Colonel Steven’s was one of Eisenhower’s staff officer’s during the war.
This grouping belonged to a full colonel on Eisenhower’s staff in World War II, Lt. Col. Eli Stevens.
- SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces) HQ’s was Ike’s huge headquarters first based in England, then France and Germany.
- This grouping consists of an English made American colonel’s M1941 Service Dress uniform coat and trousers, made by H. Huntsman & Sons Ltd., London, for (then) Lt. Col. Eli Stevens, USA.
- The coat has bullion full colonel’s eagles on the shoulder tabs, and English made SHAEF shoulder sleeve insignia, “US” collar insignia on the lapels, and an impressive group of ribbon bar.
- There are no branch insignia on the lapels below the “US’s.”
- The decorations and other medals are left to right-top to bottom:
- (U.S.) Legion of Merit, (France)
- Medal of Gratitude,
- (U.S.) American Defense Service Medal,
- American Campaign Medal,
- European-Africa-Middle East Medal with Invasion arrowhead and 5 campaign stars,
- WWII Victory Medal,
- (UK) Order of the British Empire,
- (France) Croix de Guerre with Palms, and
- Verdun Medal [WWI].
- These medals are not in the correct order, American decorations followed by other medals would precede any foreign medals. Many times for convenience sake this ribbons would be thrown on with the idea of sorting them when time permitted.
- The condition of the uniform is fine condition overall, with some mothing in the front of the coat below the waist and on the back of the cuffs. The trousers have a few sporadic moth holes, but more at the hem. All of the moth holes could be restored, and if you so desire I can put you in touch with an excellent conservator.
- Colonel Stevens ID’d his trousers with a signature of sorts.
- His briefcase is constructed almost entirely of leather, it locks and buckles, has compartments for documents, etc. Leather is dry but certainly can be improved.
Included in the lot is a decent amount of official document, commissions, and foreign award certificates and accompanying letters, etc. These documents are overall fine to excellent; listed in a chronological order are the most interesting items. There are misc. official envelopes with commission etc, that are not listed.
- Group of three documents relating to Stevens being awarded the OBE by the British Government.
- Out of order chronologically but related to the above, a Sept. 1948 letter from H.R.F. Brett, Honours & Awards Section, concerning a Warrant of Appointment, under The King’s Sign Manual, to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
- The certificate for the OBE bearing the facsimile signature of King George VI. Nice embossed seal in upper left corner.
- U.S. commission dated 22 July, 1947, appointed a Major of Infantry, War Dept. seal at bottom and signed by the Secretary of War, Robert P. Patterson, and The Adjutant General.
- 25 plus page collection of documents regarding Medical proceeding before the retirement board concerning service connected disabilities affecting Stevens military abilities. Excellent content relating to a leg injury in the 30’s while on maneuvers at Fort Benning, re-injuring on route to North Africa, his ship was torpedoed as he was thrown out of his bunk; and then in 1943 on Allied Forces (Ike’s first command) he “was ordered by General Eisenhower to take General Handy (British) to the front. We were following a tank attack….in a jeep and were caught in an aerial and artillery bombardment, in chich I had to jump from a jeep into a deep shell hole, and the leg gave way….” Other documents get into the medical aspects, etc.
- Document from HQ European Command 6 Sept. 1948 informing Stevens he has been awarded the Croix Militaire Premiere Classe, by the Belgian Government, 3 pieces.
- Letter, War Dept. AG’s Office 20 Sept. 1948; Subject: Retirement. Paragraph 2 states his disability being a result which incurred in combat with the enemy of the United States….Signed by the Adjutant General. includes envelope.
- U.S. commission dated 1 October, 1948, appointing Stevens a full colonel on the Retired List, Regular Army.
Taking abbreviated info from the Army Register I will attempt to give you a brief history of Colonel Stevens career.
Stevens, Eli (018235). Born, Kansas, 3 March, 1907, USMA Class of 1926, other military schooling; General Staff and Command School, 2 May, 1947, Graduate Infantry School, Regular Course, 1937.
2nd Lt. Infantry, 12 June, 1930; Air Corps (I wonder if this is a misprint as Stevens states in one of the medical documents he is injured while on maneuvers with the 9th Infantry Division when his first injury happened), 12 Sept. 1930 to 19 February, 1931 1st Lt.1 August, 1935; Capt. 12 June, 1940; Major, 12 June, 1947.
Wartime rank held; Major, Army of the United States, 1 February, 1942; Lt.Col., A.U.S. 10 November, 1942; Colonel, A.U.S. 1 April, 1944.
Decorations (U.S.), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star.
Retired 1948, Service connected (combat) disability.
It appears that Colonel Stevens was Eisenhower’s Staff, first with Allied Forces Headquarters, then followed him to SHAEF.
Many, if not most collectors prefer combat uniforms to staff types. I had for many years collected Ike’s staff during WWII, and felt it was one of the best learning experiences I had as a collector. The shire amount of detailed planing in running a war in Europe, with all that is involved to maintain the Armies of many countries in war; the tough decisions concerning the lives of hundreds of thousands of lives, if not more; the dealings with all the Heads of State in the Allied cause, and the politics of nations at war, and on and on. These staffers had incredible responsibilities. Damn, why did I sell off that collection!