Dirty Harry

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Dirty Harry

Postby bobbee » April 29th 2017, 7:13am

Spotted this sorry looking specimen in a lot, and made it my mission to get it.



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"What's so special about it?" I don't hear you ask.
Yes, these are fairly commonplace models, but this one had a little something "extra".



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A nice inscription, and something that piqued my interest as my brother lives in Ramsgate.
Time to get my head down and do a little research.

First up, I find childe Harold was born in 1881,in Ealing in the borough of Brentford.



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Then more info comes, married in 1907 in Lambeth.



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More digging brings up that Harold served in 1915 as Third Mate aboard the ship "S.S. Watermouth", and what else is interesting, is he is also joined by his wife, May. This is a Merchant Navy ship.




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The boat was built in 1910/11, and some time after our hero joined, has since changed hands and is now the "S.S. Swift Wings."



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Now, this is where it gets interesting. If we look to the bottom of the previous picture, we see that the boat was torpedoed!
The watch is engraved in August 1916, and Harold's ship is torpedoed within weeks of this.




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As can be seen, only two crew lost their lives.
Harold and his wife got lucky, very lucky.

Some time after the war ended, it seems either he was divorced, or his wife died. He gets married again, in 1924 in Bridgend.



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After more than three decades, poor Harold dies at the age of 75 in Totnes, Devon in 1956.




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Now, the watch arrived this morning, and as seen in the above photos it is a little rough.
The hour hand is bent and buckled, and all three hands are rusty. After carefully removing, polishing and reluming, they look a bit better.
The watch didn't want to work, but a basic cleaning and oiling gets it up once more.
The dial is filthy (no crystal) and the case has been given some elbow grease.

Well, quite a few dents, dings and scratches, but I count these as badges of honour and leave them be.




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I put it on a vintage grosgrain military band, until a nice leather one is bought from David at vintagewatchstraps.com.




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And the rear, shining once more.




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In memory of L.A. Grainger and Murdoch McLeod, and the many unsung heroes of the Merchant Navies.
Thank you.



Site of the wreck.
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Re: Dirty Harry

Postby abduksion » April 29th 2017, 7:29am

Looks great are you planing on wearing it or just displaying it?
[b]I just wasted ten minutes reading that thread, what a total bag of shit
in memory of bigedsurf. Life's is too short give a rats ass what others think
about the watches I buy and wear.
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Re: Dirty Harry

Postby bobbee » April 29th 2017, 7:32am

I wear all my watches, although some may only be on my wrist a day or so.
I don't have any safe queens.
Most of my watches are knock-kneed knackered old nose-bags.

Seller's pic, case dates to 1915, movement to 1913.



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Re: Dirty Harry

Postby conjurer » April 29th 2017, 8:32am

A fine posting, Mr. bee, and appropriate given the fact that we've just celebrated the 100th anniversary of America into the Great War. Quite often, as a WIS, I get asked by non-WISs (viz, normal people) if they should bother restoring granddad's old watch. I always tell them that the watch they now own had a life before, and it's always worth keeping it running. There's the old saying that a man dies twice--once when he stops breathing, and the second when his name is spoken for the last time. Thanks to you, Mr. Hiley lives again.
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Re: Dirty Harry

Postby Racer-X » April 29th 2017, 9:18am

Very cool bobbee. Gonna have to check out that freebmd site.
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Re: Dirty Harry

Postby foghorn » April 29th 2017, 10:39am

conjurer wrote: Thanks to you, Mr. Hiley lives again.




As does Harry Callahan
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Re: Dirty Harry

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » April 29th 2017, 12:02pm

Three things:
1. A really great story and fantastic research as always.
2. A beautiful watch.
3. Great job making it run and look presentable again!
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Re: Dirty Harry

Postby eddiea » April 29th 2017, 4:10pm

Nice, really nice!!!.....
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Re: Dirty Harry

Postby Mark1 » April 29th 2017, 7:03pm

Cool story. Get a crystal for that thing, and it may be around another hundred years.
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Re: Dirty Harry

Postby 3Flushes » April 29th 2017, 8:27pm

What incredible lives he and his old-lady must have lived traveling the world on merchant ships in them days.

I have inherited watches from a varied cast of characters, and they are my favorites for the warm nostalgias lit no matter the cold wind blowing through their absence. An object held that they held is somehow a better conduit than unaccompanied lonesome mindfulness.

What a cool eye for such an object, that even to an outsider, speaks so vividly of its original partner as he held it for the rest his journey through life. And how fortunate its current possessor was of mind to uncover that history and preserve it for the heirs of time.

Great catch by a guy who knows the fuck how to fish.
Last edited by 3Flushes on April 29th 2017, 10:12pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dirty Harry

Postby bobbee » April 29th 2017, 9:53pm

Thank you all for your replies, it's good to know that you understand and empathise.Image
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Re: Dirty Harry

Postby gerdson » April 30th 2017, 3:08am

Very interesting, and the watch turned out really nice.

So how is this related to an "War Emergency Canteen" in Ramsgate in August 1916? If he has been aboard the ship since 1915, how could he build a relationship so strong that the fellow YMCA workers would give him such a gift?
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Re: Dirty Harry

Postby MKTheVintageBloke » April 30th 2017, 4:19am

gerdson wrote:Very interesting, and the watch turned out really nice.

So how is this related to an "War Emergency Canteen" in Ramsgate in August 1916? If he has been aboard the ship since 1915, how could he build a relationship so strong that the fellow YMCA workers would give him such a gift?

He could have known them for much longer than that, before they joined the WEC, and before Harold himself joined the crew of that ship. A gift from old friends? Besides, Ramsgate is a port...
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Re: Dirty Harry

Postby bobbee » April 30th 2017, 5:15am

Page 125 of this article gives the reasoning behind the YMCA's involvement in WW1.

http://calmview.bham.ac.uk/GetDocument. ... e=YMCA.pdf

YMCA's wide ranging activities including the
provision of rest huts, overnight hostels and other facilities for men on leave, the association's
kitchens and canteen
s in its centres at home and at the front, the organisation of
entertainments and recreational facilities and of educational and employment opportunities
both for troops and for munition workers, as well as its religious work.

YMCA huts which were
erected in cities, villages and railway stations and in the major training camps in England and
also with the British Expeditionary Force at
the great bases at Le Havre, Rouen, Calais,
Boulogne, Etaples and Abbeville, and subsequently at the frontline.


Photos of Kent area YMCA's during WW1.

http://www.calmview.bham.ac.uk/TreeBrow ... K%2f1%2f17

Article in The Mail:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/worl ... t-war.html
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Re: Dirty Harry

Postby 3Flushes » April 30th 2017, 1:59pm

bobbee wrote:Page 125 of this article gives the reasoning behind the YMCA's involvement in WW1.

http://calmview.bham.ac.uk/GetDocument. ... e=YMCA.pdf

YMCA's wide ranging activities including the
provision of rest huts, overnight hostels and other facilities for men on leave, the association's
kitchens and canteen
s in its centres at home and at the front, the organisation of
entertainments and recreational facilities and of educational and employment opportunities
both for troops and for munition workers, as well as its religious work.

YMCA huts which were
erected in cities, villages and railway stations and in the major training camps in England and
also with the British Expeditionary Force at
the great bases at Le Havre, Rouen, Calais,
Boulogne, Etaples and Abbeville, and subsequently at the frontline.


Photos of Kent area YMCA's during WW1.

http://www.calmview.bham.ac.uk/TreeBrow ... K%2f1%2f17

Article in The Mail:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/worl ... t-war.html


Merchant sailors didn't spend all of their time aboard ships, although, back then I don't think they got paid if they weren't sailing; the watch could have been awarded for service or contributions given while in port between jobs, or who knows, but it sure is great fun to take the 'ol imagination out for a stroll and fill in the gaps.
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Re: Dirty Harry

Postby svaglic » April 30th 2017, 3:46pm

I just love reading posts like this, the history lesson and the watch clean up are great.
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