Fob watch : Private F R Blandford, 53 Battalion, AIF

Unit 53rd Australian Infantry Battalion
Accession Number REL33729
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Enamel, Gilded metal, Steel
Maker Ross
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Newcastle
Date made pre WWI
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Gold plated fob watch engraved on the front in ornate lettering with the initials 'FRB'. The watch has a clasp at the top shaped like a small orb which is also used to wind the watch. There is a suspender attached to the clasp to allow it to be worn on a fob chain. A push button on the clasp opens the front, revealing the watch face which is white enamel with black hands. The numbers are black roman numerals with minute denotations around the circumference of the face and black diamonds marking the quarter hour points. There is an inset miniature watch face which counts the seconds. Engraved on the inside of the front panel is a maker's mark of '1896023' and there is a manufacturer's sticker inside the back of the watch case which reads ' ROSS GUARANTEE -503 HUNTER ST. NEWCASTLE-'. There is also a hand engraved marking which reads BB 10/24 12/255 P9 6/26 (illegible mark). Inside the second rear opening door which protects the inner workings, is engraved ' THIS CASE GUARANTEED TEN CARAT GOLD FILLED AND TO WEAR TEN YEARS 1896023'. This number is also engraved on the outer rim of the watch surrounding the workings. The workings themselves are engraved with two separate markings, the first being 'SWISS MADE 7 JEWELS' and the second 'F (broad arrow) S'. Below this is an engraved representation of the second denotations and some intricate curlicues.

History / Summary

This fob watch belonged to Private Frederick Rodford Blandford of Hamilton, New South Wales. Blandford, a militia member with 25 Australian Army Medical Corps, enlisted in the AIF on 25 June 1916 and embarked from Sydney aboard HMAT Ascanius on 26 October that year. He was part of 7 Reinforcements, 53 Battalion. He arrived in France on 25 April 1917 and trained in a number of places, including a few days at the 'Bull Ring' at Etaples. Blandford first action was on 9 May 1917 at Bapaume. Blandford went to and from the front line throughout May 1917 and in June he took leave in Amiens. Some months after, possibly in August, he joined a Lewis Gun team. Soon after 53 Battalion moved up to the support position of Nonne Bosschen and felt the full force of the German bombardment on the evening of 25 September. The next day, 26 September 1917, Blandford was killed in action at Polygon Wood, Belgium, aged 22 years.