WW1 37mm casing Hand Engraved. Help with Identification

hi, i found this 6" deep in an open field in Franklinton North Carolina.

Any ideas on what the engraving might mean? On one side it says AEF. The other side it might say MJM. My guess is this is a souvenir that a soldier had engraved because this particular round took out the enemy. His initials might be MJM and the AEF stands for his military regiment?

this is some info about the gun that used the round:

The M1916 37mm gun was developed by the French and used primarily by French and American forces in WWI for destroying machine gun emplacements.

does anyone know more info on this item? Like if the markings on the end tell a date of manufacture?

is it worth $? Thanks

The initials “AEF” in context stand for “Allied Expeditionary Force.” The other initials could be those of the souvenir-taker who engraved “AEF” and those initials on the shell casing.

I believe AEF stands for American Expeditionary Forces, in other words, the U.S. military forces sent to Europe during WW I, under the overall command of MG John Pershing.

The case was manufactured in May 1917. PEMCo is the manufacturer. Off hand, I don’t know who that was but I seem to remember that the PEM Company was identified on the Forum some time ago. Someone is sure to fill you in.

Without some provenance, it would nothing more than a guess that the case was ever in Europe or that it was fired in combat.

Except for the sentimental value to someone who knew or is related to “MJM” there is only a minimal collector’s value. It may have been buried by someone wanting to get rid of it. The location where it was found would tell you more than any of us can.


Why or how the upper part was torn off? Any guesses?


Probably eroded away from the type of soil it was buried in. Some soils are very kind to brass while others are pure poison.

BTW, there were also the CEF and BEF (Canadian and British Expeditionary Forces) and very likely others as well. I suppose there is some logic to calling them Allied Expeditionary Forces, but they served in different time periods and at different locations. There were a few soldiers who actually served in the CEF, BEF, and AEF at one time during the war, not at the same time, of course.


thanks for the info! i really appreciate it.

this is where i found it. It was right behind the big white ‘INN’ in this picture. Before the ‘INN’ was built there was a building called ‘Benjamin Jones Tavern’ on the same land. It was the first documented business in Franklinton, NC and was built in the mid 1800’s. The buildings have since been burned down/removed. The land now is just grassy fields next to the railroad tracks. Ive also found a WW1 uniform collar insignia button(crossed rifles pin - F company 3rd regiment) and some old coins.

The case was manufactured by Poole Engineering and Machine Company of Baltimore, MD.

Other “military” artifacts found on the same property could indicate it was used as an encampment at one time. You should be able to find more information with a little more digging (pun intended). I used to be an ameteur military historian and searching for stuff like that was always interesting. Of course, back in those olden days, we didn’t have the Internet and there were times when it would take months to uncover one little sought after factoid.

The AEF really didn’t become heavily involved in WW I until late in 1918. With an early 1917 date on the case it would be doubtful if it made its way to France but that could be a part of your searching, to see when, and if, US made guns and ammunition were used.

Good luck. Let us know if you find anything.