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Help Identifying 17th Company 5th Marines Bell Cap


RobertE

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I have a WWI 5th Marines bell cap and uniform that I'm trying to identify.  It has his company and initials written on the inside of the sweatband, and there is a second set of initials on the outside of the sweatband.  

 

The Marine buttons have been period replaced with what I believe are US Army buttons of some type.  A collecting friend, Gary Mohrlang, told me these were on it when he got the uniform set in a Colorado Goodwill store and he thought they were engineer, but I don't know.  I do know this gabardine-type cover have turned up in other 5th Marine groups I've found, and I think they were issued in quantity to that regiment.

 

So the million dollar question: does anyone have a 17th company roster with a possible match for either sets of initials?  Given the company's losses, the roster probably changed constantly and dramatically, but I'd really like to know who owned this cover and uniform set.

 

regards, Robert

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Buttons are Army Engineer.  Might be able to track down in musters based off of the initials - but thats a tall order! 

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Brian Dentino

Could this be an early USMC bell crown that was aquirred from the Army before the Marine uniforms showed up?  I have seen some WWI Marine uniforms that were requisitioned from the Army (Army cut/buttons/etc.).  Just a thought but I don't think this would be all that unusual......now as far as tracking this Marine down, I wish you luck.  Maybe you will get lucky out there and find someone who has a roster that you can reference.  Nice he has all 3 initials in the cover instead of just last name, first initial.  Keep us posted on what you can find.  

Always looking for 325th G.I.R. and WWII USMC items!

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Austin, thanks for that information. 

 

Brian, this style cap and it's construction is pure Marine.  I also just got one of the browner toned Marine covers with one button USMC, and one army and I know this did happen.  I have a WWI Marine officers blouse cut from army cloth, with army buttons, but Marine style pockets, cuff scallops, and other features.

 

regards, Robert

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Schnicklfritz

Absolutely a USMC issue cap.  This is a good book to get. It has a roster of the various companies of the 5th Regt.  Wish there was one for the 6th:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Marine-Regiment-Devil-Dogs-World/dp/0786497491

 

Of course, the rosters are not complete. I think they are based basically on certain timeframes during the war and occupation. 

 

***WANTED: MINT UNISSUED USMC DEPOT WEB GEAR AND A SIZE 38 P42 CAMO JACKET***

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Thank you very much for that lead; I'll get the book.  I don't know how I missed it!  Anything with a decent roster of the 5th Marines at any stage of the war, but particularly 1918-1919, would be very useful - thanks again for sounding off.

 

s/f Robert

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So a great idea to but this book. I have it in my library and quite frankly, have forgotten about it. It has some great information in it and I am going to now re-read it.

 

Regarding the roster at the end, be aware that the assignment of names to companies in this roster was taken at a particular point in time. For example, I have the extensive collection of Lt. Edward Everett Lindgren, who was a Lt. of the 17th Company and was awarded the DSC, NC, PH at Blanc Mont on October 4th. He went to France the summer of 1917 and was at that time, a Corporal and company clerk of the 49th company. He was promoted to Lt. after Soissons in July 1918 and was transferred to the 17th and served with them as a platoon commander when he was wounded at Blanc Mont. He returned to the 17th after Christmas and served on occupation duty until their return home in August 1919. The book and this roster lists him as a Corporal of the 49th with no mention of his service in the 17th. I am sure there are other examples of transfers, re-assignments, etc similar to this. 

 

But get the book, any advanced WWI Marine Corps collector should have it in their library. 

 

Using the roster Robert, I found a Pvt. in the 17th named Sydney H. Whetstone. That might be your man. There is a private Starling Whittemore as well, no middle initial, but Sydney seems an exact match. Might check muster rolls for a middle initial for Whittemore to determine whether there were two SHW’s in the 17th (at least at the time this roster was compiled, which was probably the time they shipped out). 

 

In my opinion, the 17th Company writing in your hat appears very similar (color of ink, breadth of nib, style of writing) to the SHW initial?. If you agree, I would assume the SHW was written in your hat at the same time as the 17th Company writing so I am thinking Sydney is likely your man. Kevin

I am eagerly collecting Pre-WWII USMC material. Any Marine Corps Span Am era, WWI, Banana Wars, or China Marine related material is especially sought after. Let me know if you have something you want to part with. 

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Cross referencing to another roster, looks like Whetstone enlisted on April 22 1918. He is not listed as WIA or KIA, and no awards mentioned. Would be interesting to research further. Starling Whittemore has an enlisted date of April 9, 1918. Still listed with no middle name in the other roster. No mention of him being WIA or KIA either. With that late an enlisted date, these men were surely replacements after Belleau Wood, likely arriving in France in July or August. I still think the best bet is Whetstone.

I am eagerly collecting Pre-WWII USMC material. Any Marine Corps Span Am era, WWI, Banana Wars, or China Marine related material is especially sought after. Let me know if you have something you want to part with. 

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Kevin, I am grateful for the time you took to dig up possibilities, and will post what I find from these excellent leads.  I will also purchase that book to add to my library.

 

Regards, Robert

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Ancestry has a Sydney Hooker Whetstone who joined the 17th Company 1/5 on 1 October, from a training company in France.  Looks like he was sick on 1 November 1918 and discharged the next August.  Lots of other pre-AEF training and movement pieces.  

 

Not much field time, but a great added bonus: he was from my hometown in Colorado.  

 

regards, Robert

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That is interesting Robert. I am a bit familiar with the exploits of the 17th at Blanc Mont on October 3 and 4 and believe me, they saw more than their share of the fighting. They were the tip of the spear in the assault against the German Essen trench on October 3rd and again when advancing toward the ridge from St. Etienne on October 4th. He definitely saw the elephant. That is great that he is from your hometown!

I am eagerly collecting Pre-WWII USMC material. Any Marine Corps Span Am era, WWI, Banana Wars, or China Marine related material is especially sought after. Let me know if you have something you want to part with. 

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Looking at Starling Whittemore’s headstone, it doesn’t list a middle initial either.

 

B27D3917-84FF-4CD3-903D-FF2BEAA648EE.jpeg.1d921faf072aa0da3b91c9497e8ca731.jpeg

" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

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Private Whetston’s does list his middle initial.

 

66AA0659-1C73-429F-A219-7C5F82713F67.jpeg.1d45d8e279c127c94cfea306223c6f26.jpeg

" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

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Also Sydney H.is buried in Colorado.

" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. "

View my website honoring the men and women of Indiana: http://indianavets.wix.com/indiana-at-war and follow my updates on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/IndianaModernAgeofWar/
Interested in US uniforms? Join the Association of American Military Uniform Collectors! http://aamuc.org/or find us on Facebook! facebook.com/AAMUC.ORG

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Beast, I also couldn't find any references to Whittemore in Ancestry that listed a middle initial either, and I don't think he had one.  Great pictures of the headstones!

 

Sydney H. is buried in the same cemetery as my Dad, it appears.

 

s/f Robert

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