Last year I wrote a companion article to this one, A Berkshire Lad, but have in the last week been contacted by the family of Pte. Frederick G. Rance. I sensed the import and could not but return the helmet to the family to complement the other memorabilia which they have preserved.
Now many collectors will take me to task over this, and indeed the helmet is one of my best, but what can I say? Nothing noble naturally, but it just seemed the right thing to do.
However, I now present photographs of Fred and a little bio.
Now for his pay book and Birth Certificate
To quote the family “Fred was Royal Berks in WW1, after he returned home he enlisted in the home guard where he became an NCO and Lewis gun instructor. In 1940 he re-enlisted into the regular army once again for WW2, this time he joined the Royal Army Ordnance Corps where he remained until approx 46. Fred finally passed away in 1985/86 I think. His civilian career away from war was as a gardener and at one point he was employed by the royal household at Windsor Castle.”
They also tell me that there is a good deal of more paperwork and some part-used film in one of his cameras. We await with anticipation.