95yo digger reunited with father's inkwell made from WWI bullets and cartridge cases

95yo digger reunited with father's inkwell made from WWI bullets and cartridge cases

95yo digger reunited with father's inkwell made from WWI bullets and cartridge cases

Updated 7 September 2017, 7:35 AEST

An inkwell made by a digger from scavenged materials found in the trenches of World War I is held by his 95-year-old son for the very first time.

An inkwell made by a digger from scavenged materials found in the trenches of World War I has been held by his 95-year-old son for the very first time.

The piece, made by Charles Blunderfield, had been a part of the Queensland Museum collections since the 1970s.

Recently, curator Tracy Ryan put a callout on Facebook to find the descendants of its creator.

The inkwell was constructed from copper sheets, bullets, cartridge cases, artillery shell fuses and a 1856 coin of Napoleon III; the words "To Ethel — From Charlie" were etched into the ends.

"Ypres" and "Messines" was also etched into opposite sides of the inkwell indicating the piece may have been constructed by Charles while filling in time in Belgium.

"We've been investigating all the objects in our collection with a connection to WWI and found this wonderful piece of trench art," Ms Ryan said.

"We got curious about who Charles and Ethel were as their names were etched onto it.

"After some research we figured out who they were and that it was donated by their son-in-law many years ago.

"Making connections between people and objects is always exciting and it's the favourite part of my job."

RSL Queensland's Sarah Jackson saw the callout for descendants on social media and tracked down Charles' 95-year-old son Ben through their membership records.

"I recognised Charles last name from the post and then linked that to the fact that we had Ben [with the same last name] on our records as a life subscriber," she said.

"I rang Ben out of the blue and I spoke to him and asked him if we could help the museum tell more of the inkwell's story."

Holding family history in your hands

Ben, who served in both the Middle East and Kokoda during World War II, said holding the inkwell brought memories back strong memories of his father and mother, Ethel.

"To be able see dad's work of such quality ... I'm really proud of him and it felt good to hold the inkwell," Ben said.

"I can imagine him working on this with his hands."

Ben donated most of his own war memorabilia three years ago to the War Memorial in Canberra.

He said within the donation he had other pieces of his father's work.

"I have our family's mementos in two areas now, in Brisbane and Canberra, and I'm very pleased about that," he said.

Ben's daughter Rosslyn said it was heart-warming to see him be reunited with the inkwell and reminisce about his parents.

"Charles, my grandfather, was from a family of 20 children," she said.

"After the war, Charles began a woodchopping business in Breakfast Creek, delivering firewood to homes throughout Brisbane.

"I knew the Blunderfield men were very clever with their hands and that's a testament to this object now here in the Queensland Museum."