|Left we offer a number of similar Boer War souvenirs found in the US, the UK, and Australia.
Some homespun militaria experts harrumph that these are not Boer War souvenirs but much later ones, from WWI.
In our estimation, almost totally unlikely for a lot of reasons:
Three of these casings come from the McKerihen Boer War collection. He picked them up on the battlefield.
Two others come from an Australian Boer War collection.
Also, pom pom shells dated 1900 would have been shot off years ago, for target practice in war games, or in colonial wars in Africa or China. How likely is it that this shell and head - and all the others - would survive all that, for fourteen years?
Besides, why keep them around for shooting, after they have passed their "Best Before Date?" Old live ammo is dangerously unstable to hold on to, and more dangerous to the collector than to the eventual target...
Furthermore, the pom pom had been invented in the 1880s, and by 1914 was so archaic a weapon the British did not even bother to deploy it for their front line armies.
(Firing one round a second in a war dominated by machine guns firing 8 bullets a second made them a curious anomaly at best. Some old guns were initially used by the Home Guard around London for use against German dirigibles but they were declared totally ineffective even for that use.)
So how likely is it that a pom pom shell of any date could possibly be souvenired by soldiers on the western front, let alone one dated 1900, and of German manufacture?
Even more unlikely: suppose it had managed to survive 14 years, how would this "old stock" shell not have been one of the first to get shot off in the opening salvos of WWI and disappeared forever...
The millions of new shells manufactured in 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918 were exploded all over the world. And these are the commonly found souvenir items, not a lone relic from 1900.
Clearly, these 1900 German manufactured pom pom shells were souvenired in the Boer War 1899-1902, where they were routinely shot off, and were easily found, every time Tommies overran Boer defensive positions, and then grabbed as pocket sized mementoes.
The perfect Boer War souvenir, like the two an Australian Boer War vet flared to make nice vases. And then locked away in family trunks for 100 years.
These were celebrated, meaningful - and treasured souvenirs - during the Boer War.
Not so in WWI, when vets wanted to bring home casings of really large, death-defying shells that pounded everything - including their friends - to smithereens on the Western Front, not archaic and ineffectively quaint little shells from a nonsensical and forgotten little war in South Africa.