Officer´s Service Coat of 2nd Lt. Clay J. Ritter
- Source (item owner): Arjan Messemaker Collection
- Category: Uniforms
In the summer 2019, our friend Arjan Messemaker informed us about a new piece in his collection. It was an Officer´s Service Coat of 2nd Lt. Clay J. Ritter, who was a member of Battery B, 15th Field Artillery Battalion. Arjan found this coat in an online auction and immediately knew that it is going to be his next project.
After some days of research he managed to get in touch with daughter of 2nd Lt. Clay Ritter but then the hardest part of his effort to retrace the story of 2nd Lt. Ritter´s coat begun. He had to persuade Ritter´s family that he is not a scammer.
Mrs. Linda Ritter Carroll, the daughter of 2nd Lt. Clay Ritter wrote in her post: "Several weeks ago, I was contacted by Arjan Messemaker, a young man in Holland, saying that he had my father´s WW2 jacket. I assumed it was a scam but questioned him anyway. He answered all my questions sensibly and correctly gave me Dad´s serial number written in the jacket. I had a Dutch friend review everything he said and stalked him on FB. It all checked out. He just wanted the jacket to go to a family member and to learn more about Dad´s experience in WW2."
On August 24, 2019, Mrs. Linda Ritter Carroll received a package with his father´s coat and Arjan could celebrate a great success. "I´m very honoured and happy that I got the opportunity to give something back," said Arjan. But it was not the first relic he returned back. In 2018 Arjan managed to return a signed Mess Kit to another family of 2nd ID´s veteran. We are going to present you this story as well.
The story of 2nd Lt. Clay Ritter´s coat has a happy ending but many more families never answered our messages or trusted in our effort so quite unique items of their relatives which could be returned back to them are still in our collection or in collections of our colleagues. Unfortunately, that means that we are not able to reveal the stories of these items. There are for example photos, dog tags, sterling bracelets, equipment and more. Also several relatives of the 2nd ID´s veterans asked us for help in regard to search for uniforms, medals and souvenirs of their father or grandfather. These items were stolen some years ago and since that time members of these families try to check every online auction and website where their items could appear. Mostly these historical pieces end in privat collections and collectors usually do not know that they were stolen.
We try to cooperate with collectors in their effort to return the pieces of our common history to families where they should be. And it is our pleasure to present you these stories. Great work, Arjan!!