'official coin' provenance

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Bovril, May 26, 2012.

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  1. I found this coin whilst clearing my late grandfathers flat last week, kept in his blazer pocket with his GSM


    I'm wondering if it's an EBay special, or something a little more unique, in so much as that if it is/was only available to members of the Airborne Forces / Para Reg Association, to join which you have to prove your Airborne credentials.

    Any airborne soldiers out there got one/had one?

    Trying to decide if it is something to keep in the desk draw or put in a frame with his medal and other bits and pieces that we found among his belongings.
  2. Probablay from the AirborneShop.

    It's a challenge coin. If he were shown one by one of his muckers he would have to present his, or get the beers in. Hence why it would be in his blazer pocket.

    I doubt any 'credentials' would be needed to purchase one, but you'd proabably get filled in if you pulled one out and weren't worthy... the same for many other challenge coins.

    IIRC they originated in Vietnam, because so many blokes were walting about pretending to be US SF. There was an ArRSe one struck too.
  3. Thanks CF, I've seen challenge coins before but can't find this one anywhere online, not even ebay. Not that it matters anyway, i'll be keeping hold of it for its sentimental value and will probably stuck it in a frame with the medal and one of each of his various cap badges.

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  4. It's got to be pretty new, one it looks new, two it has 16AA bde flash on it (formed 1999).

    Try the association mentioned on the coin. They may know something about it, it would be nice to know the back story. Perhaps you could right the story on the back of the frame. I know a bloke at the moment trying to find out why a family member was awarded the GC, the story seems lost in the mists of time now.
  5. Mystery solved, found a letter thanking him purchasing the coin from the para reg association. As well as his red book and badges.

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  6. Actually I´ve read a story by IIRC John Steinbeck during WW2 (when he was a war reporter attached to the US military first in North Africa and later Europe) about dollar bills used by GIs, which would be signed by one´s comrades and not to be spent (originally the idea was to have a special banknote in the pocket, which would never get spent except in absolute emergencies, something like an iron reserve) and which had to be presented upon a challenge, else the soldier would have to buy the drinks.
    It could be that this custom then swapped over to to the British forces.
  7. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    I have recounted the story often enough that it must be on Arrse somewhere. About 1981 15/19H in Paderborn used NAAFI growlers as challenge coins. It started before a PRE followed by a big ex (probably FTX) so after about a month, the growlers were really growling.
  8. BuggerAll

    BuggerAll LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    I mount medals and have put together a few medal boxes for people. One thing I always advise is to put a sheet on the back with as much info as possible including a bit of a family tree.. You know all about your granddad but as it gets passed down the generations it can get lost. In a hundred years time the person who inherits it may have no idea who he was.
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