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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I sort of forgot I was a member here, but my recent k31 has me very interested to learn what I can and possibly track down the soldier who owned it. So I'm Mostly just hoping to maybe get some help deciphering the troops tag.


More about the rifle would be that it's a 1943 make according to the serial number, and the stock is marked 42' under the buttplate. The rifle was at the canton Arsenal at some point according to the BE on the tang and the circle three on the stock. And it also has a waffenfabrik inspection mark stamped on the barrel. Here is a album with some photos http://m.imgur.com/a/CiDkA . Definitely Look forward to learning some more about it

thanks,
 

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Name: Roland Gilgen (a name commonly found in the Bernese area)

Date of birth: 09 September 1973

(Abbreviated) Social security number: 396.37.371 (decoded it gives the last name, name and date of birth)

Place of residence: Kleinfeld (I guess in the Olten/Zofingen area as there are quite a few Kleinfeld in Switzerland)

Troop type: Minenwerfer Kanonier (Artillery mortar operator)

Unit: 4th company of the 25th batallion of whatever

The back should bear the rifle number.

Should be hard to track him or his relatives down. No more Gilgen living in any Kleinfeld but many Roland Gilgens in Switzerland. He may still be alive tho.




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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I really appreciate the info on the troop tag, it's really neat to have that little bit of history. And Of course the back is the rifles serial number, can't believe I missed that.

Unfortunate that it would be difficult to find him though, not really sure where to start as far as that goes. I did try to message the only Roland gilgen I could find on Facebook who happens to be from Switzerland and says he lives in Bern - it's kind of a long shot but I guess we will see.

Thank you for the help,
 

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Its always somewhat hard to track the owner down. In the time I am active here I have only managed to pinpoint one owner, and also only because I happened to live in the same canton and knew the president of that towns shooting club who could give me the info. The owner was deceased though and the son didnt know any more info either. The more time passes the hardwr it gets. Especially when you habe no clear anchor points. As zipcodes werent around back then, and like the case here there are multiple towns by the same name in the same area the chances of success drop dramatically. Also in almost 80 years a lot can happen. Streets and entire towns get renamed, people move, the name heritage dies off and so on. Maybe that roland gilgen only had a daughter who married and changed her last name.

The only reliable way besides pure luck would be to directly ask the people in charge of the town archives but usually they dont just give out info to anyone.

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have read of Afew instances, but yeah it does seem to be relatively rare to be able to contact the original owners - was hoping maybe I would be one of the lucky ones, though it seems I got a very common name and place of residence. And Even with his social security number there's not a way to pinpoint his whereabouts?

I know switzerland has many languages, if I were to contact any archives would they understand English or would I have translate it to German maybe?
 

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The old social security number only gives an indication of his name, date of birth and sex. Some time around 2010 the system was changed so the new numbers are random and cant be decoded into anything.
So, even with the old number you are no more wise that before.

Since Switzerland has four official languages, German isnt always the way to go. In (eastern) Berne yes. If the archives speak English depends on the guy maintaining the archive. Typically you'd have to contact the general point of contact of the municipality. I reckon at least someone speaks English there. Be advised though that any email in English that isnt expected likely will be treated as spam.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That's interesting, I suppose it's unfortunate for me but knowing his date of birth is still maybe helpful if I try tracking him down further.

I guess it's worth a shot although I'm sure it'll get me nowhere. I'm not all too obsessed with finding this man, though it would be really neat to get some more history of it through him. Like you said I'm sure the archives won't just give out info if they even have any. I do appreciate all of the help though, it's still awesome to have the tag and some background. Plus I have learned a lot more about Switzerland lol
 
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