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Thread: Dirty Harry

  1. #1
    Master bobbee's Avatar
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    Dirty Harry

    Spotted this sorry looking specimen in a lot, and made it my mission to get it.






    The lot of silver cased watches.









    Case date 1915, movement 1913.









    "What's so special about it?" I don't hear you ask.
    Yes, these are fairly commonplace models, but this one had a little something "extra".







    A nice inscription, and something that piqued my interest as my brother lives in Ramsgate.
    Time to get my head down and do a little research.

    First up, I find childe Harold was born in 1881,in Ealing in the borough of Brentford.







    Then more info comes, married in 1907 in Lambeth.








    More digging brings up that Harold served in 1915 as Third Mate aboard the ship "S.S. Watermouth", and what else is interesting, is he is also joined by his wife, May. This is a Merchant Navy ship.









    The boat was built in 1910/11, and some time after our hero joined, has since changed hands and is now the "S.S. Swift Wings."








    Now, this is where it gets interesting. If we look to the bottom of the previous picture, we see that the boat was torpedoed!
    The watch is engraved in August 1916, and Harold's ship is torpedoed within weeks of this.








    As can be seen, only two crew lost their lives.
    Harold and his wife got lucky, very lucky.

    Some time after the war ended, it seems either he was divorced, or his wife died. He gets married again, in 1924 in Bridgend.







    After more than three decades, poor Harold dies at the age of 75 in Totnes, Devon in 1956.









    Now, the watch arrived this morning, and as seen in the above photos it is a little rough.
    The hour hand is bent and buckled, and all three hands are rusty. After carefully removing, polishing and reluming, they look a bit better.
    The watch didn't want to work, but a basic cleaning and oiling gets it up once more.
    The dial is filthy (no crystal) and the case has been given some elbow grease.

    Well, quite a few dents, dings and scratches, but I count these as badges of honour and leave them be.








    I put it on a vintage grosgrain military band, until a nice leather one is bought from David at vintagewatchstraps.com.









    And the rear, shining once more.









    In memory of L.A. Grainger and Murdoch McLeod, and the many unsung heroes of the Merchant Navies.
    Thank you.



    Site of the wreck.

    Last edited by bobbee; 19th April 2018 at 09:17.

  2. #2
    What a terrific post. Great research.

    Nothing more to add other than this is what the forum needs.

  3. #3
    Master bobbee's Avatar
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    Thank you Howie, much appreciated.

  4. #4
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
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    Excellent post, very interesting indeed. Well done for the research and the work on the watch. A most refreshing change from the drivel of "investment pieces" and "future values".

  5. #5
    Master bobbee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magirus View Post
    Excellent post, very interesting indeed. Well done for the research and the work on the watch. A most refreshing change from the drivel of "investment pieces" and "future values".
    Thank you man.

  6. #6
    Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    Superb research, the back story really makes it special and that is lovely sympathetic restoration work on the watch. Very well done.

  7. #7
    Master
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    Fabulous watch and post, well done and thank you. I find that knowing some of the story behind a watch adds an extra human dimension. Nice movement as well.

  8. #8
    Master bobbee's Avatar
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    Thank you guys, it means a lot.

  9. #9
    Master Possu's Avatar
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    What a great post! Really an interesting read even though the watch itself isn't my cuppa. Thanks for sharing. You seem to have some considerable talent in research.

  10. #10
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing, great post and great story.
    Don't take my silence for agreement. I've just realised you're too stupid to argue with.

  11. #11
    Master bobbee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Possu View Post
    What a great post! Really an interesting read even though the watch itself isn't my cuppa. Thanks for sharing. You seem to have some considerable talent in research.

    Kiitos!

  12. #12
    Master bobbee's Avatar
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    Found out more info, possibly a reason why the watch was given by the YMCA.

    Read from page 125.

    http://calmview.bham.ac.uk/GetDocume...fname=YMCA.pdf


    YMCA's wide ranging activities including the
    provision of rest huts, overnight hostels and other facilities for men on leave, the association's
    kitchens and canteen
    s in its centres at home and at the front, the organisation of
    entertainments and recreational facilities and of educational and employment opportunities
    both for troops and for munition workers, as well as its religious work.
    YMCA huts which were
    erected in cities, villages and railway stations and in the major training camps in England and
    also with the British Expeditionary Force at
    the great bases at Le Havre, Rouen, Calais,
    Boulogne, Etaples and Abbeville, and subsequently at the frontline.
    Would love to see those photos.

  13. #13
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    Awesome stuff Bobbee, the history on this is ace

    Matt


    Brought to you by HYPNOTOAD

  14. #14
    Master bobbee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by busmatt View Post
    Awesome stuff Bobbee, the history on this is ace

    Matt


    Brought to you by HYPNOTOAD
    Cheers Matt!

    Here are photos taken during WW1 of various Kent YMCA activity.

    http://www.calmview.bham.ac.uk/TreeB...A%2fK%2f1%2f17

  15. #15
    Master demer03's Avatar
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    Very cool. Thank you for posting this.

  16. #16
    Master Geronimo's Avatar
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    Good job, well done !
    Nice bit of research too.

    Jimmy

  17. #17
    Craftsman
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    Fantastic research - love the thought of wearing all that history on the wrist, and to think it's over a hundred years old and still ticking away.

  18. #18
    Master
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    Great thread Bobbee. Very interesting research results & just the right amount of restoration, the watch looks fantastic. Well done

  19. #19
    Master mickylall's Avatar
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    One of the best posts I've seen in a long time, thanks for taking the time - found it very interesting

  20. #20
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    Fantastic watch - nice catch Bobbee.

    Putting together a history portfolio like this is a true labour

  21. #21
    Master bobbee's Avatar
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    Thanks again all, I am overwhelmed.

    Kris, such a comment from a top-class restorer of WW1 watches means a lot. I salute you.

  22. #22
    Now thats an awesome watch. Congrats.

  23. #23
    Craftsman
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    Great research and a very interesting read, love the watch too, thanks for that. Steve

  24. #24
    Craftsman
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    Great read. Thank you.

  25. #25
    Master
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    thx for posting very interesting

  26. #26
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    My first dip into the BMW forum and what a great post to start with. Fascinating back story, painstakingly researched and a lovely watch brought back to life.

    Thanks very much for sharing bobbee

    ATB

    Jon

  27. #27
    Craftsman gog's Avatar
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    Very interesting and this forum at it's absolute best.....

  28. #28
    I'm glad this post has had a few recent bumps as I would have missed it. Excellent work OP and thank you for taking the time to post it. Have you got it on a new strap yet? What diameter is the case?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by magirus View Post
    Excellent post, very interesting indeed. Well done for the research and the work on the watch. A most rpiece of bling.shing change from the drivel of "investment pieces" and "future values".
    Couldn't agree more. This is the sort of thing that gives watches character and meaning. Far better than some soulless modern bit of bling.

  30. #30
    Master bobbee's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the comments, it makes me feel all the richer for them!
    Jmarchitect, I have it on a Kitchener dark brown leather, it looks great.
    The diameter is 35mm just over. Sorry no pics as I am away on holiday.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thanks all for the comments, it makes me feel all the richer for them!
    Jmarchitect, I have it on a Kitchener dark brown leather, it looks great.
    The diameter is 35mm just over. Sorry no pics as I am away on holiday.

  31. #31
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    Smile

    Hey Bob! This is Marty from Global Horology-GREAT work my friend! Beautiful restoration and what a history lesson-fantastic job.

  32. #32
    Master bobbee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty101 View Post
    Hey Bob! This is Marty from Global Horology-GREAT work my friend! Beautiful restoration and what a history lesson-fantastic job.
    Many thanks Marty, see you on the site!

  33. #33
    Master bobbee's Avatar
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    Just an update with photos, new strap and period unbreakable crystal, cheers.


    Last edited by bobbee; 20th April 2018 at 11:54. Reason: Putting pics back up.

  34. #34
    Craftsman
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    What a great story. It makes the watch all the more interesting knowing the history behind it. Next challenge is to find out where it went post 1956.

  35. #35
    Craftsman
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    Great thread. thanks for posting.

  36. #36
    Wonderful thread. thank you :)

  37. #37
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    Lovely watch Bob. I love things like this with a bit of history. I live in Ramsgate, I wonder if there is anything else I can find locally.

    Carl

  38. #38
    Master bobbee's Avatar
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    Thanks for the posts guys.
    Carl, here is a postcard circa 1910, view of the YMCA at Spencer Square from the bowling green (now tennis courts I believe!). Still there but not a hostelry any more.







    As for anything else, you could send me some chips of flint from the beach for my vintage handmade replica flintlock pistols!
    You can see they are old from the rubbed areas on the back where they were hanging on my mate's wall for many decades.




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