For an article on the tunic shown below, clickHERE
We often see old helmets for sale with “wartime damage”, either bullet holes or cracks that lead to discussions about whether it was damaged on the soldier, or used as a target by other soldiers, or even by civilians after the war. It is uncommon to find a jacket with battle damage, such items, usually blood encrusted or with fleas and sweat stains were usually burned at the first aid station or buried with the soldier.
I was very happy some time ago to acquire the battle damaged tunic of a man who was lucky not wearing it when a French trench mortar exploded in their position shredding the lower part of the jacket. The soldier found the remains of the tunic to be sensational enough to send home to his family, thus preserving a fantastic piece of Military history.
For a short summary of his Military career please see HERE
An unrelated diary entry by Richard Wahl (see Here) speaks of a similar incident…
“At 10pm David Haustei was killed by French artillery just 2m from me, without me noticing it. It was a strange occurrence and unfortunately it must be said he was largely responsible for his own death. In spite of numerous warnings he had spent the day outside the bunker, under direct observation of the French artillery balloons. He spent the afternoon of the 22nd in his under shirt, sitting in the trench, delousing himself. He had taken his jacket off. A salvo of artillery brought him into the bunker where I berated him. After the barrage he went to recuperate his jacket which it turned out, had disappeared, either buried or destroyed by the artillery. At 10pm he went out to dig for it when a salvo landed. I jumped into the bunker, but Haustei was killed by a large shell splinter in the chest. We did not notice his absence as we thought he had entered the dugout from the other side. We all lay down to sleep. Only when I called for the work detail did we find him, 1.5m from the entrance. The work details could not work in the barrage and the collapsed walls gave the enemy a great view of our positions.”
The wearer of the Tunic shown was killed a short time later in an attack on the Caurrieres Wald.
(Notice the field repair on the pic to the left)
" A Souvenir of Verdun (Caurrieres-Wald). My Waffenrock, buried by a mine in our bunker in the evening of 6th June. E. Engert 6./110 1917"
Above: Engerts Grave, to the left of the tree and the sector as it looks today.