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V12 2009 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 24, June 14, 2009, Article 9

FOLLOW UP: WOMEN’S ROYAL AIR FORCE "DOG TAG" COIN

An earlier E-Sylum item quoted an article about an unusual "dog tag" style token fashioned from a coin, believed to be related to service in the Women’s Royal Air Force. David Powell of the U.K. followed up with Marlene Campbell, A Canadian woman who discovered the item while going through a collection of old coins belonging to her late father. Here are some excerpts from their exchange. -Editor
Womens Royal Air Force Stewart token

David wrote:
The piece is probably a kit-bag tag rather than a dog tag, the purpose being to have something to identify the owner by if they were killed in action. They would be tied tight round the top of the bag.

Such pieces are quite common around the WW1 period, and the style of this one is typical. The first approach is usually to write to the regimental headquarters/museum, or equivalent for other services; they are usually very helpful, but do expect to get asked for a donation {£10-£15ish}. I have done it myself once, for a specimen I own; the amount of information they have available is variable, but I was quite lucky.

I don’t know how much genealogical knowledge you have to start with, so please forgive me if I have just been telling you what you know already.


David provided some genealogical information gleaned from the National Archives and Scotland’s People and the 1901 census. -Editor


Marlene wrote:
The coin was not picked up in Canada, we found it in a pile of old coins my father brought back with him from World War II.

You are right in assuming that I know nothing about Genealogy, but I was able to find out that Isabella Stewart signed up with the WRAF on October the 29th, 1918 at the age of 19. When Isabella signed up she was living at 15 Powis Place in Aberdeen. Next of kin was written down as Mrs. Stewart same address, mother, but no first name on the mother. This would bring her date of birth to around 1899.

It was a good thought that maybe I could reunite the coin with the family but I guess that will never happen. Thanks for the information, I greatly appreciate it.


David wrote:
The name Isabella was, in 1898-99, decidedly more common in Scotland and the very northern counties of England {e.g. Northumberland, Durham} than further south, where it would be quite rare.

Could Isabella have been the girlfriend or fiancée of somebody in your family of about the same age as herself? Put another way, do you know whether your father got it as a random acquisition or because it had meaning to someone who handed it down to him? Your grandfather being perhaps the most obvious candidate, by virtue of his probably being about the right age.

Another possibility: It also occasionally happened that comrades at arms asked each other to take certain of their more valued and sentimental belongings back to their loved ones if they died in action, and Isabella’s tag might just have fallen into that category.

Glad to have been of help, but I fear that the chances of finding the family are small. Having said which, you never know quite what a bit of Googling around might produce…


David did a good deal of digging on the woman's behalf. The results were inconclusive, but he uncovered a good number of useful leads. Many thanks! -Editor


To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: WOMEN’S ROYAL AIR FORCE "DOG TAG" COIN FOUND (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v12n22a22.html)



Wayne Homren, Editor

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To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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