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  • Writer's pictureStephen Callaghan

A Soldier's Spoon

Today we are going to look at what might initially look like an innocuous object, a spoon! However, this is no ordinary kitchen spoon, it is a pre-war military spoon, issued in 1912. This pattern of spoon was originally introduced in 1894. What adds further interest to this military spoon is the fact it has been stamped twice with two different soldier’s details, “2nd Leinster/9989” and then over stamped with “2 Y K/10047”. Below we will examine the history of this military spoon and try to identify the soldiers who once owned it.

The first owner of the spoon was Joseph Tinkler. Born in Middleborough, Yorkshire, England around 1891. He was the son of Thomas and Mary Tinkler. The 1901 census records Joseph as attending Moor Edge Industrial School, Newcastle on Tyne. In later life Joseph worked as a miner before he enlisted in the army on 1 July 1912, joining up in Richmond, Yorkshire. Joseph was posted to the 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment, why he joined an Irish regiment is a bit of mystery. While not unusual, Joseph has no obvious Irish connections, so it is interesting to wonder why he ended up with the Leinsters.

Upon his joining the regiment he was given some very important equipment, his cutlery! Which included a spoon, knife and fork. These implements were what Private Tinkler and other soldiers used on a daily basis to eat their meals. In some instances, the cutlery was stamped with the soldier’s service number and regiment name.

Private Tinkler served with the 2nd Battalion, Leinster Regiment, and was sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force 8 September 1914. On 19 December he received a gunshot to his right leg. In December 1917, while on leave from France, Private Tinkler married Barbara Ellen Pattison in Yorkshire. While back serving in France he was captured and taken prisoner of war (POW) at Saint Emilie on 22 March 1918, the second day of the German Spring offensive. He was held in a prisoner of war camp in Germany until the end of the war.

Private Tinkler was later released and returned to his native Yorkshire where he died in October 1952.

While impossible to say when the spoon was reissued to another soldier, it is likely while Private Tinkler was a POW in Germany. Assuming his kit was not with him when he was captured, is it likely the spoon would have been reused, as an essential piece of equipment they were in high demand and army stocks were low, so much so, private manufactures were contracted to supply army pattern spoons.

While “2 YK”, is probably 2nd Yorkshire Regiment, a good match the latter owner of the spoon is ongoing. None the less a simple implement used in the daily life of a soldier with an interesting history.

Close up of the stamped handle

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