NumisMaster Logo
Sign In
Free Newsletter

Collector Info
In Print
Site Map
Web Site Aids in Short Snorter Quest
By Kerry Rodgers, Bank Note Reporter
March 18, 2008

Regardless of their particular interest, the majority of paper money collectors have at some time or other stumbled over short snorters: bank notes emanating from a war zone that are usually pretty tatty and carry numerous, usually illegible, signatures. On most days eBay offers at least one such item that purports to carry the signature of someone famous such as Bob Hope or John F. Kennedy.

A quick Google search will provide a variety of explanations of the intended purpose and origins of genuine versions of these signed notes. Most, however, agree that the majority were signed by a group of comrades-in-arms about to enter into battle or reuniting after battle. Most importantly, a short snort of fire water was involved at some stage. Regular readers may also be aware that these days this Kiwi is somewhat single-minded in his collecting interests. If it ain't Fijian I don't want to know – despite the efforts of various dealers around the world to insist I should be collecting overpriced New Zealand rarities.

Today short snorters inscribed on Fiji notes during World War II are featured in my collection. Several wet weekends this past southern hemisphere winter have found me pouring over these tattered relics trying to interpret the scribbled and/or inebriated signatures. I then find a few hours are necessary, perched on the World Wide Web, to attempt to confirm or not my best guess as to their identity of a particular signatory. Many, but not all, turn out to be U.S. military personnel. As a Kiwi born five short weeks after Pearl Harbor, I find it particularly gratifying when I manage to pin down an individual signatory who contributed to the world I live in today.

The Web provides a rich source of information for my researches. Sites such as the Library of Congress prove essential in figuring out the movements of U.S. troops in the Pacific during World War II. For the American forces staging their strikes against the Japanese throughout '42 and '43, Fiji provided a safe and stable staging post - once the Battle of the Coral Sea had been fought and won.

Having satisfied myself that a snorter is probably genuine, I then try and ensure that any likely suspect was part of a unit that passed through or was based in Fiji at the appropriate time when they might have signed the snorter of interest. The fact that all Fiji notes were dated certainly helps. There is no point in fingering Sergeant Abe Simpson as a guilty party on a snorter dated 1943 if his unit passed through in '42, never to return. Admittedly, in the highly mobile circumstances of the war it is not impossible that Sgt. Simpson could have popped his moniker on a 1943-dated Fiji note at a much later time and in a place other than downtown Suva, but the date on a note can help reduce the possibilities.

Most of the Fiji short snorters I have obtained to date - that appear to be genuine - are five shilling issues of King George VI, Standard Catalog of World Paper Money No. P-37. The most recent addition to my collection came from Canada. It was advertised as, "Signed by American officers of the American Command at Fiji." I was successful in my eBay bid and anxiously awaited its arrival. It has proved very worthwhile. It was dated Jan. 1, 1942.

Brigadier General Barnett

The signatures were all in fountain pen ink, which was a great start. Ball point and felt-pen signatures on alleged World War II items don't do much for me. Unusually, most of the signatories included rank. There was a brigadier general, two colonels, a lieutenant colonel and a captain. These ranks helped narrow the field in identifying the usual indecipherable scrawls.

The brigadier general's John Hancock seemed particularly promising. It was almost entirely legible. I commenced a number of Boolean Web searches using different interpretations of the signature: Barrett, Bannett, Barreft, Barnitt, Barnift, etc., etc. My Beloved One is particularly good at suggesting likely names that have eluded me.

After a couple of hours, two or three possibilities had emerged, but nothing was conclusive. However, I was convinced that the guy was never a resident base commander in Fiji. The word following "Brig Gen" on the note was "Usa," but at this point I had no real fix on that last scribble following the actual signature. Readers may like to check out their own interpretation skills before reading further.

My suffering was shortened by accessing a Danish Web site that lists all the generals from both sides of World War II: It didn't take long to scan down the lengthy list of those who served under the stars and stripes and come up with the name James Washington Barnett as the most likely fit.

His bare service details were all that was given but were sufficient to confirm he had been a brigadier general. At the outbreak of the Pacific War he had been Deputy Chief of Staff Western Defense Command stateside. He rose to become that command's chief of staff before being appointed in 1943 to Assistant Commanding General of the 93rd Division. He appears to have served in that position for the remainder of the war when he took over as Commanding General U.S. Army Forces New Caledonia in 1945. He retired in 1949. This total record served to make him a highly likely candidate. Intriguingly, the 93rd Division was one of the U.S. Army's black (segregated) divisions, but like the Kiwi Navy that had for years required British officers to command its ships, the black regiments and divisions in the U.S. forces were obliged to have white senior officers.

Many a Slip

One small cloud cast its shadow over this superb feat of deduction. In my searches on the Web I had encountered the short snorter Web site: It opened for business on July 4, 2007. The site posted scans of short snorters with a view to link signatories back to families and/or units, and in identifying those WIA and KIA wherever possible.

I touched base with webmaster Tom Sparks. He had a quick squizz of scans of my snorter that he has now posted on his site. He pointed out that there could be some glitches in the information given on the Danish Generals site. The next name listed after James Washington is Allison Joseph Barnett, who is also given as Assistant Commanding General of the 93rd Division. An extended bio and photo of Allison Joseph appears on the Web site of U.S. Army Officers 1939-1945 at This site, however, posts even fewer biographical details for James Washington than does the Generals site. It sure raises questions about whether James was ever connected with the 93rd.

Tom's coup was identifying that last word following Barnett's signature on the snorter. He reads it as "ComGenGuadal," possibly standing for Commanding General Guadalcanal or similar. A Google search turned up "COMGENGUADALCANAL" as a valid command group. However, to date neither of us has been successful at tracking any more information on either of the Barnetts and their possible association with Guadalcanal or action elsewhere in the Pacific theater.

Colonel Howie

A likely ID on the colonel's signature on the snorter's back proved a little easier. My initial interpretation came up trumps.

Col. Robert George Howie served as base commander at Guadalcanal from 1943 to 1946. Like General James Washington Barnett, he had battlefield experience from World War I where he was wounded in action and awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart. Although he had held the battlefield rank of captain, he reverted to first lieutenant on demobilization.

During peacetime he was a trainer at Fort Benning in Georgia, where he was involved in developing a low, motorized, two-man, mobile machine gun platform called "the belly buster."

Both Howie and Barnett moved into and through the Pacific theatre of the war in 1943. Both were of a similar age and military background. It is conceivable that two such men of senior rank met up in Fiji before heading west to the front. Or maybe they met at Guadalcanal, where one produced a Fijian note he had picked up on the way though. Whatever the case, I have few reservations in confirming the identity of both signatories, despite the inadequacy of details on Barnett's precise role in the Pacific campaign.

Identifying the remaining signatures on this one snorter is a work in progress. Their illegibility is not helping, but that is all part of the chase. And the Web renders the job just that much easier than in the bad old days when all we had to use were books! Any and all contributions and suggestions will be gratefully received by this Kiwi.

But There's More!

As a result of touching base with Tom Sparks, I met up again with that mother-of-all-short-snorters, the Harry Hopkins British 10-shilling note dated July 25, 1942. I had vague memories of having encountered reference to it at sometime in the distant past. Grunty scans of it are now posted on Tom's site at

This snorter has been confirmed as the real McCoy. It carries the signatures of many of the major players on the Allied side of World War II - from Patton and Eisenhower to Churchill and Roosevelt. It also bears the signatures of numerous others, including several WAACs.

For those who want to see how this snorter was checked out by professionals with extensive resources and some of the pitfalls involved, try the History Detectives Web site:

This ultimate short snorter belonged to Harry Hopkins, President Roosevelt's personal envoy, advisor and confidant during World War II. Its current owner, Gary Schulze, has kindly provided the images shown here and the story, as he understands it, of this remarkable and historic note.

Those of you up-to-speed with World War II history will have quickly figured out that all the signatories identified on Harry's note cannot have been together in London on July 25, 1942.

Hopkins was certainly attending a conference in London at this time trying to hammer out appropriate strategies to fight the war in Europe. While there he received a wire from Roosevelt agreeing to Churchill's preferred plan to launch the first joint Allied attack on the German military machine in North Africa - Operation Torch.

At the conclusion of this conference many of those present signed Harry's proffered snorter. These included Ike and Averill Harriman. Interestingly, two signatures are notably absent from those attending. They are those of General George Marshal, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, and Admiral Ernest King, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations. Both were vehemently opposed to the African decision and wanted the first strike to be against the Axis to be in mainland Europe.

Six months later, Harry took his 10-shilling note to the Casablanca Conference. There he added the signatures of Churchill, Patton, Alexander and Mountbatten. Roosevelt's signature was picked up at Trinidad en route to Casablanca. Since Roosevelt did not want his secretary of state to attend the Casablanca Conference, he talked Churchill into not bringing Anthony Eden, the U.K.'s Foreign Secretary. Hopkins collected Eden's signature later in Washington, D.C.


The unidentified signatures on the snorter have always been something of a puzzle. While compiling this article in September, Tom Sparks e-mailed to relate how serendipity had just struck him more than a glancing blow. Out of the blue he received an e-mail from Linda Williford in Florida. She had been Googling on the Web and stumbled over Tom's new site.

She wrote, "I can identify one of the unknown signatures on the Harry Hopkins short snorter. D. Ray Comish was my father. He was a flight engineer for Pan American Airlines and was part of the crew that flew Roosevelt and his entourage to Casablanca aboard the [Dixie] Clipper."

Both Tom and Gary were stoked by this revelation, even more so when Linda offered to make a trip to her safe deposit box to check out her dad's own short snorter from the Casablanca trip. It is signed by many of the same folks and also comes with backup documentation. All concerned await developments with eager anticipation.

Add to:   digg
With this article: Email to friend   Print

On December 10, 2011 FuentesKristie said
Various people in all countries get the <a href="">personal loans</a> in different creditors, just because it's fast and easy.
On October 24, 2012 link building services said
Sometimes rss submissions service offer not manual Links building. Don't agree with such issues! Different link building works must be made had operated!
On October 24, 2012 Contrast essay said
I opine that you know how complicated can the term paper writing be. But, you shouldn?t be confused, because the custom writing services offer the custom book reports and there?s not a big problem to buy an essay online and be satisfied.
On October 26, 2012 wars essay said
There?re some recommendations how to have the academic success. Hence, students have to look through the release and just accomplish the superb miscellaneous essay paper. The other way is to choose the trustworthy high quality custom essay writing service and buy essay there. We hope that will help.
On October 26, 2012 best directory submission service said
Do you opine that you can make bookmarks submission by you own hands? You will not got enough time for it! However, the reputable social bookmark submissions company can do all things expertly. Hence, your site will get rates.  
On October 27, 2012 online papers said
College students have to help each other. Hence the college term paper ( service used to be created just for that, I guess. And its help is amazing.  
On October 27, 2012 already written essays said
The outcome got in touch with this post would be used by custom essays writing corporations. To buy an essay  and to buy research paper ( wasn?t a problem for advanced people.
On October 31, 2012 writer job said
Do you present the writer job service? Your data connecting to this good post seems to be good.
On October 31, 2012 religion essays said
Give me a recommendation if this is real to find the religion essays from the custom writing services, or perhaps that is much better to purchase research paper online?
On October 31, 2012 bookmarking services said
Did you do a world wide directory submission? Do you seek for directory back links from internet sites with the highest ranking? Then you surely need web directory submission service. Your website links will be submitted to the greatest website directories!
On October 31, 2012 bookmarking submissions said
People generally utilize various kinds of advertisement. The matter is that different business owners do not really realize that link building is recognized as the most workable kind of advertisement and social bookmarking site realize it the best!  
On October 31, 2012 forum profiles services said
Even if you did not try to utilize the RSS feeds submission stuff, you will have to visit submit your rss feed service. It can be the most clever way of search engine optimization!
On November 5, 2012 custom research paper said
Click here ( with best custom essay writing service and don?t miss a chance to buy term papers.
On November 5, 2012 pay someone to write my essay said
To demonstrate your self development you must complete research papers of superb quality. Furthermore, it is not so hard as high school students think, just because it's simple to order essay writing ( and just relax.
On November 5, 2012 response essays said
Still have no info where to look for top essay writing service? Listen to our recommendation and consider this Web site ( you will definitely get excellent help with research paper.
On November 5, 2012 Look here said
It all starts  with a solution. The way is to not at any time again allow people to intrude while you are working .  I am absolutely charmed with your message it will help me in my term paper help (
On November 5, 2012 custom researches said
Visit this Web site if you want to buy research papers generated by adept writers. This online paper store offers high quality online writing services.
On November 5, 2012 college essay said
This company collaborates only with the highly expert wordsmiths therefore you can order college term papers without any doubts. Outstanding essay writing services is promised all customers who will look at this site.
On November 21, 2012 online essay writing services said
Guess that you are very good in writing? Thence, attempt to create papers, which are completely unique. Have got no clue how to do it? Not a problem at all! simply buy Custom Essays.
On November 21, 2012 thesis service said
On the long way to the academic grade people must buy thesis titles corresponding with this topic from the thesis writing service or professional dissertations writing service.
On November 21, 2012 thesis writing said
Very often, students finish the publish dissertation by their own efforts. But some students choose to order the perfectly done issue referring to this post from the dissertation writing service, just because this is easier.
On November 21, 2012 dissertation said
I opine that that doesn?t matter if utilize custom dissertation services or thesis service! Because only the quality of the thesis title close to this good post is counting.                              
On November 21, 2012 thesis writing service said
I think it's amusing, because it demonstrate a very academic-focussed attitude. Preserving the honesty of the academic system seems to be a arrangement, although commonly close down paid ads for such a service seems a weak response. When the company is known by your friends who were brightened up with the results of the teamwork, about this address that  for the thesis writing service quality.
On November 21, 2012 dissertation writing said
Different scholars have to handle thesis research just about this topic in a correct way, because they will need it a buy dissertation service in a future life.
On November 21, 2012 writing services said
Go to our Web site and get cheap college term papers and achieve set goals just by receiving our best essay writing services.
On November 21, 2012 essay papers said
 View Web site "" to check on multiple options and therefore you may get good cheap papers to achieve superb upshots due to help with essay.
On December 2, 2012 visit this website said
Yeah decidedly very friendly for the primer it was pleasant to read about this topic! If you need to get a great job firstofall you need resume service ( Study and don't forget - if you have to work and study at the same time, there areprofessionals who are ready to aid you with your resume when you under time crushing and looking for a great job.
On December 6, 2012 plagiarism detect said
Some students give the duty to expert writers because they lack the talent to write a satisfactory paper about this topic that is the cause why customers need to use plagiarism check (, but such customers like writer don't do that. Thank you very much for the information
On December 6, 2012 plagiarism detector said
The plagiarism detector is very popular now just because there're numbers of people who utilize someone else's stuff like their own.
On December 7, 2012 essay service said
Buy essays from respectful firm and acquire good research writing online. Use this site and all your worries will disappear.
On December 10, 2012 good essay writing said
Follow Web site ""  and purchase English research paper in order gain essay paper or order term paper help from this company.As only professional writers cooperate with this agency you will get brilliant online essay writing assistance.All you have to to it to purchase college research paper at that essay writing agency.
On December 10, 2012 Buying Essays Online said
Do you experience problems with creating papers? The only way for you is to check this link "" if you wish to choose written essay from excellent paper writing firm. You will gain  wonderful paper writing service. If you have got issues with paper writing surf the Primeessays company to buy essay papers.
On December 13, 2012 home page said
Visit EssaysService firm ( so that you can buy an essay paper and make the best of our amazing organization when it comes to best essay writing services.
On December 13, 2012 dissertation service said
Lastly, We get perfect topic connecting with this post? We suggest to search the thesis or buy dissertation cover, because this helps in getting high grade if you have dissertation service
On December 14, 2012 Click here said
Need to find help with resume writing? Cannot imagine where to buy resume paper? View this Marvelous Resume company "" where you can find CV templates. Our expert resume writers will assure you that buying resume can bring job seekers true success!
On December 14, 2012 link said
Are you looking which service to choose for buying resume or where to receive samples of resume writing and reliable resume services? Or you just wish to order resume from professional resume writers? Just get in touch with Resume company "".
On December 16, 2012 buy paper online said
That is smashing topic. This is interesting to select the paper writing service ,which can do the essay writing or custom essays. Thus all should buy research papers .
On December 16, 2012 need custom writing services said
The term paper creating can?t constantly be enjoying. The writing services essays can cost a lot of time and efforts. I would recommend to pay to write essay ( I guess that this could be the proper way out.
On December 17, 2012 Web developers China company said
Come in contact with us today to hire Mambo Developers "" and be free from your development needs!
On December 17, 2012 WritingsCentre rewiew said
Now, a great number of pupils are seeking for superior quality custom made papers. BuyEssay rewiew will help pupils to come across the most reliable custom essay writing service from which they may purchase first-class research papers produced from scratch.
On December 19, 2012 cheap research papers said
If I wish to get rid of boring writing tasks, I phone organizations that cope with academic papers and buy research paper "" on the net.
On December 19, 2012 custom university paper said
Various men need to resolve different problems such as air pollution. All these problems are hard to resolve. Nevertheless, if you have got writing difficulties, you will have nothing to trouble about. You just can buy original term papers and resolve your problems.
On January 9, 2013 Online term paper said
The creator of this topic is a real professional. I guess that high school students who turn to an Essay editing service "" , envy the author!
On January 11, 2013 thesis said
You are obviously, a real master of mini dissertation just about this topic composing but when you are willing to opt for the dissertation writing, I will suggest you to coose a perfect one.
On January 11, 2013 dissertation writing service said
Students would like to find the history dissertation about this topic. If they get know about your hot outcome, they would probably order the thesis "".
On January 11, 2013 how to buy term paper said
Get use of PRIMEWRITINGS company (  if you wish to buy college term papers in order to gain help with research paper or purchase term paper of high quality. You will never regret to have bought essyas from this agency. The assurance of this company is delivery of nice academic writing.If you have got problems with essay writing come to Primewritings company in order to order college term papers.
On January 14, 2013 said
Studying in the university students must improve their thesis research completing skills. Hence, a trustworthy thesis service "" is able to help with doctoral dissertation writing.  
On January 14, 2013 college papers said
Collaborating with this trustful firm you will obtain best essay writing services. All you should do is use this Web site, purchase professional essays and I assure that you will come back to this writing centre once again.
On February 18, 2013 buy custom written essay said
Nowadays grads turn to companies that offer paper writing services. Try this home page ( and order custom papers which definitely will aid you to receive the best marks.
On February 22, 2013 click here said
Perfect essay service is probable to get, if sophomores click over here to buy professional term papers essays from the trustworthy agency.
On February 25, 2013 coursework help said
Correctly accomplished write my paper issues will give people a chance to reach a success. Nonetheless, custom term papers composing would take your free time. Thus that will be practicable to purchase essays to foreclose this.
On February 25, 2013 custom term paper online said
Look at this site if You are looking for a chance to purchase custom papers and our company will provide You with paper writing.
On February 26, 2013 Essay question said
I'm always glad, because I've got a possibility to get papers for sale ( That aided a lot of times.
On February 26, 2013 essay service said
Absorbing post there, and i?ve bookmarked this blog too?keep up the superb job. We guess  that this should be great if some people use your material in custom term papers ( situation.
On March 1, 2013 term paper for sale said
You don't have to take all the pressure of academic papers finishing simply because famous custom academic papers writing corporations can rid of your stress suggesting you to use essay service and that is good, I state!
On March 1, 2013 non-plagiarized custom research paper said
There is a great amount of learners who have no idea how it is attainable to produce outstanding paper work without any help of services that propose to buy research paper.
On March 3, 2013 essay writing services said
I don't opine that someone should write essays for you. You can get something if get Research Papers For Sale In fact you must write by your own if you want to become become a good writer!
On March 3, 2013 buy thesis said
Thanks for such hot data referring to this good post ! You have to make your own dissertation service, we opine. Because lots of thesis writing services make such things and you are able perform really good thesis papers likewise.                              
On March 6, 2013 Internet site said
If you have got a chance to utilize the essay papers online ( service, never hesitate, buy academic papers and have a rest.
On March 6, 2013 essay writing service said
Pay attention to this EssaysLeader agency "" so that you would get professional essays and get your academic burden off your shoulders as we are the best firm that helps you with professional online essay writing.
On March 9, 2013 custom thesis said
With your help only people know about custom dissertation! So they order the nice dissertation thesis just about this topic in the thesis writing.
On March 9, 2013 research paper writing service said
Lastly, writing companies get extra watchfulness at customers' privacy! Hence, that becomes safer to buy cheap custom essay.
On April 28, 2013 research paper said
Do you require special stuff such as asia essay paper ( I don't see a problem with it. You just would be able to utilize professional writing services to buy essays.
On May 22, 2013 said
Thank you, it's very wonderfull information about this post it might be very helpful for students. Recently i needed resume writing services. To my awesome surprise, resume was honest the price I paid for it.
On May 25, 2013 wars essays paper said
If you do want to a good academic grade, you should show the properly done tv essay. And the professional essay will be a correct source for custom essay help completing, I guess.
On June 5, 2013 Soft-group company said
Look up here, if you are in desperate need of best quality services from professionals who are employed by outsourcing Pakistan company.
On June 13, 2013 plagiarism detection said
I think it's captivating, because it boast a very academic-focussed attitude. Preserving the goodness of the academic system seems to be a greatest importance, although simply disallow recompensed ads for such a service seems a frail response. When the enterprise is known by your friends who were fascinated with the results of the alliance, about this good topic . But remember always to use plagiarism checker run them through this plagiarism detection system for absolute checking and make sure that your material is authentic.
On June 16, 2013 check for plagiarism said
Don't want to be accused in plagiarism? Want to submit only unique contents? Opt for check for plagiarism "" and be sure that your stuff are unique.
On July 12, 2013 link said
Go to Perfect-resume company ( if you require professional resume writing service. After cooperating with this reliable writing agency, you will know how to write a resume and where to run over resume formats. Don?t mull over, buy resumes of excellent quality from best resume writers.
On July 15, 2013 Click here said
Professional resume writers review will give you a hint where to buy resume paper if you are too busy to write a resume, just visit Marvelous Resume company, check CV sample and our certified resume writers will happily provide you professional resume writing service. Buying resume with us is pretty easy, order resume now and stay satisfied about your career.
On July 15, 2013 speeches essays paper said
Not all essay academic writing firms have enough experience to complete premium quality philosophy essays "". It is not simple to make sure if a firm is experienced or not.
On July 18, 2013 site said
Our professional resume writers will be happy to provide CV writing help to job seekers who do not have time to write a resume. View this ResumesExpert company "" and view CV sample. Now you have all the info where to buy resume paper, so do not doubt buy CV and enjoy your career.
On July 18, 2013 click here said
If you don?t know what Internet site to see instructive essay writing services review on, contact Best-Essay-Sites firm and you will never regret.
On July 21, 2013 click here said
You are hunting for CV templates or which service to choose for buying resume? Or you want to get professional resume writers review? Contact Exclusive resume company and you will discover all useful info and also a dependable company from which you may buy CV created by clever resume writers.
On July 21, 2013 site said
Are you searching for professional CV writing services? Still have no clue which company to choose for buying resume? Contact Resumes Leader company "". Here you can view samples of resume writing or buy CV from highly qualified resume writers.
On November 19, 2013 Visit this website said
Open Web page in order to get a wonderful opportunity to purchase excellent college research paper and make a change in your student?s life due to our best paper writing services.
On November 19, 2013 custom writing said
A short time ago, sophomores lack time to produce writing assignments, they may press up here "", and order college term papers. Applying to this top-notch custom paper writing agency sophomores will get custom writing UK essays.

Something to add? Notice an error? Comment on this article.

About Us | Contact Us | Privacy | Your data is secure
©2018 F+W Publications, Inc., Iola, Wisconsin. All rights reserved.