By Hugh Williams
January 2013

      I have been a keen collector of WW1 memorabilia for many years, especially in reference to my father’s military service in both WW.1 & 2.

Back some years ago I developed a web site showing his history and WW1 Diary. It is amazing the response I have received from all over the world.

Then the most amazing thing happened on the 7 January 2013, I received a phone call from a fellow in Sydney who told me that there was an ID tag obviously made by my father some time during the first war was up for sale in the Trench Art section on EBay.

On examining the photo of the item very closely it appeared very genuine. The story behind it is rather obscure but it appears an English Collector living in Spain had it up for sale as he was returning to England and put it on EBay. The gentleman in Sydney found it and decided to do some research on it and found my father’s web site and got in touch with me. As you can imagine, I jumped at it and is now in my possession. It cost a fair bit but it was worth it.

Another very interesting coincidence was the fact that another friend was bidding as well, he was going to give it to me. So I had two people bidding against each other thus driving the price a lot higher than it should have been.

To top all this off, the day the Sydney fellow first contacted me was my father’s 116th birthday (if he was still alive).

I am going to do as much research as I can and try and find out where it has been for the last 90 odd years.

I have come to a dead end as it changed hands at a 'Car Boot Sale' in Spain.

Further information, through a Greek friend of mine and his son, I have found out that the medallion is dated around the turn of the century (1900) or even earlier. It is from either the west coast of Turkey near the Aegean Sea or on the other side of the water on the actual Gallipoli Peninsular.

I showed it to a pretty little Turkish school student, she could not fully understand it but was able to tell me that it was not the Turkish as it is now written. She did tell me that on one side it looked like a prayer. Since then I have contacted the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and recieved the following letter.

Dear Mr Williams, the item was originally a Turkish coin, see examples at and check out the 1 Kurus and 5 Kurus from 1808-1839. The date on it is 1223 (Turkish Arabic calendar) which makes it a 1808 coin. This is an unofficial identity disc. In the early stages of the war many men had their own created, many were made from coins. One of the reasons for this is because they were issued with only 1 identity disc to begin with. Later they had 2 (one to stay with the body if they were killed and one to be kept for the records). Presumably your father found the coin, or someone he knew and he used it for an extra ID disc. We have others made form coins in the collection here. Yours is a very nice and rather historic example, given how old the coin and they may have used official letter and number dies to stamp it.

Thank you for letting us know about it, that is an amazing story and it is fabulous it has made its way back to your family.

Regards Dianne Rutherford

So as you can imagine, I am thrilled to bits.