Friday, September 19, 2008

Detectives I.

This is coolbert:

“Asking the Detectives”

Recent episode of “History Detectives”, on public broadcast television, has three parts, each of which has a military dimension.

“History Detectives” is a continuing television series where experts, persons each having a particular field of expertise, assist persons in determining the authenticity and provenance of heirloom items. I highly recommend this program, WITHOUT QUALIFICATION. If it is shown in your viewing area, please watch! Entertaining, offbeat, but good. The kinda stuff Bert likes!

"Provenance - - The records or documents authenticating such an object or the history of its ownership"

This particular one-hour episode shows the “detectives” at work determining:

1. Authenticity of a British eighteen [18] pounder artillery round! A round passed down through several generations, and reputed to have been ordnance present during the Black Tom explosions of the First World War [WW1]!

An artillery round, amazingly so, in almost absolutely pristine condition, unblemished in not even the slightest manner!! This is a heirloom possession that has been taken care of - - remarkably so!!

[called an eighteen pounder because of exactly that!! Weighs eighteen pounds when ready to be fired. The artillery piece itself also called an eighteen pounder!!]

My initial and instantaneous thought was - - I hope this thing does not blow up and kill all the detectives and the owner! Keep in mind the recent case of the man who was blown to bits when refurbishing a supposedly inactive round from American Civil War naval gun!!

The detective is able to determine, with almost absolute certainty, using serial numbers, stamps of approval, etc., that this artillery round could not have been manufactured at the time of the Black Tom explosions. ALL THE RECORDS FROM THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS ARE SURPRISINGLY STILL ACCESSIBLE!! This particular round was manufactured AFTER Black Tom had occurred.

[given some second thought, that the records are still kept and available for access should not be so surprising. Each and every year, since the end of WW1, farmers in northern France unearth PILES of unexploded ordnance, including a variety of chemical rounds all that must be disposed of!! Records help in the process of knowing what you are dealing with!!]

Amazing facts also about the Black Tom Explosions:

President Wilson - - within weeks of the explosions, was able to ascertain that the sabotage was the work of German agents. BUT WITHHELD THE INFORMATION FOR FEAR OF STIRRING UP ANTI-GERMAN AND PRO-WAR SENTIMENTS!!

A commission in the 1930’s did negotiate a settlement between Germany and the U.S. for damages incurred because of Black Tom. Payments and restitution paid out by the German ONLY FINALLY ENDING IN 1972!!!


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