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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Iwo Jima Flag


Topic:



Topic author: 03man
Subject: Iwo Jima Flag
Posted on: 10/13/2006 9:20:23 PM
Message:

I picked up this pretty ratty silk Japanese flag today. I forgot to measure it before I folded it into a sheet for protection, but it is about 26" x26".

It appears to have come from Iwo Jima, good timing, just in time for Flags of our fathers.

What do you flag guys think? Apologies for the period inscription to our Japanese members. The 5th Marine Division was there, I guess they all had a 'recon' unit. I'll have to do some searching for a John Rymer. Second inscription seems to record a transfer of the flag in 1978.

Last but not least, given the fragile condition of the flag, I feel it needs to be mounted in a frame/shadow box. Does anyone have experience with what to ask for in terms of conservation or material for mounting?

Thanks for your help.
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Replies:

Reply author: curly1
Replied on: 10/13/2006 10:10:48 PM
Message:
I just had 2 Japanese flags framed for hanging and they will sew them to the backboards you pick for the frame, it's not gonna be cheap either, figure around 2-250. If it is going to be in sunlite then you can have museum glass but it is more than double the price. Mine came out great very satisfied. Mine had a lot of creases in them from being folded for decades, the wife did a great job of ironing them out using a steam iron with a towel between the iron and flag, ironing small sections at a time. One of them was signed ,dated and Saipan written on it in ink and there was no problem from ironing it.

Reply author: MarkMcM
Replied on: 10/14/2006 07:05:28 AM
Message:
Just MHO, but unless you got hard provenance from the vet to go along with this flag, I would be very reluctant to buy off on it.

Reply author: 03man
Replied on: 10/14/2006 07:08:42 AM
Message:
What you see is what I got, all I can say for sure is the flag is old and delicate.

Reply author: MarkMcM
Replied on: 10/14/2006 07:50:17 AM
Message:



quote: Originally posted by 03man

What you see is what I got, all I can say for sure is the flag is old and delicate.
Agreed. I'm not suggesting that this flag is bad on the face of it. Only that it's too easy to add stuff like this and that there are many conclusive cases of ex post facto inscriptions being added to period material in this hobby. Often in an attempt to jaz up an otherwise unimpressive piece, or, as I suspect in this case, in order to compensate for characteristics that would contribute to making the item less sell-able (like damage). Without vet provenance, caveat emptor.

Reply author: Bushido101
Replied on: 10/14/2006 12:21:40 PM
Message:
Very neat flag, If you had capture papers or other document's to help support the inscriptions on the flag it would sure help it a lot, Was the flag a vet buy or estate or garage sale buy? Is there any chance that you might be able to get more information on it from family member's ?

Reply author: Clyde from Carolina
Replied on: 10/14/2006 12:41:59 PM
Message:
Just a couple of thoughts. Flag is neat, but the use of the word "Recon" on it disturbs me a little. I'm a little rusty on my WWII Marine Table of organization, but I believe the T/O of the F-100 division structure that the 5th Marine Dvision operated under at Iwo didn't have a Reconnaissance Battalion. Don't recall if the scout sniper platoons were still being used or if they were actually Reconnaissance companies. The fame of "Recon" was really a Vietnam era thing, so it just strikes a discordant note to see Recon on a WWII era flag.

Also, the motivation to "improve" a plain flag with an Iwo Jima provenance is very tempting. For example, the signed flag I posted about the other day WITH MARINE PROVENANCE that is available from a family member, of a Marine who is easily found in the hitorical record in The Greatest Generation Speaks by Tom Brokaw and Leatherneck Magazine,etc. generated a whopping single response! It's been viewed 82 times( I just checked....)

Don's Iwo flag post has already been viewed 94 times and generated responses by three different members. Iwo is interesting. Iwo SELLS. Remember the rock that was posted about recently?! :_)

Reply author: 03man
Replied on: 10/14/2006 4:11:40 PM
Message:
Thanks for the comments guys. The vet is long gone. The flag has been through at least 3 hands, the last a collector. One of my buddies got the other flag from the guy, both from the same 5th marine.

Clyde,
I was a little concerned about "recon" too. I guess everyone had a recon scout, platoon, or other recon something. At least they didn't spell Suribachi correctly, which is interesting. The second inscription adds absolutely nothing to the value of a fake, so I wonder why one would put it there if it were, maybe just a suprise gift to a friend.

Anyone have an idea of what the "back to back" reference is?

For $70, I bought the flag as a relic of WWII; if it is from Iwo, all the better, but totally unproveable.

Reply author: davef
Replied on: 10/14/2006 4:34:12 PM
Message:
the 5th was in the heavy fighting at Nishi ridge..and they had/were recon elements.

Reply author: Bushido101
Replied on: 10/14/2006 4:43:47 PM
Message:
That is a very interesting flag, The flags have always interested me, Don if you could ever get the documentation on that flag it would be great, It sad that with the passing of time and the loss of so many WW.2 vet's that we are slowly losing history in our own time, This is a good case that prove's if you get something from one of the WW.2 vet's asks if there is history with it or paper's, It is so important that we don't lose any history if it can be helped. Great flag there. 03man

Reply author: skinsfan
Replied on: 10/14/2006 7:05:53 PM
Message:
there is a fellow that goes by "munson1" hear on the board,i think thats his handle-i seem to remember he collects signed memorabilia,possibly exclusively,you may want to ask him-scott

Reply author: 03man
Replied on: 10/15/2006 10:21:46 PM
Message:
Well,
I got just now a little more info on the flag from a well known collector and frequent contributor to these boards.

Seems the trail is John Rymer, stepson, Don Dees 1978(well know SC collector), collector a, collector b(informer), collector c(who disposed of extensive collection lately), then me. Stepson is the WO in the second inscription. Rymer is in the 5th marines history, to be confirmed by finding a copy of same.

Now the story of 'Back to Back': seems that Rymer and his buddy, on Suribachi and out of water, with incoming sniper fire, tied themselves "Back to Back" and went down the hill to fetch a pail of water or some canteens of water. Kilt a sniper on the way. Took some souveneir flags and so inscribed them as 'Back to Back, Iwo, 1945'. Flag passed from Rymer to stepson to Dees , etc.

Great story, whether true or not,(who could make up such a story)? Now I need to find a 5th Marines history and confirm John Rymer as present on Iwo.

Any help appreciated.

Reply author: BradB
Replied on: 10/15/2006 10:45:08 PM
Message:
First an opinion on the story: Hard to swallow the tied together part: back to back sure, but not tied. Too much risk of loss of mobility if one shot.

Now for a bleacher analysis on the printing. All done by same hand. Letters match perfectly on both narratives, so done in 1978. Also, if you look at the 1945 on the sun, the letter styles all match 1945 in narrative; particularly the funky nine with the oblong circle top. I hate to say it, but I feel the same guy wrote everything. So, you have a period flag, that may very well match the story, but all the writing was done by CWO sykes in 1978 at best.

Reply author: Clyde from Carolina
Replied on: 10/16/2006 03:16:50 AM
Message:
Don,
Good luck on finding Rymer. Just remember 5th "Marines" refers to the 5th Marine Regiment, which is part of the 1st Marine Division. 5th Marine division was composed of the 26th, 27th, 28th Marines-Regiments. A subtle point frequently mistaken but could effect your research.

Reply author: davef
Replied on: 10/16/2006 08:19:51 AM
Message:
I belive the iwo reference would probably be to the 5th marine division,tho ive been wrong before...both the 5th marine division / the 5th amphibious marine were involved in Iwo...I saw in a unrelated search a note about 5th div marines decorated for action in a Banzai offensive near nishi ridge...and of course the action of the 28th regiment of the 5th marine div at suribachi is prety well known,so Rymer was probably part of the 5th Div 28th reg, going from the suribachi story..JMHO,Dave

Reply author: davef
Replied on: 10/16/2006 08:33:47 AM
Message:
here is a good link to Iwo story..(I think it may be from the marine corps PAR's)..www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/IV/ hadnt studied up on my marine history in a while ,Glad you started this ,Don....A company 28/5 ,Tony Stein had one of the marine modified stinger aircraft machine guns, I belive he received the CMH for action against snipers on Iwo (post-humously) article in one of the gun mags a couple months back on him and his "stinger".

Reply author: Clyde from Carolina
Replied on: 10/16/2006 08:42:28 AM
Message:
Dave,

I think when you said 5th amphibious marine regiment you meant to say the V Marine Amphibious Corps...the 5th Marines(the regiment) was part of the 1st Marine Dvision and NOT at Iwo Jima. Here's the breakdown in 1945:

V Marine Amphibious Corps (Iwo Jima) 3r, 4th, 5th Marine Divisions(5th Mar Div consisting of 26th,27th,28th "Marines"-the Regiments)

III Marine Amphibious Corps (Okinawa) 1st, 2nd, 6th Marine Divisions(1st Mar Div consisiting of 1st,5th,7th "Marines"-the Regiments)

Although non Marines frequently confuse this point, when a unit is referred to as Marines it is regarding the Regiment, not the Division. The 5th Division would be called just that, or the 5th Marine Division or 5th Mar Div when abbreviated. The 5th Marines is the the 5th Marine Regiment, and is the same unit that served in France in WWI with the 6th Marines at Belleau Wood along side some very gallant US Army troops. In WWWII the 5th Marines, the Regiment, was part of the 1st Marine Division
which was NOT at Iwo Jima. The 1st Mar Div landed at Okinawa instead on April 1, 1945. Hope that eliminates some of the confusion and is helpful.




Reply author: 03man
Replied on: 10/16/2006 09:07:42 AM
Message:
Now I am confused, thanks to Davef and Clyde. I did some searching on the 5th div Marines and found their website. Called the Spearhead and they claim to have been at Iwo, and I won't argue their point.

Does anyone have a unit history of the 5th marine division? I would like to know if Rymer is there before I buy the wrong book!

Brad,
great analysis. You have a very good eye, thanks for taking the time to look.

I beleive WO Sykes may have inscribed the flag in 1978 also, as the writing is truly the same, easy to see in person- what you can't see in the picture is that the upper inscription is written,probably in ballpoint ink, over an older inscription that may have been in pencil or at any rate was quite faded at the time. It appears that the original words may have been overwritten in 1978 at the time of the lower inscription.

The 9's do look alike, so it is entirely possible the flag was created or annotated by WO Sykes.

Thanks to all for the interest.

There is a chance that I can see Mr. Dees first of November and get more info or more confused.


Reply author: davef
Replied on: 10/16/2006 09:27:44 AM
Message:
Your correct ,Clyde ,I mis typed it should be V marine amphib corp...The way they wrote 5th marines on the flag,made me belive it was a non marine that wrote it...Thats why I said I belived it refered to the 5th div,not the regiment(along with the fact that the 5th reg 1st marine div wasnt at Iwo). someone writting it later would have wrote it like its on the flag..I feel that way about the word "recon" also..its more of a "post-Nam" era word.Cant make nothing come out right this AM.

Reply author: Clyde from Carolina
Replied on: 10/16/2006 10:22:20 AM
Message:
03man, I sent you an email as I know this can be confusing to someone who was never in the Marines or didn't grow up around them like me(Marine Brat, Dad was a career Marine.)

Yes, the 5th Marine Division, nicknamed the Spearhead, WAS at Iwo Jima. The 5th MARINES refers to the 5th regiment that was a component of the 1st Marine Division, nicknamed The Old Breed in WWII, which was not at Iwo Jima. I know it's confusing...

Just remember you don't say 5th Marines when you are referring to the 5th Marine Division, you say 5th Marines when referring to the 5th Marine Regiment. The infantry Regiments in the 5th Marine Division were the 26, 27th, and 28th Marines. The 28th Marines were engaged in the fight for Mt. Suribachi. There are some good histories of the 5th Marine Division available, IIRC, from the USMC historical department. Should be available online through ebay, amazon, etc.

Hope I haven't confused anybody further!!

Reply author: 03man
Replied on: 10/16/2006 1:57:24 PM
Message:
More info on John Rymer from my other buddy David who has the 'other' flag from this deal.

Flag 2 has:
"Sgt John Rymer HH Recon 5th Mar Div"

So I guess this is the one outfit that it makes sense for the guy to say he is with the 5th Marines( meaning division HQ)??

Clyde?

Reply author: 03man
Replied on: 11/12/2006 11:51:53 AM
Message:
I was able to find and look at a unit history of the 5th Marine Division this past friday,
Cpl John G Rymer, Jr, is listed in the HQ batallion. So it appears at least that he did exist and certainly could have been at Iwo.

 
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