Spoils of war

My maternal grandfather, Rex R. Forsyth, volunteered to serve in the United States Army Ambulance Corp in 1917. His unit was attached to the French Army. His unit operated Ford Model T ambulances. His time overseas included being part of the army of occupation after the was ended. His unit was billeted in Kaiser Wilhelm’s castle in the Black Forest. Rex brought back many photographs, personal items and quite a few things taken from Bosch (German) POW’s.

Pickelhaube, Bosch “Spiked Helmet”

Another Pickelhaube

Bosch officer’s epaulettes

Belt buckle says “God With Us” (Gott Mit Uns)














Granddaddy Rex did share stories of his time overseas with me as I was growing up. He never spoke of the horrors of war that I know he witnessed, but he did share day to day activities. He told me that when Bosch (German) POW’s were brought to holding areas they were stripped of helmets, medals, belts and even uniform epaulettes. He did share that one time a Bosch soldier tossed a grenade while he was standing in line. Fortunately it was a dud, and a Poilu (French soldier) “dispatched him right away”.

The Obverse side of a Bosch Iron Cross medal. The “W” stands for Wilhelm.

The Reverse side of the Iron Cross medal








We have many examples of these spoils of war. Note that the belt buckle states “Gott Mit Uns” which translates “God With Us”. Seems like it is common in warfare that both sides claim the high ground and Divine support. The term “Bosch” is one that was used to refer to German soldiers and personnel during WWI, aka The Great War. While some consider the term to be derogatory, it is how my grandfather always referred to the Germans. It seems strange to realize that WWI ended over 100 years ago.


One thought on “Spoils of war

  1. Thank you for sharing this family story, very interesting! The items are beautiful regardless of the history in my view. God bless your family! ❤️


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