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42nd Infantry Division, HQ Guidon, with documentation


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This grouping turned up recently. I was really on the fence about buying it until something minor in one of the auction photos caught my eye. I'll explain...

 

First things first: This is an original Guidon for the HQ Company of the 42nd Infantry Division, the Rainbow Division. Its World War 2 Era, and in very nice shape. Its made correctly, has a pole sleeve with a green interior, etc. For bonus points, it also came with a Division flag, again period correct, and in excellent shape. Time capsule level stuff.

 

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I've been burned a time or two in the past buying flags. There has been a cottage industry for a while cranking out flags for presentation pieces, so I usually prod pretty hard to get more info from a seller. This guy wasn't real knowledgeable, but he was helpful. What did it was this folder that came along with the pics. There are 24 pics in the folder, mostly of senior officers, although there are some pics of company CO's. The pics of individuals are all signed. The signal corp photos are from 1943.

 

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The seller showed a few pics from the inside.

 

All of the general staff for the Division, which would make sense with an HQ guidon. Note that number four is the division commander, Brig. Gen. Harry J. Collins.

 

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And in one of the seller's blurry photos was a shot of this:

 

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And the inscription:

 

"To General Harry J. Collins..."

 

There are two photos inscribed like this to Gen. Collins, the rest are just signed, although some have personal messages. So, where does this lead? As far as I can tell, this guidon and the flag were a gift to the general, along with the album signed by his staff. It explains the condition, that they were together, and that everything is apparently original and period. I'm open to alternate theories, of course, but this one makes sense.

 

Here is his wiki bio, with a fair amount of detail.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_J._Collins

 

And a dress photo:

 

Major_General_Harry_J._Collins_1945.jpg

 

The general passed in 1963 and is buried in Europe. I asked the seller where he got these items from, and all he could say was that they came from a "three generation collection." So, fifty years of history is unknown. Its an interesting group, that seems well documented, I just wish that I knew more.

I like guidon flags. They're my bag, baby.

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Really cool flag grouping! Keep digging... you might find some pictures of guidon in use.

 

Sometimes, when the veteran has passed away so many years ago, their items can take some strange paths to get into the hands of a militaria collector.

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I'll keep digging for some photos. I've seen pics here and there that may be flags that I own, but I can't be certain.. Of all my guidons, only one of them can be 100% identified in a period photo. Its an armored one from WW2 that has some interesting provenance. I dug out the pile today and decided to take a group photo. I'm still looking for guidons from the following services: a modern airforce pattern, cavalry, chemical corp, chaplain, finance, special forces, public affairs, military intelligence, JAG, and adjutant general. I've missed out on two of these in the past, but I've never seen some of the others.

 

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I like guidon flags. They're my bag, baby.

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