Occasionally I see pocket watches online that take my breath away as they reach back into history. Gulp... dry mouth... In a provincial English antique auction on a grey raining Thursday last November a quite pretty otherwise unremarkable Swiss early twentieth century pocket watch is for sale. Clevedon Salerooms - Lot 265 But boy what a provenance as the auctioneers say…. In a brief respite from the front being gassed, bayoneted and drowned in mud the men & NCOs of a platoon in the World War One trenches get together out of their meagre salaries and buy an expensive Swiss pocket watch (18 carat gold no less) from a French jeweller in Roubaix on 13 January 1918. They take it back to England then engrave it then present it to him in 1919 one assumes. Signed " Presented to XXX DCM By Junior NCOs and men of 250 Siege Bty 1917 France 1919 " A friend into WW1 militaria tells me that that is a siege battery. Heavy duty howitzer stuff. At first I wondered what he particularly had done to deserve such a generous item. The previous auction lot of his medals explains why “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when two officers and some men of the battery were badly wounded and buried in a dug out this gallant officer did splendid work in getting them away under continuous shell fire, showing a total disregard for his own safety. On another occasion he voluntarily went into a camp near his battery to remove some men who were wounded and unable to move. The camp was being heavily shelled at the time. “ According to Google maps there is still a retailer there on the same premises in Roubaix selling gold etc. According to the receipt It was delivered to the “ Les soldats anglais pour un chrono … ( can anyone decipher understand that part as it is not a chronograph) or, double cuvette or...” Sold for 353 French francs On the cuvette “ Ancre Ligne Droite 10 Rubis Balancier Compense Levees Visibles Spiral Breguet 4 Chatons “ Lever escapement - 10 jewels Breguet type overcoiled hairspring What were / are chatons referred to? Can anyone help identify the manufacturer at all – FHF? Their descendants just throw it away in a local auction for buttons/ barely more than the scrap value of the gold. One is almost tempted to buy it research it find them on social media Facebook etc (as one can with unusual surnames) then turn up on their doorsteps with the watch asking why? how dare they… The lot was passed. " They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them. "