Machine Gun Memorabilia: V23N3

By Robert G. Segel

Sterling silver U.S. doughboy dog tag holder and locket. The outside of the holder is engraved “2nd Lieut. H.W. Billman 109 M.G. BN. 28th Division USA Lebanon, PA.” Upon opening, the bottom contains the actual aluminum dog tag reading “Henry W. Billman 2nd Lt. 109 M.G.B.N. U.S. N.G.” with remnants of the hanging cord that would pass through a hole in the top of the locket so it could be worn around the neck. The other side shows a period photograph of Lt. Billman and two women—possibly sisters.

British World War I skill-at-arms sleeve badge for the Hotchkiss Gunner. Two pieces with wreath and “HG” with backing plate and original uniform fabric.

World War I British Motor Machine Gun Service officers bronze cap and collar insignia and cloth shoulder titles. Worn 1914–1915 only. The Motor Machine Guns Service used Clyno motorcycles with a sidecar mounted Vickers machine gun.

World War I helmet belonging to Private Abian A. “Wally” Wallgren (1891-1948) of the U.S. Marine Corps, 2nd Division, 5th Marine Machine Gun Company. Insignia of that unit is a purple square denoting the 5th Marine Machine Gun Company with the 2nd Division Indian head in white star hand-painted to the front of the helmet with an applied period USMC EGA (Eagle, Globe, Anchor) collar device affixed above. Also hand-painted all around the helmet is a belt of machine gun bullets and the name of the artist and owner: “Wally.” Behind the helmet is a booklet of hundreds of humorous cartoon drawings featuring events during World War I by famous U.S. Marine Corps private Abian A. Wallgren, known as Wally. He was the staff cartoonist for Stars and Stripes, the official newspaper of the A.E.F. (American Expeditionary Forces). This collection of his favorites was published after the war by Stars and Stripes in 1919 and sold for 5 francs. The profits from the original sale of this book went to aid the Stars and Stripes French War Orphans Fund. Enlisting in the Marines in 1917, Wallgren was among the first to see service in France as a buck private...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V23N3 (March 2019)
and was posted online on February 1, 2019


Comments have not been generated for this article.