I have been dealing in militaria for a number of years as part of my antiques business and in recent years have found myself dealing more and more with Great War artefacts and relics, World War One and its history being a particular passion. I travel to the Somme or Ypres at least once a month and can usually be found rummaging in a muddy field or taking photos trying to match present day with original photos and trench maps. One point here, I do not dig or metal detect. With so many missing, Flanders and the Somme are mass graves, both Commonwealth and German, and digging to me is like grave robbing. A certain auction site often has dug up dog-tags, dug up boots etc that would in most cases have been on someones person. That to me is not what it is about. I use my eyes and experience (and a strong magnet). I have taken friends across researched fields and they have been amazed at the things lying on the surface if you know where to look.
Note.... Millions of shells and grenades never went off and are ploughed up or lying in woods and ditches. Despite the almost 100 year age they are still dangerous and people get killed every year. I have seen parents with their kids carrying unexploded 18 pounder shells as if they were toys. Unless you know what you are doing DO NOT TOUCH.
Live ordnance on the Somme.
I also spend an extraordinary amount of time in Commonwealth cemeteries and have taken photographs of particular headstones for people in Canada, South Africa and Australia when I have been passing. Why? It's history and if I can help fill a hole in someones family history I'm happy to help.
I also have a network of dealers in Europe and attend markets and fairs when I can. I try and keep the inventory as varied as possible and it's constantly changing. This site has a shop catalogue which is easy to use (I hope) and I'm building the reference section to try and make a one stop resource for everything to do with the Great War. I'm a Trench Rat not a techie so it's not perfect but getting there. We are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WesternFrontMilitaria where we are building up a fanbase and it is updated daily with what is new to this site. Visit, LIKE the page and come join us.
I have a good client base, a lot of young people in their teens especially which is nice to see. Hopefully the memory of the four years of pointless slaughter and the generation who gave their lives will be kept alive.