkshire and was a bricklayer in civilian life.

On discharge he had evidently been promoted to lance-corporal. Previous to that, on 18 April 1918 he suffered a gunshot wound to the left wrist and was evacuated to England for treatment.

Info from other sources:

- Born 3rd quarter of 1897 at Northallerton. 18/8/97 according to his death record.
- In the 1901 census, he is living at Appleton Wiske with his parents John and Ada, and three siblings.
- Likewise in 1911, but with more siblings. He is an apprentice in the building trade.
- Married Edith Coultas in 4th quarter of 1917 at Hartlepool.
- In the 1939 register he is back in Appleton Wiske again working as a bricklayer. He has a wife Edith and daughter Marjorie.
- Died 3rd quarter of 1982 at Northallerton.
Title: Re: British dog tags?
Post by: brandm24 on October 30, 2020, 11:02:35 AM
Many thanks to you both for the information.

This is the type of coin that really brings history alive for me and adds the human touch. You find a lot of this with counterstamped coins, but none so much as with a dog tag. The type of coin, the date, denomination or condition mean nothing. The real interest is in the story it tells.

Bruce