Because you never know when 20 gold sovereigns might........

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by TonyBlair, Jul 26, 2006.

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  1. Because you never know when 20 gold sovereigns might come in handy..........

    Behind Enemy Lines

    A number of gold sovereigns were issued to British Military Personnel taking part in Operation Granby as part of the Coalition Forces during the First Gulf War.
    Sovereigns provided by the Ministry of Defence and carried by serviceman who, it was thought, might find themselves isolated and in need of bargaining power if confronted by unfriendly forces.
    Several sovereigns were used during the war, mainly by RAF crews shot down over enemy territory, SAS soldiers also carried sovereigns, as part of their kit, for use whilst on patrol. But all the un captured coins were returned to the M.O.D at the conclusion of the conflict, having served their purpose.
    16,289 pieces were returned during the war, by personal on completion of their missions behind enemy territory.
    Military personal carried twenty sovereigns each as part of their survival kit.

    The revived twenty-shilling gold sovereign became universally respected during the 19th centaury, thought out and beyond the British Empire. Accepted as readily in the Arab Souk as in the City of London, it was hailed as `the chief coin of the world`.

    During WW2 gold sovereigns were included in the survival kit of SOE agents. Mention of the coin in James Bond novels of Ian Flemming suggest that the sovereign also has its place in the world of espionage. In the Gulf War, British service personnel at risk of being stranded behind enemy lines were issued with twenty sovereigns a man to buy food, shelter and safe conduct.

    The Sovereign is struck in 22 carat gold and weighs 7.98 grams. It measures 22.05 mm in diameter.

    Andy McNab Bravo Two Zero P198/199

    Around my waist, however,, on a one inch webbing belt, was today’s star prize, about £1,700 in sterling, in the form of twenty gold sovereigns we had each been given as escape money. I had fixed my coins to the belt with masking tape and this created a drama. They jumped back, shouting what I assumed was the Iraqi for let him go, he’s going to explode!
    A captain arrived he couldn’t have been more than 5`2” tall but must have weighed over 13 stone. He looked like a boil egg. He was aggressive, speaking good English quickly and brusquely. What’s is the equipment you have there? He asked pointing at the masking tape.
    Gold I said.
    The word must be international as jeans or Pepsi.
    Why do you have gold?
    I pulled out the first gold sovereign and the ruperts were summoned, they then began to divide the sovereigns between themselves. They tried to look so official and solemn, as they did but it was blatantly obvious what they were up to.

    John Peters & John Nicols Tornado Down P107
    Then the one who had punched me in the face found my money, £1000 in gold sovereigns. He looked at it. The gold glittered back at him.

    Peter `Yorkie` Crossland Victor Two P61

    Blood money was standard SAS issue and consisted of gold sovereigns and what was called a blood chit- a document in English, Arabic and Farsi which promised the sum of £5000 to anyone aiding a British soldier. Each blood chit carried a unique serial that could be checked against a person’s name. I don’t recall anyone ever using his blood chit, but the gold was different. On some occasions the sovereigns were regulated and each soldier had to sign for them: but other times they were just given a fistful of gold and told to get on with it. In fairness, some of the guys did genuinely use the money to buy vehicles to aid escape, and in battle equipment does get lost. But a lot of the gold did not turn up again at the end of the war, since the accountability was poor many of the guys still have their sovereigns. Good luck to them, I say.………….The fifteen gold sovereigns with which I was issued, I stuck to black masking tape. Next I cut the lining of my trousers and threaded the tape into my waistband.

    Eye of the Storm, by Peter Radcliffe DCM.

    P244 & p245

    The pay sergeant major also issued each man with twenty gold sovereigns. The sovereigns were intended to be used to bribe Iraqi citizens or military personel if the need should arise. Since gold sovereigns are an internationally accepted currency, and since each one is worth, not its nominal £1 face value, but around £80, they are extremely useful and a compact way of carrying a large sum of money.

    The sovereigns had to be handed back after the war unless you could prove to have had a legitimate use for them. No one did use them. We tended to steal or hijack what we needed, rather than barter for it.

    I might add that, contrary to what has been said in several accounts of the SAS in the Gulf War, most of the sovereigns were accounted for after the war.

    Eye of the Storm by Peter Radcliffe DCM.

    P380 & p 381

    Following the attack on Victor Two.............

    As one of the last to vehicles to leave fishtailed away, in a skidding start, its wing struck me a violant blow on my thigh and belt kit and sent me flying through the air. As I went in one direction my rifle, which had been knocked from my hand, went in the another.
    Half winded, I staggered to my feet, and found the last of the four Land Rovers we`d left here revving up next to me. Jump on or we`re f##king going without you a voice yelled. It wasn`t much of an option, for the bullets were ricocheting off the vehicles sides and bonnet. Someone grabbed my arm, and I scrambled aboard as the wagon lit out, with enemy bullets still pining off the sideworks. My M16 with the twenty gold sovereigns still hidden in the butt was left behind. I often wonder whether whoever found the weapon also discovered the secret hoard of gold. It would go a long way nowadays, given the present state of the Iraqi economy.

    I wonder if these sovereigns, are the ones he referes to early in his book, when he states...........I might add that, contrary to what has been said in several accounts of the SAS in the Gulf War, most of the sovereigns were accounted for after the war.

    Storm Command by General Sir Peter De La Billiere P204

    Tornados skimming across the border at 800KPH and heading north over the sands at ultra low level, with their clumsy coffin-shaped JP233 slung beneath their bellies. Every crewman carried £800 in gold, to facilitate escape in case of trouble, and also a chit written in Arabic which promised that Her Majesty’s Government would pay the sum of £5000 to anyone who returned an airman intact to the allies.

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  2. Like in Britain, We wear Sovereign Rings(Mostly worn by Chavs!)

    In America they wear these



    I guess we would have to beat up every Chav for thier Rings and we could use them incase they come useful although they are only 9ct Gold from Elizabeth Duke :lol:
  3. Quality!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. I think the sovereign ring has the edge in hand to hand combat.Seen some pretty nasty bruises caused it, though guess if you have a military acedemy ring shouldnt really be brawling on a saturday night :D .
  5. Having lived in Mid East and Far East I can assure folks that the Value of Gold is something the locals understand.
    I still keep a 1 ounce gold bar for that rainny day.

  6. :D Cheers Jon thats really interesting!!!!!!!!!!! Do they prefer coins or ingots? Are sovereigns still your best bet?
  7. 22 or 24 carat gold, in any shape or form. Coins ingots but mainly Jewelery.
    They can and do on the spot checks on 'carat' value and know their stuff. All major shops are totally secure.
    In Thailand known as Yowarat shops after the Chinese district of Bangkok, where the half dozen or so Chinese Gold bullion dealers set the daily price on behalf of Thai government. Yesterday price was 11,600 baht for selling and repurchase at 11,500 baht.
    In Mid East was always assured that interferance with quality of gold was treated as counterfitting and could prove fatal for so many put the family savings in the wifes jewelery.
  8. Don't forget that as well as British gold sovs, our middle-eastern brethren also had (perhaps still do) a soft spot for Maria Theresa Thalers (dollars). Big, shiny, silver pieces with a bust of the empress herself on the obverse. I have one myself and it is a very attractive coin. I'll try to find a phot.
  9. Sorry, two obverses. That would be worth something.
    Try the reverse

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  10. Cheers Guys, I`ve heard of these silver dollars. But I must admit the old gold sov is my favourite!!!!!

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  11. Hi All,

    If that's the Big Guys ruling on the subject, then considering the above coin with its "George and the Dragon" imprint, it looks like the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is in for a big bonus this year :D

    Best Regards,

  12. Aircrew currently carry Krugerands. Had to sign for the detachments gold - some £40,000 worth!

  13. That is really interesting!!!!!!!! Which country do you serve for?

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  14. i may be wrong but i think krugerrands as they observe the gold standard. Also don't instintantly link them back to a UK forces.

    And my favourite use of gold sovereigns is in from russia with love. Where Bond slots the Spectre agent with them