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Pleasant WW1 Victory Medal surprise

Started by Garth Thompson , Apr 25 2013 09:34 AM

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#1 Garth Thompson

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:34 AM

At the last AMCA show in January I bought a shoe box of various US medals. There was a cased unnamed PH, BSM plus some decent boxed WW2 campaigns. On the bottom was a no bar WW1 wrap brooch Victory Medal, pretty common. A couple of days later I was looking the medals over a was very pleasantly surprised to find the Victory Medal edge named. Here is the medal.

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#2 Garth Thompson

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:39 AM

And here is the naming. Ferdinand B. Waselow Gibraltar 

 

Ferdinand Bertholdt Wanselow enlisted in the navy prior to 15 June 1918, entered the USNA 15 June 1918, commissioned JUne 1922 and resigned his commission 30 August 1922, born 9 Feb 1899 died 19 August 1990. 

 

My question would be what was the US Navy doing in Gibraltar during WW1.

 

Garth

 

 

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#3 Dave

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:53 AM

AWESOME find, Garth!!

 

We actually had quite a few US Navy vessels operating from Gibraltar and in the Med during WW1. Considering Gibraltar has been a significant base for Royal Navy operations since before WW1 started, we "piggybacked" on with their base during the WW1 time period. Not only did we have US Navy vessels operating out of there, but we also used it as a logistics point as well. Dear Wikipedia has a good summary of one particular operation around Gibraltar during WW1:

 

Coast Guard Captain Leroy Reinburg of the USS Druid engaged enemy submarines near the Strait of Gibraltar in November 1918. The Druid was operating as part of the Gibraltar Barrage, a squadron of American and British ships assigned to keeping enemy U-boats from passing from the Mediterranean into the Atlantic. On November 8, 1918, men on board USS Druid sighted three surfaced submarines going through the strait. The weather was foul and the seas rough but the barrage squadron attacked anyway, first with gunfire and then with depth charges. HMS Privet reported that she shot a hole through one of the submarines' conning towers with a 4-inch (100 mm) gun but other than that no other damage was thought to have occurred. USS Druid and her compatriots were successful in defending the strait and on the following day the Americans helped rescue the British crew of the battleship HMS Britannia which had been torpedoed by UB-50 while passing through Gibraltar into the Mediterranean. The war ended three days later on November 11.[24]

 

From: http://en.wikipedia....ing_World_War_I


Edited by Dave, 25 April 2013 - 09:54 AM.


#4 bobgee

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 10:56 AM

Super & rare piece, Garth. Congrats......Bob

#5 Squeaker5244

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:05 AM

Very cool find! It's always nice to have those little surprises.

Dustin

#6 firefighter

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:13 PM

Amazing find.Which I had a find like that.



#7 jmar

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:39 PM

Excellent find Garth!

 

I love it when Lady Luck smiles kindly, especially when it's something as nice as this! This treasure couldn't be in better hands. Thank you for sharing it with us!

 

Joe



#8 Jack's Son

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:49 PM

I like the engraving and the beginning of the story. Keep us updated please.

#9 RustyCanteen

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 02:02 PM

Very nice!

 

It looks like it had a device mounted on the ribbon at one time? I can see two holes, but the spacing reminds me of the late manufactured campaign bars?



#10 agate hunter

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 01:50 PM

Great medal!



#11 Garth Thompson

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 02:54 PM

Interesting enough Just a week ago or so I received a letter from a gentleman who is the nephew of Ferdinand Wanselow. It seems Mr. Wanselow joined the US Navy in 1916 and was trained as a wireless operator which is what he was doing at Gibraltar. He never graduated from High School but did go onto the US Naval Academy graduating in 1922. While there he was a member of the USNA rowing team which won the gold medal at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. It seems he was the alternate stroke oar on the 8 man rowing crew. His brother also graduated from the Naval Academy in 1927.



#12 TRR

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 02:59 PM

Awesome find and great story to go with it. Thanks for sharing.



#13 pchepurko

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 04:49 AM

You may want to write or visit the USNA and look in his class yearbook which is called the "Luckly Bag" I believe. There will be a good picture of him and plenty of information about him.



#14 Garth Thompson

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 09:07 AM

The nephew sent me some additional information on Mr. Wanselow. Amazing how interesting a "plain jane" WW1 Victory Medal can be.

 

Exert from the letter:

 

"The Wanselow name is extremely rare, I believe there is only one person in the U.S. with that last name.  Ferdinand never finished high school and referred to himself as a dropout.  The family story is he was expelled. The reason is not clear but it apparently involved a prank which made use of school science equipment.  He was very bright and a self learner. His interest was in physical science and he was fascinated by electricity.

 
He entered the Navy with three rather rare skills for the time all self taught: Typing, Morse code, and he had learned all he could about electronic communications.  The Navy, he knew, used the Wireless and he became an operator.  His ability was recognized at Gibraltar by Forrest Sherman who at that time was not long out of the USNA.  Sherman asked Ferdinand if he would be interested in studying for the Annapolis entrance exam.  Ferdinand had never heard of Annapolis.  Sherman & the Captain explained it to him and made special arrangements to have him tutored for the  exam.
 
Ferdinand graduated in 1922.  The text for the 1922 Annapolis yearbook, The Lucky Bag, can be found online.  The write up about Ferdinand is at approximately page 175.  There is a mention of "shipwrecks".  Ferdinand's son Bob, who died 8/6/2012, told me his Dad was on the Memphis when the wave hit it at Santo Domingo in 1916.  While at Gibraltar he was on the Nashville.  I believe the following is correct according to one of his letters:  Something happened, the Nashville lost its propeller, and it was towed into Gibraltar.  It then became a floating stationary command center of sorts.  This maybe why the engraving on his medal says Gibraltar.
 
If you surf the net using his name you probably can locate some old newspaper articles where his name will appear connected to Annapolis crew rowing.
 
He resigned the Navy in 1922 the result of military downsizing after WW1 and went to work for RCA in New York.  Ferdinand was not involved in WW2"
 
Garth

Edited by Garth Thompson, 13 August 2013 - 09:07 AM.


#15 tarbridge

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 09:40 AM

Interesting to know his background as most times we have nothing but a name.Thanks for posting.Robert

#16 dustin

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 09:58 AM

I do not collect medals but visit this forum and a few others regularly to read what others have discovered, an overall driving interest in military history. This story and with many others are fantastic to read, continuous mini history sessions. I comment now after reading the Moral Dilemma thread a few days ago, this thread is what it is about plain and simple! It's about the story that could be told...its all very touching.
thanks for sharing

#17 MasonK

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 10:01 AM

What a great find! This is why I always check the rims of WWI Vic medals whenever I see them offered for sale.

 

The letter from the nephew really brings this to life. I think it's great that he was willing to contact you.

 

Here's the photo of Wanselow pchepurko mentioned, from the 1922 Lucky Bag.

 

Wanselow.jpg


Edited by MasonK, 13 August 2013 - 10:02 AM.


#18 MasonK

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 10:01 AM

Here's the full page with write-up.

 

U.S.SchoolYearbooksForFerdinandBertholdWanselow.jpg



#19 Garth Thompson

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 10:50 AM

Thanks for the great picture and "Lucky Bag" page.

 

Garth



#20 Tom Nier

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Posted 13 August 2013 - 11:50 AM

Wouldn't Wanselow have qualified for at least the OVERSEAS clasp on his Victory Medal??




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