General Patton’s personally-owned sterling silver box presented to him near the beginning of WWII by six officers of his 304th Tank Brigade from WWI, measuring 7.25 x 3.5 x 2.5, handsomely engraved on the top, “Auld Lang Syne, from Officers of World War I Light Tanks,” with an engraved emblem of a hand holding a dagger. The inside of the box cover is also engraved, “To a Gallant Soldier, Whose friendship we cherish, may you go on to further deeds of valor in your country’s service,” inscribed with the names of the officers, “David Bowes, Arthur Snyder, Leslie Buckler, Newell P. Weed, John W. Castles, Harry H. Semmes.” Stamped on the bottom as being made in England. In fine condition. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from Robert H. Patton, the general’s grandson. In part: “I can attest that the silver box…is an authentic commemoration of shared World War One service given from officers in the 304th Tank Brigade to their commander during that war, George S. Patton, Jr…This piece has considerable historical value both for its personal link to Patton and also as a record of the 304th Tank Brigade, the first American tank unit to ever engage in battle. Moreover, since the designation ‘World War One’ did not come into common usage until World War Two dawned, it seems clear that this piece was given to Patton either upon his promotion to the rank of Major General in April 1941, or, more likely, as a personal send-off on the eve of his departure for North Africa to command the Western Task Force of the Allied Torch landings in November 1942. This of course gives the silver box even more historical significance.”
The officers who presented this to their one-time commander were of great importance to Patton—Semmes, Weed, Castle, and Bowes are all mentioned in The Patton Papers, Vol. 1, a compilation of letters and diary entries. Semmes was an especially close lifelong friend of Patton and later promoted to brigadier general. It was with this group that participated in pivotal battles of World War I, including at St. Mihiel and the Argonne. For their valor under fire at the Argonne, Patton, Bowes, Weed, and Semmes were awarded Distinguished Service Crosses. A beautiful piece of great historical significance and solid provenance from the Patton family. RR Auction COA.