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Thread: Seeking help and advice in recovering my father's military ceremonial sword

  1. #1

    Seeking help and advice in recovering my father's military ceremonial sword

    I am new to the Sword Forum, and admittedly not a sword collector, but I am seeking help and advice on how I might be able to recover the ceremonial officer's sword presented to my father when he graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1942. He was actually in the class of 1943, which was graduated in 3 years due to the war. He went on to serve in every theater of combat for the duration of WWII, ending up at Okinawa as gunnery and navigation officer aboard the USCG cutter Taney, now a national historic landmark in Baltimore harbor. After the war he went on to flight school and into air-sea rescue, and for the remainder of his 20 year career (aside from his last duty station, as executive officer on an icebreaker sent to Antarctica) flew every type of aircraft the Coast Guard had.

    In the course of a move from one duty station to another (I believe it was from Ketchikan, Alaska to Miami, Florida in 1952, although I was only a year old at the time and too young to remember), his ceremonial sword was stolen from their household items being moved by a commercial mover. He had another one made to replace it, but I would like to recover the original if possible.

    Here is the catch. My father legally changed his name in 1945 from Charles Zelinski to Charles Greene (I'm a Junior), so his original sword is inscribed "Charles Zelinski", while the replacement in my possession is inscribed "Charles A. Greene". The original is a standard issue Model 1852 Naval officer's sword (engraved with "U.S.C.G"), probably manufactured by the Lilley-Ames Co., Columbus, Ohio (I believe the military services discontinued the issue of swords manufactured in Germany several years before), whereas the replacement in my possession was manufactured by Hilborn Hamburger, Inc., Solingen, Germany.

    Any help in locating this sword would be much appreciated, and if you know of any other forums I could go to for help I would also appreciate that. I know these swords are not very valuable on the market today, and with the passing of time there is no reason why anyone alive today would have had any responsibility in its theft or even know where it came from, so I'm not trying to point fingers at anyone. I would just like to recover it or purchase it if possible. Thanks.

    Charles (Chuck) Greene
    Forest, VA

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Kingston area, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    2,856
    Chances of finding it are slim after 63 years. The sword was replaced and most likely insurance covered the cost. There is most likely a time period that has long lapsed to recover stolen property but I don't know your laws.
    Best way is to purchase the sword if you can find it. If you're lucky someone at some point will google his name on the sword and find this post.
    Luckily you have his replacement sword.

  3. #3
    I'm not trying to recover it as stolen property, just trying to locate it and see if I can purchase it. I looked at my Dad's record today from his graduation in 1942. It listed all of the items he was responsible for purchasing, including the sword. He was billed $32.50 for the sword and case. About the only thing they weren't required to pay for was their diploma!

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