10 June 2022
Rare ACME clicker discovered feet away from Band of Brothers dog tags, 78 years since D-Day.
An archaeological dig at the former base of famed easy company featured in Band of Brothers has unearthed rare historical artefacts including one of the ACME lost clickers used in D-Day landings.
The clicker, used by Easy company during the D-Day landings 78 years ago, were found feet away from two sets of dog tags belonging to members of the famed Band of Brothers. The tags were unearthed at an archaeological WWII dig conducted by archaeologist Richard Osgood and a team of veterans from Nightingale and Aldbourne Heritage Centre supported by Breaking Ground Heritage.
Images of the clicker discovered in Aldbourne, Wiltshire, where the 101st was stationed during WWII, were immediately sent to experts at ACME whistles in Birmingham, where they were made during the war, for authentication. Simon Topman, Managing Director at ACME, said, “This is a fascinating find for a number of reasons, but there was no doubt that it was an authentic ACME clicker issued for the D-Day landings. Not only was there all of the tell tail signs in the manufacture, but the material used got us really excited. When Richard and his team sent pictures, we could clearly see the metal used had been repurposed as there was vivid colouration and patterning on the inside of the clicker. Although this was not the case with every unit, our records show that the war effort required us to reuse metal from alternative sources, even repurposing tins and packaging from Cadbury, based just down the road.”
The discovery of the ACME clicker is also significant having been discovered within feet of two dog tags belonging to Richard A Blake and Carl Fenstermaker. Carl was a certified member of Dick Winter’s Easy Company from Band of Brothers.
Carl made a remarkable three combat jumps during his service in the 101st including D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne.
The surviving grandson of Carl Fenstermaker, Andrew Fenstermaker, added, “We didn’t know much about his service, he wasn’t one to talk much about it. I was really excited to hear about what you found. It’s something that I’m excited to share with my dad and my aunt and uncles, all of his kids are still alive, so it’ll mean a lot to them.”
About the find, ACME’s Simon Topman added, “The clickers were used by paratroopers dropped behind enemy lines ahead of D-Day to determine friend from foe. It was a top secret project, and the 101st would have been given them as they were boarding the plane to Normandy, yet Easy Company returned to the base at Aldbourne explaining how this unit made its way back home to the UK – to be found 78 years later.
It was previously thought that all of the original clickers were lost to history, however after an international campaign we tracked down a handful of authenticated D-Day clickers and are delighted that Richard and his team have found another – the first using repurposed metal.”
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