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WW1 "Ypres" Trench Art Signet Ring


WW1 "Ypres" Trench Art Signet Ring



DATE: WW1, c.1915

WW1 trench art signet ring commemorating the one of the battles fought at Ypres. The first took place in October and November 1914, and, while the strategy on both sides remains murky, the generally accepted narrative suggests a push by the British to maintain control of their supply lines via critical ports such as Calais and Boulogne-sur-mer. After successive defeats at Aisne and Marne, German forces were attempting to outflank the Allied line from the North. The fighting was brutal and prolonged, highlighting problems with command and control, with both sides missing key opportunities to obtain a decisive victory. The first battle is also significant as it saw the ultimate destruction of the experienced British regular army, "The Old Contemptibles", who would be replaced by fresh recruits in the form of a mass conscripted army. While it went down as an Allied victory in the end, losses on both sides were particularly heavy, and it saw the last mobile operations until 1918 as entrenchments were completed along the Western Front all the way up to the sea.

The second battle of Ypres took place between the 22nd of April and the 25th of May for control of the tactically important high ground to the East and South of the town. It was the first time Germany used poison gas on the Western Front.

During the winter of 1914, an activity known as "trench craftsmanship" appeared in the townships and second line camps throughout France and Belgium. Using the materials and components they had to hand - shell casings, buttons, and other battlefield objects - small groups of jewellers and smiths worked to create souvenirs to sell to the soldiers returning from the front lines. Demand for such objects spiked after a feature in French newspaper Le Payes De France whereby selected "Trench Artists" were awarded prizes for their work: 

"The craft comprises any decorative item made by soldiers, sailors, airforce personnel, prisoners of war, civilians, Chinese Labour Corps., auxiliary services, where the manufacture is directly linked to the Great War or its consequences, offering an insight to the maker's wartime feelings and emotions and their surroundings utilising materials they had available to them."

By 1915 small items were being made by soldiers on the front lines, presumably both to be sold/bartered for goods on the thriving black market, and also as a way of passing the long hours in the trenches. Larger and more intricate items were produced in the towns and camps behind the second lines.

This ring is crafted in aluminium (artillery shell nose cone) with a copper/brass face engraved with the word Ypres.


Head: 12.9 x 10.9mm

Width of band: 4.1mm




No marks present


Very good, with strong antique patina

WW1 WW1 Ypres Trench Art Signet Ring WW1 Ypres Trench Art Signet Ring WW1