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A recent donation to our collection, this decorative brass box was found sometime in the early 1960s by Mr John Randall Spicer, deep-digging his vegetable plot on the Littlemoor estate in Weymouth. Deducing that it was obviously for wearing on a belt and smelt of gunpowder, a little research by the finder’s son, Mr Eddie Spicer, has identified it as a “palaska”, a brass cartridge box which forms part of traditional Ottoman Turkish dress.
How did it come to Dorset? Here the plot thickens a little; in the years 1915-1919, Littlemoor was one of a series of camps in the area occupied by ANZAC troops, mainly Australian. A number of these men had served in the Gallipoli campaign and were convalescing from wounds or disease before being deployed to the Western Front.
Here one jumps to the conclusion that this little brass box was an ANZAC’s souvenir of Gallipoli which came, for some reason, to be abandoned in the debris of Littlemoor Camp.
We are very grateful to Mr Spicer for his donation, which we aim to include in our new Dorset at War exhibition opening in July.: 20th Jun 2017