British Army Silver Question

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Aguest
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British Army Silver Question

Postby Aguest » Sun Jun 06, 2021 4:38 pm

Does anyone happen to have information about British Army Communion Kits that the British Army Padre would use to administer communion and last rites? There is a good resource from "The D-Day Story" which is on a website from the Portsmouth D-Day museum which describes Chaplains and D-Day and has some earlier British Army Communion Kits from World War One as well. There are examples of chalice & paten sets and they are described as silver but I do not see any official assay hallmarks on these items. Were British Army Silver items exempt from the traditional English silver hallmarking laws because of a kind of "religious exemption" because they were blessed by priests and really not supposed to be in the hands of non-church-officials?

Sometimes the chalices will have only the cup made of sterling silver (sometimes with heavy gilding inside) but the body of the chalice will be made of silver plate or brass. I can't see any hallmarks on any of the pictures I am finding. I wonder if there is an expert out there who might be able to explain this. Thank you for taking the time to research this question. All replies will be greatly appreciated.

Aguest
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Re: British Army Silver Question

Postby Aguest » Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:15 pm

Many of the descriptions of these chalices say "a broad arrow stamped in the base" so this "broad arrow" hallmark might have some sort of significance, and also some have a hallmark of "HF" and the chalices from World War 2 sometimes have a "KC17249" additional hallmark on the base. :::

Aguest
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Re: British Army Silver Question

Postby Aguest » Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:41 pm

I found a website where someone managed to unscrew the top cup part and there actually were hallmarks underneath there but they had been deliberately obscured, so at least the cup is solid sterling silver, and the rest of the body might be solid sterling silver as well (not sure, still researching). ::::::

"Made in 1944 in England, a seemingly ordinary full size silver plated chalice with no real salvage value, until the cup is unscrewed revealing the silver marks. The story is that these chalices were manufactured this way quite deliberately to stop the silver component funding the German war effort if any chalice was to be captured and confiscated. Whether it is true or not is another matter, but it's a good story."

:: Right, so these Chalices and Patens (if you can find an example) might have been deliberately made to obscure the fact that they were solid sterling silver, and since they were always used in a wartime setting, you wouldn't want the enemy to steal this and fund their war effort against the British Army. :::::

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Re: British Army Silver Question

Postby Sasropakis » Mon Jun 07, 2021 3:39 am

Aguest wrote:Many of the descriptions of these chalices say "a broad arrow stamped in the base" so this "broad arrow" hallmark might have some sort of significance, and also some have a hallmark of "HF" and the chalices from World War 2 sometimes have a "KC17249" additional hallmark on the base. :::


I don't know much about the subject but "broad arrow" was used to mark government property in Britain so it can be found in numerous army objects.

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Re: British Army Silver Question

Postby Aguest » Tue Jun 08, 2021 8:18 pm

After looking at a chalice hallmarked for "Harrison Fisher & Co." [HF & Co] it is extremely likely that the "HF" hallmark on the chalice and the paten is for this company. ::: The D-Day museum in Portsmouth does not make the connection between the "HF" hallmark and the company "Harrison Fisher & Co" but it seems to be the most likely choice after looking at this chalice and comparing it to my example and the example in the museums and private collections. ::::


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