German Sailor Caps: Tallies

Figure 1.--Here we see little Helmut off to his first day of school in 1927. Poor boy. He apparantly didn't get a Schultüte, but he seems to be in a good mood. Notice his cap tally which says "Regatta". (Regatta is also a German word. Many German words related to ships are English imports.) American readers will recognize Helmut instantly as Arthur E. Neuman from "Mad" magazine. Image courtesy of the BP collection.

The tally was the cap band that had the name of the sailor's ship. It was normally black silk with the ship name in gold or white. Many sailors saved these tallies as they were transferred to new ships. This tradition was continued for boys. Almost all German sailor caps had these tallies. Sometimes the names of famous ships were used. This could be a famous battle ship. Or during the War exploits of particular ships like the U-9 were reported in the press. Thus ypu see the boys with tallies that have these ship names. Other times terms like "Kaiserliche Marine" or Deutche Marine". Other tallys had "Deutchland" or the name of a region like "Rhineland". This could represent where the boy was from. Or it could represent a political statement. The Rhineland was, gor example, occupied by the French after World War I to compel the payment of reparations. We also notice a variety of other words such as "Regatta" which have naval connotations.


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Created: 7:30 PM 10/12/2006
Last updated: 7:30 PM 10/12/2006