UPDATE ~ CHARLES HENRY GARTNER ~ “MUTT” found in Australia, has been reunited with “JEFF”

56764 RFLM Charles Henry Gartner ~ UPDATE    

In August 2018 we bought you the story (below) of a First World War Victory Medal named to Rifleman Charlie Gartner that had been donated to MRNZ by a Nelson collector.  This resulted in the medal being returned to Charlie’s grandson Wayne, a former Nelsonian now living in Waipawa who had left Nelson some 40+ years ago.  Nelson and Tasman had been home to some of the original Gartner family who had immigrated to NZ from Prussia.

1 plus 1 = a reunited Pair

It is a rare occasion when we have the privilege of reuniting both medals of pair awarded to a WW1 soldier.  In December 2018 I was checking some research material sent to me which included a number of NZ medals that had been identified as being in private hands in Australia.  One of the medals was a British War Medal that I immediately recognized by the impressed name, was the medal that had originally been paired with the Victory Medal we had returned earlier in the year to Charlie Gartner’s grandson Wayne Gartner.  

I am happy to report that after negotiating with the medal owner, I have received the medal and confirmed that the naming is correct, and the overall condition (with ribbon) is excellent.  “MUTT and JEFF” ** have now been reunited with Wayne.

The reunited medal tally is now 245.

RFLM C.H. Gartner’s British War Medal – Obverse

RFLM C.H. Gartner’s British War Medal – Reverse










Note: ** “MUTT and JEFF” is cockney rhyming slang for ‘Deaf’ a term often given to a pairing of a tall and a short man, though it could mean two men of widely dissimilar characteristics.  Like “PIP, SQUEAK and ALFRED’ (a comic strip featuring a dog, penguin and rabbit), the names given the three WW1 medals – 1914-5 STAR, BWM and VM, when issued as a Trio), the British War Medal and Victory Medal on their own were issued in far greater numbers than the Trio.  Accordingly, these two medals on their own were given different names, and christened “MUTT and JEFF” after an early comic-strip of the same name.  Probably a precursor to Laurel and Hardy, they Mutt and Jeff were two working-class men – usually drinking, gambling and getting in hot water with their wives. 

In 1907, a San Fransisco Chronicle cartoonist (Harry Conway “Bud” Fisher) began drawing a daily comic strip called “Mr Mutt”.  A short time later he added the diminutive “Mr Jeff”, and “Mutt and Jeff” were born.   Mutt was a tall, lanky man with a penchant for the horses, while Jeff had the appearance of a down trodden, hen-pecked husband of a tyrannical house mother.  Starting out as an amusing side strip in the Chronicle sporting pages, by 1915 Mutt and Jeff had become a national phenomenon in the USA, Britain and Canada.  The strip ran continuously under Bud Fisher’s guidance until his death in 1954, after which it was produced by a team of illustrators and writers until “Mutt and Jeff” were eventually retired in 1982.


Read the original Charlie Gartner medal story here:

CHARLES HENRY GARTNER ~ Bushman, Axeman, Feller, Sawyer, Trimmer, Mill Hand, Saw Doctor – sawdust was in his blood.