Favorite Find: Roster Book of the Officer Corps of the 6th Westphalian Infantry Regiment No. 55

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A FOUND TREASURE

by Michael F. Szczepaniak

When I was 12 years old, my father gave me his WWII souvenirs. I was so excited to receive and see what he had hidden away for years. This lot of “treasure” was my first “favorite find.” It launched me into collecting path for more than 50 years.

My father enlisted in the Army (Armor branch) after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He served in England, landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, and fought his way across Europe. When the war ended, he was in Austria.

He said he found this book “in a building” — nothing more. He said too much was going on to notice much of anything. It was still “war.”

 The cover in deep blue velour

The cover in deep blue velour

The book he gave to me is a roster of commanders in the Officer Corps of the 6th Westphalian Infantry Regiment No. 55. The cover is made of deep blue velour. The oak leaves, eagle, and ribbon are made of silver and engraved. The eagle is trimmed n gold — true German craftsmanship seen in the details.

Inside, the first page explains that the book is a record of the officers, doctors, and paymasters under the command of Colonel von Seeckt, serving under the commander, His Highness of Command, Prince Leopold zur Lippe from 16 August 1875 to 14 December 1875, followed by Prince Woldemar from 22 March 1877.

 The craftsmanship continued on the inside.

The craftsmanship continued on the inside.

What follows is a roster of each member by rank. It includes the date of his rank. There are pencilled annotations next to each officer’s name.

In addition, there is a large photograph of the unit and band marching before horse-mounted officers. The back of the photo has a heavy ink inscription indicating that it is a review of the regiment by General of the Infantry von Seeckt, dated 5 September 1898. This places the photo at about 120 years old — and the book older than that — a favorite “found treasure.”

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