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GWK-0063 WWII German RAD Hewer dagger (101st Airborne Division 501st PIR Veteran bring back)

This item is listed for historical interest only. It is not for sale.
Item #19965

WWII German RAD hewer dagger (101st Airborne 501st PIR Veteran bring back).  This RAD Hewer is one of the best that we have had in a long time. The nickel-plated hilt mounts are approximately 80%+ intact, with no just minor signs of wear. The crossguard has 90% of the original factory background darkening and finish.  The grip plates are in great condition made of antler. The scabbard shell is completely straight. This shell has great original paint. It does have some minor crazing in the surface and some nicks from wear. Other than this tiny flaw the paint is very nearly 90% and retains an original factory shine.

The nickel-plated scabbard mounts are also in good shape but have a minor amount of wear and patina showing through.   The tip with the RAD spade and wheat stalks on the lower mount have some minor spots of wear from use. These embellishments are in crisp, perfect condition. All of the stampings have 80%+ of the original background darkening. As is always the case with these pieces there is a line of beading that runs around the edges of the mounts where they meet the scabbard shell. The original untouched flat head screws are all in place. The blade is every bit as good as the outside of the dagger. It has the typical matte finish and the Bowie-style end, with a fine narrow fuller. The obverse facing bears the RAD motto, “Arbeit Adelt”. This motto has 100% of the original factory background darkening.  The reverse of this full Mint blade is etched with a RAD triangle and the protected patent term “Ges Gesch”. At the bottom is the familiar 1935-41 Eickhorn seated squirrel trademark. 

However, the background to it is just as interesting.  Now I know with any piece a story is just a story, but we were able to independently identify the story.  We purchased this hewer dagger from the son of Peter Fotos (Army serial number 39035978) born June 6th 1923, who was a private serving with 3rd Platoon, G Company, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 101st Airborne Division.  His story is rather interesting where he enlisted December 30th 1942 and jumped into Normandy on his 21st birthday.  He jumped and served in Market Garden campaign and later in Bastogne.  He was captured on December 27th 1944 by the Germans and then was listed as killed in captivity.  His mother received a telegram and condolence letter reporting his death as well as the life insurance payout.  This is verified by the National Archive and Records Administration (nara.gov) under the prisoner of war database showing him captured on that date and then later being killed in captivity or while attempting to escape.  According to the 101st Airborne historian Mark Bando Peter Fotos was assigned to the S-2 (intelligence) because he had Greek background and could speak German.  The S-2 shop utilized him, although he may have been assigned to G Co. there was a regimental S-2 patrol ambushed near Neffe, Belgium on 28 December, 1944.  Two soldiers on that patrol were killed in the ambush- Norman Blanchette and Arthur Teichman.  This is where he was captured and sometimes the records can be a day off either way.  According to unverified accounts from Mr. Bando, S/Sgt Eugene Amburgey and Roland J. Wilbur, who had been walking point during the patrol came to a clearing and Wilbur smelled an ambush and refused to cross the open area.  Blanchette and Teichman went across and got ambushed and killed and it is believed that Mr Fotos may have been caught in the open and taken prisoner.  The details of how he escaped or returned to American lines is unclear but he returned home after a hospital stay.   He participated in reunions post WWII where he connected with some of his old friends who had thought he had been killed by the Germans.  Supporting documents are modern printed copies of the National Archive and Records Administration enlistment records as well as his prisoner of war records.  Additionally is a printed version of Mr. Fotos obituary from January 24, 2012. Last is a copy of a page from the 501st PIR roster showing his listing.  While there is always a story this one we feel confident that we were able to verify to a degree through external records.  Do not let this piece of history pass by.  We are attempting to get copies of the original telegram and photos of Mr. Fotos, these are not included but we will try to update the listing as we receive them.

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