The Titterton safe in Sadr City, Iraq.

The brass plate was found in the streets of Sadr City, Iraq, by Colonel of the  US Army Special Forces, 101st Airborne Division in December 2003.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Colonel was responsible for securing a building for a women’s organisation.  This is part of his account.

‘While patrolling through the main building, we were very careful to avoid all piles of rubble and garbage.  The Sadr militia had a nasty habit of booby-trapping almost all rubble piles as they knew US troops are pretty picky about neatness..and will habitually start cleaning up all piles of junk to make things more presentable.  So, they place their traps in deliberately-made piles of rubble hoping to injure or kill some of us.  As I was skirting around one pile of rubble, I noticed a faint gleam of gold out of the corner of my eye.  This was very warily approached as I figured it was deliberately set in order to get a curious US soldier to pull on it and reveal a live hand grenade.  While looking at the corner of the exposed gold piece, I immediately saw it was some type of brass plaque which seemed to have simply been left behind by the militia.  Being quite deliberate in removing the rubble from around the plaque, I finally got it out and saw it was very old and had the name of Titterton on it.  Sadar City Combat (Small)

Further patrolling through this building revealed it to have been a community center of some type as a stage, speaker/microphone system, swimming pool, etc. were all there.  Also, I found out later that the office the plaque had been found it was the manager’s office…and it had once contained a safe which held money, receipts, tickets, etc.  So, the Titterton plaque had at one time been attached to either a safe door or bank vault door.  When Baghdad fell, the compound was looted and the safe – with all its contents – had turned up missing.  The plaque had been torn from its door and just tossed into the pile of rubble.