WW1 / WW2 / 20th Century

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WW1 Era Quality Made Leather Holster For A .32ACP 'Model 1913' Self-Loading Pistol by Webley & Scott,

WW1 Era Quality Made Leather Holster For A .32ACP 'Model 1913' Self-Loading Pistol by Webley & Scott,

This is a service holster for the Webley small frame .32 pistol. All leather and intricate stitching are clean and intact. The rear of the holster has a single belt loop stitched to the body. It has a single brass press stud fastener and full flap cover. From muzzle end to the open top of the holster measures 10 inches. The opening is 4 1/8 inches wide.

Winston Churchill owned this form of pistol {his was sold at auction in 2015} as a personal defence weapon.
The .32 Webley & Scott was adopted by Scotland Yard for use on close protection details in 1911. Walter J. Thompson, Churchill's most famous bodyguard, carried one during his eighteen years service beside the Prime Minister.  read more

Code: 25142

145.00 GBP

A Finest Leather Field Service, .455 Revolver Holster, For WW1 Officers

A Finest Leather Field Service, .455 Revolver Holster, For WW1 Officers

Excellent condition, WW1 service officer use, for the Webley.455 MK VI revolver. It has a full flap cover with retaining strap and brass stud fastener

The Webley Revolver (also known as the Webley Top-Break Revolver or Webley Self-Extracting Revolver) was, in various designations, a standard issue service revolver for the armed forces of the United Kingdom, and countries of the British Empire and the Commonwealth of Nations, from 1887 to 1970.

The Webley is a top-break revolver and breaking the revolver operates the extractor, which removes cartridges from the cylinder. The Webley Mk I service revolver was adopted in 1887 and the Mk IV rose to prominence during the Boer War of 1899–1902. The Mk VI was introduced in 1915, during wartime, and is the best-known model.

Firing large .455 Webley cartridges, Webley service revolvers are among the most powerful top-break revolvers produced.

The Webley RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) model was Webley's first double-action revolver, and adopted by the RIC in 1868, hence the name. It was a solid frame, gate-loaded revolver, chambered in .442 Webley. General George Armstrong Custer was known to have owned a pair, which he is believed to have used at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Shanghai Municipal Police received Webley Mk VI revolvers during the interwar period.  read more

Code: 25160

165.00 GBP

A WW1 British Army Standard Issue SMLE Enfield .303 MK3 Rifle Sword Bayonet, by Sanderson. Used In Combat Service in WW1 and WW2

A WW1 British Army Standard Issue SMLE Enfield .303 MK3 Rifle Sword Bayonet, by Sanderson. Used In Combat Service in WW1 and WW2

In very good condition entirely rust free, with original blueing on the scabbard mounts and blade ricasso.
The Lee–Enfield rifle was derived from the earlier Lee–Metford, a mechanically similar black-powder rifle, which combined James Paris Lee's rear-locking bolt system that had a barrel featuring rifling designed by William Ellis Metford.
We bought the entire small collection from the widow of a 'Best of British Empire Rifles and Bayonets, Both British and German' collector, who acquired them over the past 40 years, and only ever kept the very best he could afford to keep. Act fast they are selling really fast, three rifles and eight bayonets and a cutlass have sold in two days alone.. Top quality and condition,19th and 20th century scarce British and German collectables are always the most desirable of all.

The Lee action cocked the striker on the closing stroke of the bolt, making the initial opening much faster and easier compared to the "cock on opening" (i.e., the firing pin cocks upon opening the bolt) of the Mauser Gewehr 98 design. The Lee bolt-action and 10-round magazine capacity enabled a well-trained rifleman to perform the "mad minute" firing 20 to 30 aimed rounds in 60 seconds, making the Lee–Enfield the fastest military bolt-action rifle of the day. The current world record for aimed bolt-action fire was set in 1914 by a musketry instructor in the British Army—Sergeant Instructor Snoxall—who placed 38 rounds into a 12-inch-wide (300 mm) target at 300 yards (270 m) in one minute. Some straight-pull bolt-action rifles were thought faster, but lacked the simplicity, reliability, and generous magazine capacity of the Lee–Enfield. Several First World War accounts tell of British troops repelling German attackers who subsequently reported that they had encountered machine guns, when in fact it was simply a group of well-trained riflemen armed with SMLE Mk III rifles.

The First World War manual, Infantry Training read “The rifle and the bayonet are the principal weapons of the individual infantry soldier. The first requirement of the infantry soldier is confidence in these weapons, based on his skill in their use.”

“The bayonet is the weapon for hand-to-hand fighting, and its use, or the threat of it, finally drives the enemy from his position or causes him to surrender.’

The British Army training manual, Bayonet Training (1918) stated that ‘Hand-to-hand fighting with the bayonet is individual … killing is at close quarters, at a range of 2 feet or less, when troops are struggling corps a corps in trenches or darkness.  read more

Code: 25158

160.00 GBP

A Superb, WW1, British Officer's Field Service, Harrods 'Kit' Named 'A Welcome Present for Friends At the Front,'.  Trench Warfare Pharmaceuticals Case for Morphine, Heroin & 7% Solution Cocaine From Harrods Department Store {Now Empty!}

A Superb, WW1, British Officer's Field Service, Harrods 'Kit' Named 'A Welcome Present for Friends At the Front,'. Trench Warfare Pharmaceuticals Case for Morphine, Heroin & 7% Solution Cocaine From Harrods Department Store {Now Empty!}

Even high street stores, in the Victorian, Edwardian and George Vth era, were once involved in selling questionable products {by today's enlightened standards of course}. In London during 1916, Harrods sold a ‘kit’ named ‘A Welcome Present for Friends at the Front,’ which contained cocaine, morphine, syringes, and needles. These kits were marketed to officers for use in the trenches of WW1. This case is also personally monogrammed for the officer

We acquired this from the elderly grandson of a WW1 officer in the Guards Division, and it once contained his complete kit of drug paraphernalia, the syringe, heroin vials, cocaine etc. for his trench warfare 'downtime' during his service at the front.

A very stout hard leather case, Harrods marked, containing its original metal box that once contained his 'kit', aka ‘A Welcome Present for Friends at the Front,’ In superb condition for age especially considering when and where it was used, and for over three years in the awful conditions of the trenches in Flanders and France. It was also very functional as a 'back-up' sandwich tin, which would likely be a more sensible use for it. Swayne and Adeney {another contemporary store but in Piccadilly} made a version for 'sandwiches' but larger, with a double hinged tin {so one could remove the sandwhich} and often a small glass flask, likely for a tot of single malt whisky. Apparently the vendors grandfather told him several of his brother officers used to ask for home to send them a F/S sandwich tin, but only in order to fit their drug kit within it!

“Which is it today,“ I asked “morphine or cocaine ?“. So says Doctor Watson to Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of The Four. “It is cocaine,“ he said “a seven-per-cent solution. Would you care to try it ?“

Doctor Watson wisely declines the offer. Instead he tries to alert Holmes to the potential dangers involved in his drug taking. “Why should you, for a mere passing pleasure, risk the loss of those great powers with which you have been endowed ?“ But Sherlock Holmes finds cocaine, “…so transcendentally stimulating and clarifying to the mind that it’s secondary action is a matter of small moment.“

The attitude to drugs in the Victorian era was very different to our own. Morphine and cocaine were both available from various sources without a doctor’s prescription. Morphine was even given to children - albeit in a diluted form such as a linctus. The great psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud also wrote in praise of cocaine.

This all seems very strange to us. But before modern analgesics were developed people had to rely on drugs such as morphine and other opiates for pain relief and other medical uses.

Recreational drug taking was also not unknown. Sherlock Holmes’ drug use would certainly fall into this category. However, as he tells Doctor Watson; “Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants.“  read more

Code: 25156

395.00 GBP

Scarce WW1 Mauser G98AZ / K98 Bayonet &Scabbard

Scarce WW1 Mauser G98AZ / K98 Bayonet &Scabbard

Second pattern example of the M1884/98 knife bayonet used with the Mauser Gewehr 98. The second pattern represents the first new production M1884/98 bayonet.
This example was made in 1915 by J.Mehlich AG of Berlin. It carries the Royal Cypher of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Prussia, who reigned 1888–1918. Wilhelm II was the "Kaiser Wilhelm" of First World War fame.

We bought the entire small collection from the widow of a 'Best of British Empire Rifles and Bayonets, Both British and German' collector, who acquired them over the past 40 years, and only ever kept the very best he could afford to keep. Act fast they are selling really fast, three rifles and eight bayonets and a cutlass have sold in two days alone. Top quality and condition,19th and 20th century scarce British and German collectables are always the most desirable of all.

Carbine version ( K) of the standard German army rifle of WW1 The 'A' version replaced the KAR98 model in 1908. The original Karabiner 98k was a controlled-feed bolt-action rifle. It could be loaded with five rounds of 7.92x57mm IS ammunition from a stripper clip, loaded into an internal magazine. It was derived from earlier rifles, namely the Karabiner 98b, which in turn had been developed from the Mauser Model 1898. The Gewehr 98 or Model 1898 took its principles from the Lebel Model 1886 rifle with the improvement of a metallic magazine of five cartridges. Since the rifle was shorter than the earlier Karabiner 98b from which it was derived (the 98b was a carbine in name only, being identical in length to the Gewehr 98 long rifle), it was given the designation Karabiner 98 Kurz, meaning "Carbine 98 Short". Just like its predecessor, the rifle was noted for its reliability, good accuracy and an effective range of up to 500 meters (547 yards) with iron sights.

The K98 was not only used by the German Army but also by other Axis forces and captured by Allied troops. It was highly regarded for its accuracy, and many American and British snipers preferred it over their issued rifles.  read more

Code: 25155

235.00 GBP

A Most Scarce, Edwardian, 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regt. Long Lee Enfield 1903 Bayonet, To Fit & Use With The Long Lee Enfield & The MK III SMLE Enfield

A Most Scarce, Edwardian, 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regt. Long Lee Enfield 1903 Bayonet, To Fit & Use With The Long Lee Enfield & The MK III SMLE Enfield

Edwardian period, maker marked by Chapman of Sheffield. Regimentally stamped, R.I, and dated 1903 and maker marked. Used from 1903 and right through WW1. Superb bright blade and russetted surface steel mounts, with steel mounted leather scabbard. The earliest WW1 Enfield Rifle Bayonet, made from the earlier 1888 bayonet pattern blade, and designed for the early Long Lee in 1903, with cleaning rod removed, yet also fitting it's pre war replacement the Short Magazine Lee Enfield. This pattern of rare bayonet was only made for four peacetime years from 1903 until 1907 when it was changed for the long blade 1907 SMLE pattern.
Made in relatively small numbers hence its rarity to survive today.

We bought the entire small collection from the widow of a 'Best of British Empire Rifles and Bayonets, Both British and German' collector, who acquired them over the past 40 years, and only ever kept the very best he could afford to keep. Act fast they are selling really fast, three rifles and eight bayonets and a cutlass have sold today alone. Top quality and condition,19th and 20th century scarce British and German collectables are always the most desirable of all.

A very brief history lesson of the 2nd Royal Irish during their first two months of WW1;
The men who served with the 2nd battalion during the first two months of the war partly because the events that unfolded between August and October 1914 are in themselves extraordinary. In a few short weeks there took place the first hostile contact between the British and the Germans at Mons, the crucial battle of Le Cateau, the long and hot retreat to the outskirts of Paris, the successes on the Marne and the stalling of the allies’ advance at the Aisne. Then, at the beginning of October 1914 the battalion was redeployed north and took part in the fighting around La Bassee. On the 20th of October at Le Pilly, they were surrounded and overwhelmed. All but 135 men and one officer were either killed, wounded and/or taken prisoner. This means that since they had disembarked in France on 14th August well over a thousand members of the battalion had become casualties. Such a casualty rate among the battalions of the First World War may not in itself be exceptional. However, what needs to be taken into account is the fact that many of those who proceeded to France with the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Regiment had been serving together for years and in some cases decades. Some may have fought together in the Boer War or have had a shared experience of the hardship of years of service in India. They genuinely were comrades in arms, which must have made the destruction of this regular army battalion all the more affecting for those who survived. The first day of the Somme may well have produced equally shocking statistics. However, the close camaraderie of the regular army was by then a thing of the past and replaced by a weary acceptance of the brutalities of trench warfare and an understanding that too great an investment in those around you was best avoided. It is the poignancy of all those friendships and long-standing associations torn asunder in eight short weeks that makes this tale so compelling. ref; PATRICK63223 IWM

Ten battalions of the regiment saw service during the First World War (1914-18). They suffered over 3,200 killed in action and thousands more wounded in places such as Le-Pilly, Gullimont, Ginchy, Salonika, Mesopotamia and Palestine.

Members of the Royal Irish were also the first British Army troops to confront the Irish rebels during the Easter Rising of 1916.
The IWM 'Lives of WW1' is a remarkable website community to learn so much about the stories of the regiments and their gallant men in the Great War, heroes, one and all!  read more

Code: 25147

395.00 GBP

NOW SOLD An Exceptional, 5 Star, German WW1 Mauser Gew98 Butcher Bayonet With Original Scabbard, Dated 1916

NOW SOLD An Exceptional, 5 Star, German WW1 Mauser Gew98 Butcher Bayonet With Original Scabbard, Dated 1916

With traditional 'butcher' blade. Designed to fit the Mauser Gew 98 rifle. The Seitengewehr 98/05 was introduced into the the Prussian army in late 1905, as a replacement for the 98/02 for engineers and pioneer troops, as the 98/02 was deemed to long and heavy for it's intended purpose. Initial production was in two versions, the first plain backed, and the second with 29 double teeth. The scabbard was leather with steel throat and chape mounts, later changed to all steel that was better for trench warfare combat. The bayonet as typical of German blades did not have more than a vestigial muzzle ring, relying on the length of the hilt mounting to fix the blade to its rifle. The plain back version was identified as the S98/05 or S98/05 o.S. (ohne Säge - without saw) and the saw back as the S98/05 S or m.S. (mit Säge - with saw).

We bought the entire small collection from the widow of a 'Best of British Empire Rifles and Bayonets, Both British and German' collector, who acquired them over the past 40 years, and only ever kept the very best he could afford to keep. Act fast they are selling really fast, three rifles and four bayonets and a cutlass have sold today alone. Top quality and condition,19th and 20th century scarce British and German collectables are always the most desirable of all.

Excellent condition, and very scarce to get a rust free example, both blade and scabbard, with a near mint blade and maker marked by one of the most desirable of makers, Simson of Suhl. Plus it’s original ordnance stamped scabbard.

The Mauser Gew98 Sawback 'Butcher' bayonet could be issued with a sawback in WW1 but was soon altered by the German soldiers, by way of the removal of the sawback edge. It was commonly alleged that a German soldier captured alive with his 'Sawback' intact would be immediately killed by his allied captors, as the gruesomeness of the bayonet was much resented by the allied soldiers. This bayonet however is completely intact with no sawback. Excellent condition, with scabbard. Fully German ordnance marked and dated 1916. A super, piece in nice order.

The Gewehr 98 (abbreviated G98, Gew 98, or M98) is a German bolt-action rifle made by Mauser, firing cartridges from a five-round internal clip-loaded magazine. It was the German service rifle from 1898 to 1935, when it was replaced by the Karabiner 98k, a shorter weapon using the same basic design. The Gewehr 98 action, using a stripper clip loaded with the 7.92×57mm Mauser cartridge, successfully combined and improved several bolt-action engineering concepts which were soon adopted by many other countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, and Japan.2 The Gewehr 98 replaced the earlier Gewehr 1888 as the main German service rifle. It first saw combat in the Chinese Boxer Rebellion and was the main German infantry service rifle of World War I. The Gewehr 98 saw further military use by the Ottoman Empire and Nationalist Spain.

14.5 inch blade

The overall condition is excellent, with wooden grips. Overall 20.5 inches long, blade length 14.5 inches.  read more

Code: 25149

SOLD

The Rarest Enfield 'Hook Quillon' 1907 Pattern Bayonet Issued in 1911

The Rarest Enfield 'Hook Quillon' 1907 Pattern Bayonet Issued in 1911

Probably for many collectors, especially Australian, it is the most desirable and rarest regulation bayonet ever made or issued. This is an original 1907 Pattern SMLE sword bayonet, but, most importantly, it is the early example, with its long hook quillon still intact. The adapted removed or shortened type outnumber the rare original hook quillon type, probably, by several tens of thousand to 1. This example was made in 1911, bearing it's original King Edwards Crown, with ER stamp and Enfield maker stamp. And as was standard issue to the WW1, ANZAC, Australian Light Horse. The hook quillon SMLE issue bayonet, is a the very pinnacle of Great War bayonet collecting. They were used predominantly by the Australian Infantry and Light Horse Brigade in WW1, and due to their use in Gallipoli and the dessert were never returned to the ordnance for regulatory quillon removal as was instructed. In over 45 years we have had barely a handful of these rarest full hook quillon bayonets in original condition and unaltered, but the regular type we have handled, by comparison, many many thousands in the same period of time. Australian Light horse were like mounted infantry in that they usually fought dismounted, using their horses as transport to the battlefield and as a means of swift disengagement when retreating or retiring. A famous exception to this rule though was the charge of the 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments at Beersheba on 31 October 1917. In 1918, some light horse regiments were equipped with sabres, enabling them to fight in a conventional cavalry role in the advance on Damascus. However, unlike mounted infantry, the light horse also performed certain cavalry roles, such as scouting and screening, while mounted.
The light horse were organised along cavalry rather than infantry lines. A light horse regiment, although technically equivalent to an infantry battalion in terms of command level, contained only 25 officers and 400 men as opposed to an infantry battalion that consisted of around 1,000 men. Around a quarter of this nominal strength (or one man in each section of 4) could be allotted to horse-holding duties when the regiment entered combat. A regiment was divided into three squadrons, designated "A", "B" and "C" (equivalent to a company), and a squadron divided into four troops (equivalent to but smaller than a platoon). Each troop was divided into about 10 four-man sections. When dismounting for combat, one man from each section would take the reins of the other three men's horses and lead them out of the firing line where he would remain until called upon. By the outbreak of World War I, there were 23 light horse regiments within Australia's part-time military force, consisting of 9,000 personnel. These were organised as follows:
1st Light Horse Brigade (Queensland): 1st (Central Queensland), 2nd (Queensland Mounted Infantry), 3rd (Darling Downs), 4th (Northern Rivers Lancers) and 27th (North Queensland) Light Horse Regiments
2nd Light Horse Brigade (New South Wales): 5th (New England) and 6th (Hunter River Lancers) Light Horse Regiments
3rd Light Horse Brigade (New South Wales): 7th (New South Wales Lancers), 9th (New South Wales Mounted Rifles), 11th (Australian Horse) and 28th (Illawarra) Light Horse Regiments
5th Light Horse Brigade (Victoria): 13th (Gippsland), 15th (Victorian Mounted Rifles), and 16th (Indi) Light Horse Regiments
7th Light Horse Brigade (Victoria): 17th (Campaspe), 19th (Yarrowee), and 20th (Corangamite) and 29th (Port Phillip Horse) Light Horse Regiments
8th Light Horse Brigade (South Australia): 22nd (South Australian Mounted Rifles), 23rd (Barossa), and 24th (Flinders) Light Horse Regiments
25th (Western Australian Mounted Infantry) Light Horse Regiment
26th (Tasmanian Mounted Infantry) Light Horse Regiment. The bayonet has excellent markings to the blade and it's scabbard leather but the any surviving regt markings on the steel hilt mounts are now fully obscured by age.  read more

Code: 19952

895.00 GBP

NOW SOLD A Birmingham Small Arms, SMLE MKIII Rifle with Early WW1 Cut-Off, To Enable Single Shot Firing Without Emptying the Magazine. The Cut-Off Device Was Then Removed From Service Use Early On Into WW1

NOW SOLD A Birmingham Small Arms, SMLE MKIII Rifle with Early WW1 Cut-Off, To Enable Single Shot Firing Without Emptying the Magazine. The Cut-Off Device Was Then Removed From Service Use Early On Into WW1

An absolute corker, in super condition for age, with excellent plus stock with effectively no bruising or damage, and, fabulous colour. Even some elements of original steel blueing. In our opinion it may be highly unlikely to ever see a better looking example.

We show one photo in the gallery of it with our early, hook quillon, 1907 pattern SMLE bayonet, for demonstration purposes only {not included}

Made one of the the most desirable British manufacturers of the SMLE production, Birmingham Small Arms. The standard issue rifle of the British and Commonwealth armed forces during WW1 and WW2. Good tight action De-activated. A redesign of the Lee-Metford which had been adopted by the British Army in 1888, the Lee-Enfield superseded the earlier Martini-Henry, Martini-Enfield, and Lee-Metford rifles. It featured a ten-round box magazine which was loaded with the .303 British cartridge manually from the top, either one round at a time or by means of five-round chargers. The Lee-Enfield was the standard issue weapon to rifle companies of the British Army and other Commonwealth nations in both the First and Second World Wars (these Commonwealth nations included Canada, Australia and South Africa, among others). Although officially replaced in the UK with the L1A1 SLR in 1957, it remained in widespread British service until the early 1960s and the 7.62 mm L42 sniper variant remained in service until the 1990s. As a standard-issue infantry rifle, it is still found in service in the armed forces of some Commonwealth nations, notably with the Indian Police, which makes it the longest-serving military bolt-action rifle still in official service.The Canadian Forces' Rangers Arctic reserve unit still use Enfield 4 rifles as of 2012, with plans announced to replace the weapons sometime in 2014 or 2015.

The Lee-Enfield takes its name from the designer of the rifle's bolt system—James Paris Lee—and the factory in which it was designed—the Royal Small Arms Factory in Enfield. In Australia, New Zealand, Southern Africa and Canada the rifle became known simply as the "303".

The magazine cut-off was a device that separated the cartridges loaded in the magazine from the bolt/receiver, preventing the bolt from picking up a cartridge and feeding it into the chamber when the bolt was cycled closed.

There is lots of speculation about the purpose of the magazine cut-off, whether it was a safety device, a single loading device and so on. Below, is an excerpt from the British Musketry Regs' of one time detailing the purpose of the magazine cut-off.

Musketry Regulations Section 53 Para's 264 and 265 264. Troops armed with rifles fitted with safety catches will invariably set the catch to safety before movement. The use of the cut-off is to be confined in their case to occasions when they are not actually engaged with the enemy, when it may be employed for the purpose either of charging the magazine without inserting a cartridge in the chamber, or to unload the rifle while retaining cartridges in the magazine. It is never to be used to enable the rifle to be used as a single loader, and is not to supersede the use of the safety catch. In the case of rifles which have no safety catches, the cut-off will be pressed in and the rifle unloaded on all occasions.

The other most quoted purpose of the magazine cut-off was to separate the 10 rounds loaded in the magazine for reserve or emergency use. Basically converting the rifle to a single loader until an order was given to open the cut-off for rapid fire, such as when a unit may be surprised by a cavalry charge etc. This purpose is based on the old school tradition of volley firing where troops were seldom allowed to fire-at-will. Fire discipline was rigidly controlled by a senior NCO or Officer at almost all times.

We have three bayonets that were made for it, and all fit it beautifully, and would potentially be a great addition to it. But, sold separately. 1st } The most rare 1903 Pattern Edwardian Lee Enfield short sword bayonet, 2nd } a pre war Edwardian '07 hook quillon SMLE bayonet, and 3rd} an Edwardian '07 regulation SMLE long sword bayonet. All with issue scabbards.

Deactivated. Not for sale to under 18's. As with all our deactivated guns no license is required as they are all unrestricted, but for sale within non EU countries only, not suitable to export  read more

Code: 25146

SOLD

A WW2 PPK Semi Auto Pistol Holster of a Luftwaffe Officer WW2 Souvenir of a British Officer During Operation Overlord

A WW2 PPK Semi Auto Pistol Holster of a Luftwaffe Officer WW2 Souvenir of a British Officer During Operation Overlord

Mid tan leather flap holster with forward magazine pouch. In super condition, with rear belt loop, and a customised slit in the belt loop top, to fit the officers crossbelt through. Once housing one of the 6,000 PPK's purchased by the Luftwaffe for its officers and pilots. A 3 commando holster set was acquired by us with this German Luftwaffe officers PPK holster but offered separately. After WW2 the officer kept his Browning and the Walther PPK as souvenirs, but surrendered his Browning and the Walther to the police in the 1960's. We acquired both holsters from his grandson. If he had gained permission to keep the Luftwaffe serial numbered PPK it would have been a most valuable piece today, even deactivated.

The Luftwaffe bought more than 500,000 pistols during World War Two, including not only Walthers but also the Luger, P38, HSc, CZ38, Femaru 37, and FN 1922. Identifying Luftwaffe-issue Walthers is tricky, as they were not specifically marked – but it is known of a few specific pistol serial number batches.

As with other state and military organisations, Walthers made for the Luftwaffe were sold as special contracts, with unique serial numbering procedures. Specifically, Luftwaffe guns will have magazines serialised on their floor plates. The three specifically known groups are:

From 1940, about 1800 guns chambered for 9x17mm, between 198,000P and 202,000P
From 1941/2, about 12,000 PPs in .32 calibre between 216,000P and 229,000P
From 1941/2, about 6,000 PPKs in .32 calibre serial numbered between 297,000k and 304,000k.

On D-Day, the 1st Special Service Brigade was tasked with linking up with the 6th Airborne Division on the eastern flank of Sword and securing the high ground near La Plein.57 No. 3 Commando landed at La Breche, west of Ouistreham at 09:0560 coming ashore in the second wave. They were engaged before they hit the beach, and three of the landing craft that the Commandos were travelling in were hit by high-velocity shells. Casualties were high, with No. 6 Troop suffering at least 20 wounded, but in the end they were lower than had been expected.61

Despite one of the landing craft running aground on a false beach, the majority of the unit crossed the beach and reached the form-up point about 1,000 yards (910 m) inland.62 Apart from the men from No. 6 Troop which had been wounded in their landing craft, the commanding officer, Peter Young, found that his command was largely intact. Nevertheless, he was unable to begin the advance immediately as the narrow route upon which they were to march was blocked by No. 6 Commando. As a result they were held up in the form-up point for a while, where they were subjected to more German mortar fire.63

A black and white photograph of a jeep with soldiers sitting on top and standing beside it. The soldiers sitting on the jeep are three German soldiers and one British soldier who is interrogating the Germans. On the bonnet of the jeep is small motorcycle, while in the background is a Horsa glider
Commandos from the 1st Special Service Brigade with captured German soldiers near Ranville on 7 June 1944
Later, No. 3 Commando resumed the advance, passing through No. 45 (Royal Marine) Commando's positions in Collevile and marching along the road to Saint-Aubin-d'Arquenay where they met up again with No. 6 Commando. From there they advanced quickly to the bridge that spanned the River Orne, where they linked up with the airborne and glider troops that had seized the bridge in the early hours of the morning.64 Crossing the bridge, which was still under fire from enemy snipers, Peter Young made contact with the airborne headquarters and was told to take the unit to Le Bas de Ranville instead of advancing on Cabourg. Detaching No. 3 Troop to capture Amfreville and Le Plein, the rest of the No. 3 Commando took up positions as ordered, but were shortly relieved and were able to rejoin No. 3 Troop, tasked with holding the high ground around Le Plein.64


Commandos of 1st Special Service Brigade digging in near Horsa gliders on 6th Airborne's lodgement zone east of the River Orne, 7 June 1944.
On 7 June, a combined force from Nos. 4 and 5 Troops under command of the second-in-command, Major John Pooley, carried out an attack on the Merville battery near the coast where there were still guns firing on the landing beaches.65 The battery had been taken the previous day by a force from the 9th Parachute Battalion, but had been reoccupied later by the Germans66 and it was heavily defended by mortars and landmines. Approaching from the south, No. 4 Troop moved across the open ground before taking up position behind the hedgerows 300 yards from the battery and from where laid down covering fire for No. 5 Troop which approached from the east with fixed bayonets.67

After a stubborn defence, in which a number of Commandos, including Pooley, were killed, they took the battery, however, shortly afterwards they were counterattacked by German force supported by self-propelled artillery.68 Casualties during this attack were high and eventually the Commandos were forced to withdraw back to La Plein.68

Following this the unit became involved in largely defensive operations as the 1st Special Service Brigade dug in.69 Nevertheless they kept up the pressure on the Germans by carrying out offensive patrols, small scale raids and sniping.70 In mid-July a breakout from the beachhead was attempted and the 1st Special Service Brigade moved through the Le Bois de Bavent, a large wooded area, as the Germans began to withdraw.71 No. 3 Commando was involved in this advance, moving to Varaville where they caught up with the German rearguard and proceeded to clear the village. The advance continued into the following month and on 19 August they were ordered to seize the high ground to the north of Dozule. Attacking at night, the brigade advanced with No. 3 Commando leading the main body behind the vanguard and was able to infiltrate the German positions before the lead sections ran into the German headquarters units.72

Over the next five days, the brigade advanced a further 40 miles (64 km) before a halt was finally called on 26 August 1944  read more

Code: 25144

265.00 GBP