Jump to content

1st Marine Division w Cape Gloucester tab ghost


Recommended Posts

I got this very interesting dress blue uniform off eBay recently from a collector who said they picked it up with a large group of named uniforms belonging to Jos*eph T All*en of the 19th marines, Third Marine Division. While looking for a name to try and build a solid case for it belonging to Corporal Allen I noticed that the uniform had the ghost of a sergeant rank under the corporal chevrons meaning that it belonged to someone before Allen, despite the fact that it is a private purchase uniform that should not have been reissued. Even stranger I noticed that there was a very faint ghost of a first marine division tab along with some blue thread and what appears to be a cape Gloucester tab underneath it.

Using this info I did some digging on Ancestry.com and I think this uniform may have belonged to Jes*se D All*en who was a sergeant with the first signal company, first marines on Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester. I believe this because I could find only one person with the last name Allen who was a sergeant with the first Marines and served with the unit early in the war when the Cape Gloucester tab would have been used. When I looked through the Census records on Ancestry.com I found did find that there was a Jes*se All*en from NJ (the same state as Jos*eph All*en) who had a father who had the same name as Joseph's dad's brother meaning they may have been cousins. I admit that this is pretty shaky evidence since I do not know if I was looking at the same Jesse and the census information was pretty hard to use, but I think it is pretty neat. 

Here are pictures of the uniform, which I think is pretty neat for my first 1st Marine Division uniform. The corporal chevrons are also of an interesting construction. 

1st Marine 1.png

1st marine ghost.png

1st Marine.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

The stiches seem to line up pretty closely to this Gloucester tab which is why I think that is what had originally been there, too bad there isn't a name in it for a better ID. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm no expert, but it sure looks like the ghost of a Cape Gloucester tab to me, especially if you can see evidence of a First Marine Division patch being worn. 


Seeing as dress blues weren't issued to every Marine during the war, I could see a Marine letting his younger cousin use his dress blues, especially if he came home after Cape Gloucester. Of course, that's just supposition, but if they were cousins, I'd think it could have happened.   

Certainly something that merits further research!


Neat uniform! Thanks for sharing. 




Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for commenting and sharing your opinion! I think it makes sense because since it is a private purchase blouse there is no reason that it should show that a division patch and sergeant rank removed. Especially since Jos*eph All*en never was a Sargent and only earned the rank of Corporal at the end of the war. Unfortunately, it is not nearly as easy to research using the censes records as it is with the Marine Muster rolls. Not sure if there is anyway be 100% sure they were cousins so this will likely remain a martial mystery. Also the timeline lines up well that the 1st Division vet came back to the states in late 1943 and worked training new recruits so his dress blues would have been free for his cousin just coming back from Japan to borrow at the end of the war.


Also a possible connection is that the 3rd Division veteran was an electrical engineer in the 3rd Engineer Bn, yet he has a radioman striker on his cuff. The other Allen in the 1st Division was a signalman however, so I think he got creative with one of his cousin's strikers since the signal striker kind of looks like electricity. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.