Nautical Miscellaneous
Stock No. 5099
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WW1 RN Submariners Ditty Box with Original Contents - Click for the bigger picture

WW1 RN Submariners Ditty Box with Original Contents

Over the years we have purchased a number of ditty boxes but almost always they are empty and more often than not their history has been lost over the years. Here we have the exception that exudes period charm and the full history of the WW1 owner at every turn! It was issued to Able Seaman H.E.Russen who served in WW1 in Submarine service, which in itself makes it a very scarce item indeed. The box is in pitch pine of standard form with a brass plaque to the front stating H.E. Russen as original owner. He was obviously taking no chances as he has written and carved his name/ initials all over the box! It still has the lock fitted but as we often find the lugs have been cut..perhaps when he or others lost the key. The pen compartment and letter bars are in pace and inside is in good issued condition. The contents we found inside are something else! These include a family photographs, his ID disc confirming he enlisted in the R.N.V.R in Bristol and his service number was Z/6664. We also have his service record which shows he served on Victory, Dolphin, and HMS Crescent. His Conduct Sheet indicates he was transferred to submarine K 10. Submariners were 'Volunteers Only' and the class being designated 'K' it was known by her crews as 'K for for Kalamity' or 'K for Killer' and Russen seems lucky to have survived the war! Interestingly his service certificate shows he had a final share of a naval prize fund paid in 1922 & 23. To conclude we also have his birth certificate, named WW1 War and Victory medals, postcards and even an ink stamp engraved H.E.Russen. To conclude the grouping we also have a framed photograph of an Able Seaman with cap band reading H.M.Submarine and on the back an inscription reading:’Ruby’s Dad-Henry Russen'. The is best named ditty box collection we have ever had or are ever likely to have and clearly worthy of further research. A full set of photographs of the box and contents can be supplied on request. The box was purchased in Bristol and we assume consigned by descendants of Able Seaman Russen but what a shame such an archive was not kept and treasured by the family. Box measures 12”x 8”x 6”(30 cm x 20 cm x 15 cm)