The internet has failed me :(
I’ve just spent two hours researching some family heirlooms from WWI. One in particular is driving me nuts - it’s a ring with the dates 1914-1918 with two crossed French flags in the middle. I have looked EVERYWHERE for some record of this ring or what it was for. I know my great-grandfather fought at Passchendaele (Canadian history whut) so I’m thinking it might be a commemorative ring for Canadian soldiers who participated in a French campaign…but honestly I have no idea. Frustrating :(
Update: On a whim I emailed one of my old profs who is an expert in WWI Canadian history (seriously, when the History Channel does a show about WWI they put this guy on). Turns out the rings were pretty common as souvenirs during WWI and they were most often made out of leftover artillery shells or bullet casings. Soldiers in the back trenches who had more time on their hands, or sometimes local craftsmen, would make a variety of objects (rings, letter openers, etc.) and then sell them to the front line soldiers. A lot of the soldiers would send the rings home to their “hunny” (wife, gf) as gifts. Apparently the rings and other trinkets were fairly popular at garage sales and such in the 1960s but have since become rather rare and hard to find. A family treasure for sure! It’s nice to finally have some context :D Dad was thrilled to finally know a bit about this mysterious ring. Hurrah for awesome and super-knowledgeable profs!