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32nd Division, 125th Infantry WWI Occupation banner?


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Was hoping someone could ID what I actually have here? With the help of another forum member, I was able to have him win this for me at a local auction. Being from Michigan I'm always looking for any WWI 32nd related items.

 

Anyway this is made of two pieces of heavy felt that have been sewn together to make this a two sided sign. As you can see in the pictures, there are ties at the top to hang this. Measures approximately 11 x 11

 

The Red arrow is it's own piece also sewn on but the rest of the wording is painted on the material.

 

Any ideas if this was a home front banner / sign or something used in country?

 

Thanks
Troy

 

post-33000-0-67625400-1381866734.jpg post-33000-0-82432800-1381866752.jpg

USMC 2/2 Fox Co 0311 & 1st Recon Bn Delta Co. 0321. 1986 - 1995 (Desert Storm 90/91)

US Army Long Range Surveillance Co F 425th INF ABN LRS Team 1-6 2003 - 2005 (Iraqi Freedom 03/04)

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Troy

 

My guess is reunion item. At the 32nd Division reunions I set up for, each unit had their own hospitaality room. Nice trio of items you have.

 

Bob

 

Bob,

 

Thanks for posting! It is very possible and I was wondering the same thing, but the Campaigns listed along with the "occupation army" being on the banner kind of had me thinking it seemed to have more of an in theater purpose?

 

How long ago were you going to these reunions and did you see any two sided banners like this being used?

 

For all I know this could be a one time item a soldier had special made for himself or maybe a souvenir made to hand out to the 125th upon their return or reunion as you stated?

 

Troy

USMC 2/2 Fox Co 0311 & 1st Recon Bn Delta Co. 0321. 1986 - 1995 (Desert Storm 90/91)

US Army Long Range Surveillance Co F 425th INF ABN LRS Team 1-6 2003 - 2005 (Iraqi Freedom 03/04)

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It's a souvenir piece, without further research it would be hard to tell if it was from unit homecoming or reunion. Based on the looks, I am getting a 1920's feel to it.

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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RC

Thanks, I wouldn't even know where to research this. Until something surfaces I think that is the best guess. Just odd they would go to that much trouble making a souvenir two (separate) sided like this and both sides with the red arrow carefully sewn to match the one on the other side? Would seam a very high quality and expensive souvenir? Have you seen anything similar to this maybe for other units as souvenirs for comparison?

 

Thanks
Troy

USMC 2/2 Fox Co 0311 & 1st Recon Bn Delta Co. 0321. 1986 - 1995 (Desert Storm 90/91)

US Army Long Range Surveillance Co F 425th INF ABN LRS Team 1-6 2003 - 2005 (Iraqi Freedom 03/04)

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I do not like to speculate, but I would offer that perhaps it was originally two separate banners/pennants that were joined back-to-back at some point?

 

These old wool pennants were pretty popular circa 1919-1920 when many of the units came home. The font of "125" certainly gives me the impression of it having been designed in the 1920s.

 

Does the unit history mention a homecoming "Victory" parade? That would be a good place to search for mention of pennants.

 

Regardless, it is a very nice example!

RC

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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I do not like to speculate, but I would offer that perhaps it was originally two separate banners/pennants that were joined back-to-back at some point?

 

These old wool pennants were pretty popular circa 1919-1920 when many of the units came home. The font of "125" certainly gives me the impression of it having been designed in the 1920s.

 

Does the unit history mention a homecoming "Victory" parade? That would be a good place to search for mention of pennants.

 

Regardless, it is a very nice example!

RC

RC.

 

The only problem with that theory is if you look at the two sides they are not the same if taken apart. That's what I was saying about the red arrow aligning. If you took the two sides apart and set them side by side (like in the first pictures shown at the top) the red arrow is facing opposite directions when not sewn back to back.

 

Troy

USMC 2/2 Fox Co 0311 & 1st Recon Bn Delta Co. 0321. 1986 - 1995 (Desert Storm 90/91)

US Army Long Range Surveillance Co F 425th INF ABN LRS Team 1-6 2003 - 2005 (Iraqi Freedom 03/04)

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Troy

 

I did displays from the late 80's until 6 or 7 years ago. My first one a WWI vet was there. He came in looked at my stuff felt the WWI uniform grinned and said I hated those damn collars. I mainly did the Michigan side, but with all the Division going to Wisconsin in 1946 the Michigan guys are all pretty much gone now and the reunions are all held in Wisconsin. It was like having a couple hundred uncles all telling you stories. Some were sad but most were great stories.

 

Bob

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Excellent, then we can propose it was indeed sewn together with a purpose in mind and not as an afterthought.

 

I would search the unit history, and if that fails try to find reunion photos. Some units had reunion medals and others did not, so it is possible this was made for them instead.

RC

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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Thanks for all the help and info guys. I'll see what I can find in the books I have so far.

 

Troy

USMC 2/2 Fox Co 0311 & 1st Recon Bn Delta Co. 0321. 1986 - 1995 (Desert Storm 90/91)

US Army Long Range Surveillance Co F 425th INF ABN LRS Team 1-6 2003 - 2005 (Iraqi Freedom 03/04)

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I would also speculate on it being a very early piece (1919-20) because of the locations mentioned. While the 32nd was in all those places, the names are not consistent with the campaign names from the clasps that were awarded with the Victory Medal. This suggests to me that it was made prior to 1921.

 

It was most likely intended to be hung indoors as felt would not last long in the elements.

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I would also speculate on it being a very early piece (1919-20) because of the locations mentioned. While the 32nd was in all those places, the names are not consistent with the campaign names from the clasps that were awarded with the Victory Medal. This suggests to me that it was made prior to 1921.

 

It was most likely intended to be hung indoors as felt would not last long in the elements.

 

Good observations! now because this banner was specific to the 125th does that help clue in any possibilities?

 

I looked very closely through my 32nd history and welcome home books and didn't find anything close to this. Would the 125th have had their own history or welcome home book?

 

Troy

USMC 2/2 Fox Co 0311 & 1st Recon Bn Delta Co. 0321. 1986 - 1995 (Desert Storm 90/91)

US Army Long Range Surveillance Co F 425th INF ABN LRS Team 1-6 2003 - 2005 (Iraqi Freedom 03/04)

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Let me throw this theory out there; Any chance this was a unit sign hung above a HQ's office door (explaining the arrow pointing the same direction from both sides) directing people into the office for the Occupation duties /period?

 

Troy

USMC 2/2 Fox Co 0311 & 1st Recon Bn Delta Co. 0321. 1986 - 1995 (Desert Storm 90/91)

US Army Long Range Surveillance Co F 425th INF ABN LRS Team 1-6 2003 - 2005 (Iraqi Freedom 03/04)

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My guess would be that the arrow faces the same way for sewing purposes. The arrows could then be stitched together without the stitching being seen. I think it is a commemorative piece for indoors as mentioned already. These were quite popular in the 20s. Scott.

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My guess would be that the arrow faces the same way for sewing purposes. The arrows could then be stitched together without the stitching being seen. I think it is a commemorative piece for indoors as mentioned already. These were quite popular in the 20s. Scott.

 

Hey Scott,

 

Was hoping you would check in on this after our conversation the other day.

 

Still a mystery and yes most likely pointing towards some sort of welcome home banner? But as far as the stitching showing through on the other side, the best I can tell, the banner is two separate pieces with the arrows sewn on each one, then the two pieces were sewn together around the edges.

 

Thanks Troy

USMC 2/2 Fox Co 0311 & 1st Recon Bn Delta Co. 0321. 1986 - 1995 (Desert Storm 90/91)

US Army Long Range Surveillance Co F 425th INF ABN LRS Team 1-6 2003 - 2005 (Iraqi Freedom 03/04)

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  • 2 months later...

Hey Scott,

 

Was hoping you would check in on this after our conversation the other day.

 

Still a mystery and yes most likely pointing towards some sort of welcome home banner? But as far as the stitching showing through on the other side, the best I can tell, the banner is two separate pieces with the arrows sewn on each one, then the two pieces were sewn together around the edges.

 

Thanks Troy

Troy--I would agree with the folks who place this in the early 1920s as a reunion piece---although the 32nd (along with the 1st and 2nd Divisions) led the American Occupation of Germany forces into the Rhineland in December 1918, they were the very first of the 8 occupying divisions to return to the States...the 32nd had a great reputation as an assault division which may have caused Pershing to choose it for the occupation but I always believed that another reason was the fact that so many of its soldiers spoke German--sure doesn't hurt to have a built in translation staff in each platoon...one of the 32nd's Lieutenants was surprised to find that the Mayor of Bitburg was his uncle when the 32nd marched through the town on the way to the Rhine...

Al

AFB
"When in doubt, Go cyclical"

 

For more information on

"In a Strange Land: The American Occupation of Germany 1918-1923"

"Let's Go! The History of the 29th Infantry Division"

"To Hell with the Kaiser: America Prepares for War 1916-1918 Volumes 1 and 2"

"Desert Uniforms, Patches, and Insignia of the US Armed Forces"

"Forgotten Soldiers of WWI: America's Immigrant Doughboys"

"Play Ball! Doughboys and Baseball During the Great War"

go to

https://www.amazon.com/author/alexanderf.barnes

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