Special Military Training?

Enjoy today two photos that show us that sometimes military training and camp isn’t all marching and push ups. I don’t know who the subjects are, but they were in the same pile as these pictures of Earl “E. B.” Scott and his buddy. Location and date are unknown but I’m guessing in the 1940s to 50s.

Boxing

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Two pugilists

Two boys show off their boxing stances in this vintage snapshot from the 1920s or 30s. One boy wears dungarees/overalls and an untied bowtie, while the other wears his coat and slacks. These seem to be unusual togs for a boxing match.

Boxing can be traced as a sport back to ancient times, with Greek, Roman, and even Minoan & Assyrian records showing it was a popular spectator sport. The Romans of course took it to an extreme with the boxing glove having metal studs embedded into it, fights going to the death, and all sorts of brutality. One bit of nomenclature we brought forward from Roman boxing, though, is the term “boxing ring.” Early matches were fought in a circle drawn on the ground. During the gladiator period, boxing was outlawed as being too vicious (that’s saying something!) and it wasn’t really resurrected until the 17th century.

Prior to the 1900s, boxing was part of an unsavory world of gambling and illegal fighting. Many of us have heard of Marquess of Queensbury Rules, which were established in 1867 London as a way to bring bare knuckle boxing under a little more control. It was still considered a brutal pastime and was relegated to gambling dens, eventually becoming a “scandalous” sport of violence, betting and rowdy behavior among men. Fights among the spectators were known to break out, and riots could occur. Boxing was illegal in certain parts of Britain and America. It resembled boxing as we know it today, but not in every sense. For one, not all matches were fought to a win/decision. If one fighter wasn’t knocked out, the fight could be decided by spectators, journalists, and others. It sounds like statistics for early 1900s boxing are nothing like what we imagine they should be! Boxing could also be called prizefighting at that time, because the participants were fighting for a monetary prize. We still refer to a boxing match today as a prize fight.

1900 – 1920 saw a refining of boxing with many fighters coming from the poorer cities and areas, including many Jewish and black fighters. It is interesting to consider that fighters who were considered heavyweight fighters during that era would probably fall into the lightweight and welterweight categories today. Our modern heavyweight class has heights of 6′ 4″ and weights well over 250 pounds.

But the boys pictured above were probably thinking more of fighters like Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis and Jake Lamotta (the Raging Bull). These men helped define boxing as we know it today, although still on the small side weight-wise. Without these fighters, we would probably not have seen Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson or Sugar Ray Leonard, all the way to George Foreman, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson. The big names of boxing today owe it all to those skinny, bare knuckle brawlers who helped resurrect boxing from the back alley and bring it into the living room. While boxing is still a prize driven sport, it is well known globally for its big purses, big fighters and big crowds – both in the arena and on pay per view.

I hope you will take some time to read further into the history of boxing. I myself enjoy a good boxing match, and encourage folks to learn about the “sweet science” that is more about technical and strategic moves than it is about blood and injury.

Additional Reading

Early 1900s boxing – via proboxing-fans.com

Boxing – via wikipedia

Why is boxing called the sweet science – via isport.com

Jake Lamotta, the Raging Bull – via biography.com

A list of famous boxers – via biography.com

Veterans

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Four Great War soldiers

Today is Veterans Day, November 11. You may have heard that Veterans Day originated with the Great War, the war to end all wars, World War I. Originally called Armistice Day, it was a moment of silence observed at 11:00 a.m. on November 11th, because that was the time designated in the Armistice Agreement for an end to hostilities on the Western Front. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918. In the days before internet communications, explicit and defined times and dates were important so that everyone got the message loud and clear. The armistice was a success and World War I came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919, and ultimately the fall of Berlin.

The Great War sadly was not the war to end all wars.

One hopes that these four soldiers returned home from battle, healthy and able to pick up their lives, but we can never know. The photo carries no identification on the reverse. World War I also gave rise to the term “shell shock” which today we would call post traumatic stress disorder. 100 years ago, there was no treatment for this syndrome. Men were expected to deal with it and get on with their lives. I can only imagine how terrible it must have been.

Thank your local veteran today, for their sacrifices and service to your country. It is not an easy job to perform, and in America, can be woefully under paid, under supported and unsung. While we find it easy to wear yellow ribbons, the colors of our flag, or put up signs saying “we support our troops,” our Veterans Administration is underfunded and our Veterans hospitals are understaffed. Not only do our active duty military suffer daily, but their families make deep sacrifices – deployments separating parents, family deployments to foreign countries and frequent moves, children changing schools annually – and sometimes, they make the greatest sacrifice of all in the death of their military family member. Veterans are frequently affected with long term consequences of their deployment and the action they have seen, both physically through illness/injury, but mentally through PTSD and the deep scars left by the missions they conducted. It cannot be an easy life to live, and we must appreciate every man and woman who choose to live it.

Read more about Veterans Day and the history of this holiday

History of Veterans Day – via Office of Public Affairs, US Dept of Veterans Affairs

Why do we wear a poppy? – via The Telegraph UK

In Flanders Fields – poem written about WWI

The Remembrance Poppy – via Wikipedia

Sailors

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Item #1 – E. B. Scott

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Item #2 – A sailor from Tennessee

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Item #3 – E. B. Scott & another sailor

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Item #4 – a deck shot

I found these photos in what I call “the great Tennessee vacation photo haul.” A couple months back I teased you about these, a large collection of photos I gathered at “the world’s longest yard sale” in Tennessee. I have a massive collection of photos and holiday cards to share with you, and these four seemed like a good place to start!

The photos have inscriptions, as follows:

Item #1 – Front labeled E. B. Scott

Item #2 – no inscription

Item #3 – The background is the Bay. The guy with me is Earl Scott from Johnson City, Tenn.

Item #4 – This was taken on the Starboard side of the Quarter Deck looking aft

Anyone who knows vintage military uniforms is welcome to comment on what you think may be the era of these photos/uniforms. As it is, I can’t really make a guess because the photos themselves follow a style that was popular for 20+ years.

Remember me, Liile

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This photo is small, only about 2×3, and thanks to having scanned it we can enlarge the digital version for study. The young woman pictured was probably named Lii’le or Liile, something like that. Liile was an Estonian Girl Scout – or as they are known outside of the US, a Girl Guide. She wears a uniform similar to the early American uniforms, with a neckerchief tied under the collar. You can just see the insignia patch over her shoulder.

On the reverse of the photo is written “M√•lestuseks Liile!” which translates as “Memories” or “Remember me” or the like.

The photo was dated in the European fashion “28 11 37” which to our American minds would be November 28, 1937. Further, it was imprinted “Kunst-Foto Osol, Tallinn, Mundi” meaning Kunst-Foto (loosely translated as artistic photo) in Osol, Tallinn & Mundi. Tallinn is the capitol of Estonia and Mundi is a small village also in Estonia. I can only assume that Osol is also a town or village in the country.

A Girl Scout and her bike

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These three images of an unidentified girl in the 1940s or 1950s feature her Girl Scout uniform and her bicycle. I have no information about where the photographs were taken, but I am assuming they are American.

The uniform looks to be a Cadette uniform, which was the third level of Girl Scouting at this time. First level was Brownie, then Junior, then Cadette or Intermediate, then Senior. Each level had classes, such as first and second class, and these were earned through projects and actions to make the world a better place. In later years, these were changed to various named awards. Second Class was split into two awards in the 1960s and these were Sign of the Arrow and Sign of the Star. First Class was split in the 1980s into Silver Award and Gold Award.

Even though my daughter’s event has passed, I am going to continue this series because I have so many wonderful images! I hope you will check back for more and that you are enjoying them. I know I am!

Sis

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This undated photo shows a young Girl Scout saluting with a backward three-finger salute. She has a tie, belt, hat and a shawl or coat over one arm. You can just see over her left pocket a round Girl Scout symbol, and in the center of her tie her pin. This uniform looks similar to those worn in the 1919-1927 era, although not exactly like others I have seen from that time. I’m venturing a guess at the 30s. The back of the photo says “Sis just before she left for camp.”

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