Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nazis in Connemara, Co. Galway!

I reckoned that was a headline that would grab your attention!

Front view with distinctive Swastika

I’ve just been sent this pair of photos from an old friend of mine. He tells me that the object washed ashore near Clifden, Co. Galway about a year or so ago. Unfortunately, the photos lack a scale, but the one where the object is being held should give some indication of its size. At a very rough guess, it appears to be about 85 mm long, and bears a very recognisable Nazi Swastika inside a pentagon (c. 40 mm across). The side view shows that the pentagon seems to have acted as the head of a bolt for securing or tightening a wire or cable of some description. My friend suggests that it might have been used to secure sea mines, but I’ve no particular knowledge of Nazi engineering so I’m not able to either confirm or deny the theory. For this reason, I’m throwing this open to archaeological crowdsourcing in the hope of an answer!

Many thanks,

Robert M Chapple

Side view

Update [Feb 26 20:30]: I truly love the internet & all the fine people you meet on social media! I got one suggestion from Stephen Douglas, the engineer husband of archaeologist Sharon Greene, that it looked like a 'wire tensioner' (or radisseur) ... and a bit of searching later allows me to be pretty certain that this is indeed what it is ... there is one from Brazil [here | here] and another from Scotland [here | here]. It appears unlikely that this device had any connection to the Nazis, but should serve to remind us (myself included!) that there was a time in the early 20th century when the Swastika was a popular symbol of good luck throughout western Europe [here]. 

On the other hand, this gives me the opportunity to post this:

It never rains, but it pours! In the comments below, Mr David Brennan, tells me that he's found a number on a fence in Kildare. Then Mr Liam Byrne brings this to my attention: one on sale in Tralee for €80 [here]. 

These two images are of the radisseur found by David Brennan associated with a fence post, in a field near Newbridge, Co. Kildare. He notes that: 'If I can recall, there were three others remaining on the metal fence post, but no others were to be found on any of the other fence posts along the same boundary fence.'