Fake "Good Luck Flag" by "Digger&G.I."


The earliest mention of this entrepreneurial activity can be find in australian book published in 1944.

Jungle Warfare

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Deal in Flags


Me and Flanagan are sitting on the fence near the hospital.

We are sitting on the highest part of the fence, and have established a bridgehead with a commanding view.

Inside the canvas walls of that hospital is a fellow by name Mushy Goldstein, who, having successfully evaded a showdown with his Eternal Father in the dengue ward, is awaiting discharge to the outside world.

But it is not the promptings of Christian charity that cause me and Flanagan to sit on the highest part of the hospital fence and wait for the appearance of Mushy Goldstein.

On the contrary, if everything goes according to plan Mushy Goldstein will be back in the casualty ward within the next ten minutes carrying more bruises, abrasions, lacerations and contusions than the Atlantic Wall.

In short it is the intention of me and Flanagan to hammer Mushy Goldstein into the greatest physiological study of all time, and to provide the medical faculty of Sydney University with enough used-up anatomy to keep the undergraduates going for the next fifty years.

It is a deal in Japanese flags that has caused the rupture in our relations.
Me and Flanagan have established since the outbreak of hostilities an honest reputation for investing our propositions with sound principles; but at the same time me and Flanagan would be the first to admit that occasionally we have erred on the side of generosity - and some people have been dissatisfied with the outcome of our propositions; which only goes to show that me and Flanagan can make the same mistakes as anybody else.

So when Mushy Goldstein comes to us one night in the Y.M. hut and says he's got a proposition, me and Flanagan display a certain amount of interest; but we do not display too much interest for we are mindful of the time in Cairo when Mushy Goldstein organized a raffle for the widow of the unknown soldier.

Anyhow me and Flanagan allowed Mushy to proceed with his proposition for, according to Flanagan, it is a cardinal law in all branches of business that all propositions have possibilities.

It appears that Mushy has a cobber in the 98th Brigade which has just come out of action against the Japs.

Mushy says that his cobber has come from the battles with many trophies all of which have been passed for general exhibition. Mushy's cobber has plenty of trophies. In fact he has so many trophies that Mushy's cobber reckons there's nothing left of the Japanese Army but dried fish and empty saki bottles. The most expensive of the trophies is battle-flags, of which he has a large number dating back to the time of Admiral Perry.

But Mushy reckons that his cobber is not fussy about parting with the genuine Japanese battle-flags, complete with inscriptions-not laundry marks-he adds; but on account of that him and Mushy are such good cobbers he is prepared to let Mushy have a few flags to hang in the parlour in Woodbine Street, Carlton.

Then Mushy says that on account of him and me and Flanagan being such good friends he is prepared to let us have a few flags at a nominal figure to cover expenses "just so that youse jokers will be able to say youse never took charity even from Mushy Goldstein."

Me and Flanagan linger over the proposition for a few seconds and Mushy starts to kick on.

He reckons that me and Flanagan are the finest soldiers he's ever been in contact with, and we've never had a fair go with medals and things. "Think of the time in Bardia when you bust the Dago tank with a jam tin," he says. "And the time at Suda Bay you killed Six Herman Goerings with an axe handle."

"Nine Herman Goerings," says Flanagan.

"Bull," I says under my breath, but I am well content with the details.

Then Mushy gets into his stride and says we deserve more than the Africa Star, and that fellows like me and Flanagan who have been in real battles should have some memento of our triumphs against the barbarians.

Me and Flanagan get real sentimental at this point and Mushy starts to cry. Then Flanagan starts to cry, and for the next two minutes I've got more emotions than Greta Garbo and I'm crying like a Moslem mourner and lamenting the fact I never gave Mushy Goldstein the key of the bottom drawer years ago.

Me and Flanagan get real sentimental at this point and Mushy starts to cry. Then Flanagan starts to cry, and for the next two minutes I've got more emotions than Greta Garbo and I'm crying like a Moslem mourner and lamenting the fact I never gave Mushy Goldstein the key of the bottom drawer years ago.

Me and Flanagan recover our composure a bit and Mushy loosens up with all he's got; but if I had known then what I know now, I'd have drunk poison with the barbarians sooner than played snakes and ladders with Mushy Goldstein.

Mushy gets to the point which is thirty shillings per genuine Japanese flag complete with inscriptions which is a proposition he reserves only for me and Flanagan on account of our outstanding record in four campaigns against the barbarians.

Flanagan is all for making it a deal there and then, but I flash him the red light as a vision of the past comes before me.

And I recall the time I saw Mushy Goldstein in the Empire Club in Cairo, selling a genuine scarab from the Hill of Jesus to an Allied soldier for 200 ackers. Mushy was crying then too, and so was the Allied soldier. The price was a sacrifice. And so was the Allied soldier, for if I'm any judge of Egyptian handicraft that scarab was born in a Birka shooting gallery, and will never get closer to the Hill of Jesus than the blue-ridge mountains of Virginia.

But me and Flanagan are sentimental souls. Flanagan ignores my caution and Mushy Goldstein has his feet on the sawdust and we have seven flags and Mushy has ten guineas Australian.

Next day we make sure there is no breach in the wall of security and that the inscriptions are in genuine Japanese and relate to the history of the Tomato Maru Division which has been wiped off the order of battle on account of General Tomato Maru failed to commit hara-kiri when his batman went through on Shaggy Ridge.

News spreads through the camp that me and Flanagan have acquired something special in the way of souvenirs and we have so many offers for the Japanese flags that we are reluctantly compelled to sell four at three-pounds-ten apiece so that our companions-in-arms may share in the downfall of the barbarians. We sell the remaining three flags to a joker from the con depot with a limp, then me and Flanagan reckon it's time to make further contact with our source of supply.

Mushy reckons we are stretching his good- will a little too far but he finally agrees on account of our campaigns to sell us ten more flags at two-pounds-ten each. We sell two flags to the mess orderly and five more at the con depot, which leaves us with three on hand for the ring outside the pictures.

It's like the ring on Cup Day in Flemington when me and Flanagan get to work at the pictures and finally we knock two flags down to Elmer Putz of Boston for a tenner and one to Syd Peaty of Pine Creek for seven-pounds- ten. Elmer's flag was torn in battle, and he was quite prepared to pay extra for more souvenir value.
Back in the tent that night me and Flanagan go over the figures.

The rake-off from the Tomato Maru Division adds up to plenty war bonds and me and Flanagan make further contact with Mushy Goldstein and buy seven more flags just before he lumbers off to hospital with the dengue.

Something seems to tell me there's trouble brewing when me and Flanagan get near the pictures with our flags the following night, and it strikes me all of a sudden that the Tomato Maru Division must have had a pretty decent transport section to cart all those flags around Shaggy Ridge.

I don't say a word of my fears to Flanagan. I don't have to, for no sooner do we hit the pictures than Elmer Putz and Syd Peaty stroll up to us casual-like. I don't like the look of Elmer Putz and Syd Peaty and I'm for going through but Flanagan sums up the situation and says: "Well, boys, pictures crook?"

"No," says Elmer Putz, "but them flags is I guess. They're phonies I reckon."
"Come clean," says Syd Peaty. "I'm a sheep-shearer but I never drew blood like youse jokers."

"I want ma dough back," says Elmer. "Me too," says Syd.

"There must be some mistake," says Flan-agan. "Them flags is the battle-flags of the Tomato Maru Division."

"Mistake nuthin'," says Elmer. "laps is tamaytas but they ain't gat 'em in divisions."

By this time the mob's getting worked up. I've never seen so much flag-waving since the Ninth Divvy march and they're yelling for their money back or else.

It's time for me and Flanagan to go through. Flanagan leads the pack and I'm a yard back running second. We've covered the first quarter and are running for home when Flanagan falls in the sullage-pit. I dive in beside him and we both come to the top just as the pack catches up.

They drag us out of the sullage-pit and me and Flanagan decide to take them back to our tent and exchange the flags for Australian currency.

Flanagan is covered in the remnants of Friday's goldfish, and I'm on the nose like I've never been before; but those jokers are gluttons for punishment and they stay with us until the final satisfaction of every commitment.

And they go away and leave me and Flanagan to our misery; and there isn't a cracker in the world between us; and on the ground, encompassed within the four walls of the tent lie the battle-torn flags of the Tomato Maru Division to remind us of our battle with barbarians.

And Flanagan sinks to the floor, overcome by the stench and exhaustion from the night; and I enshroud him in the symbols of our downfall.

A merciful providence denies him the sorrow of the sight that greets me from the corner of one battle-flag of the Tomato Maru Division.

In little white letters, I read in the watermark the saga of a swindle. "Product of the Goldstein Flag Making and Bunting Coy Pty, Ltd, Carlton, Victoria."

But it is not the promptings of Christian charity that cause me and Flanagan to sit upon the highest part of the hospital fence to await the appearance of Mushy Goldstein.


So called "Tojo flag" (named so because of the Hideki Tojo fake signature).

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Four years later.
Cover of the Foreign Service, February 1949.

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The artist managed to create vivid characters.

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Short note by Jerry Price from Banzai published in August 2001.

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These two marines obviously preferred "genuine product" to 87th Paint Shop "product".

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    digger&g.i. fakes japanese good luck flag tojo flag yosegaki hinomaru
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