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British holster for a small revolver


msdt
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My apologies, I thought I included the link.....Sassoons Webley was displayed as a component of the WW1 Centenary, over 350 items on loan from the Imperial War Museum. I took the photograph in July last year.

http://museumvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/whatson/the-ww1-centenary-exhibition/

Part of around the world tour for these items..

Robert

Robert,

Many thanks for that important link, it was very helpful, and it enabled me to track down an Imperial War Museum photograph of Siegfried Sassoon's Mk VI Webley Service Revolver, which is indeed held by the Imperial War Museum, and if you look closely at the distinctive pitting marks on the front of the barrel shown in the Melbourne exhibit, it is the same barrel pitting marks as shown on the ' Sassoon ' Webley Mk VI held by the Imperial War Museum and currently on world tour.

So obviously, Captain S. Sassoon had a Webley Mk. VI Service Revolver before getting his Colt Service Revolver, which he then changed for his Browning .32 Semi-Automatic Pistol.

Regards,

LF

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It may well be that Sassoon had small hands, and therefore a Mk VI Webley or a Colt New Service would have been uncomfortable for him making the Colt feel 'clumsy' with the small auto being preferable. I agree with LF, the Colt N.S does feel to me that it has a longer trigger reach compared to the Webley or S&W large frame revolvers. Still the larger and heavier revolvers absorbs the recoil better and make a dandy club.

khaki

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MikB,

I appreciate all your good information, it is confusing when the general written reference is to 7.62 mm as being a comparison to the .32, in connection with the earlier WW1 Pistols, when clearly there seems to be many other variations also ranging from 7.62 - 7.65 mm.

Several other of my Semi-Automatic Pistols, such as the later WW2 Semi-Automatic Walther Pistols, notably the Walther PP and PPK, are marked as 7.65 mm.

Here for comparison is my WW1 Harrington & Richardson .32 Semi-Automatic Pistol alongside my WW2 Walther PP 7.65 mm and my Walther PPK ( RZM Political Leader's Pistol ) 7.65 mm Semi-Automatic Pistols, with both the Walther's Magazines also marked 7.65 mm.

Regards,

LF

Very nice selection of pistols LF, I used to have the Webley a few years ago, but in a weak moment I let it go,

regards

khaki

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So obviously, Captain S. Sassoon had a Webley Mk. VI Service Revolver before getting his Colt Service Revolver, which he then changed for his Browning .32 Semi-Automatic Pistol.

Regards,

LF

I don't see all that as necessarily obvious. Sassoon, by his own account, was no aficionado of firearms.

"Not that I'd ever been fond of firearms . . . . " he wrote. I find it credible that this lack of interest, and the passage of 20 years might have led him to mistakenly, or poetically, to refer to his revolver as a Colt.

I also feel pretty sure that the semi-auto was a back up, not a replacement. He states that it was (to him) a "plaything which could be slipped into the pocket" (note: not holstered). "Quite a charming little weapon."

He also states that "the man in the Weapon Department at the Army & Navy Stores" had advises that the pistol "wasn't warranted to stop a man."

All foregoing quotes in italics are from Part III (Before The Push) of "Memoirs of an Infantry Officer". (Faber and Faber 1937.) I feel sure that he makes a later very brief reference to the s/auto pistol either when he was leaving Craiglockhart, or when he was subsequently packing to return to his Battalion, but offhand I cannot find it, though I seem to recall that he was debating with himself as to whether to take it with him.

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I don't see all that as necessarily obvious. Sassoon, by his own account, was no aficionado of firearms.

SD,

I have not suggested anywhere that Siegfried Sassoon was an ' aficionado of firearms ', so I am confused as to where you get that from. I am quoting facts relating to his known ownership of 3 different firearms, which is not in dispute. We know from his Webley Mk VI being displayed at the Imperial War Museum that he owned the Webley, we know from his own written account that he owned a Colt revolver, and we also know from his own written account that he owned a Browning, so why is that not " necessarily obvious " ?? I do not think you read post # 51 properly.

Regards,

LF

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"Afficionado" etc. - my words to explain that SS had little interest in guns. Nothing to do with anything that you have written.

We only have Sassoon's reference to a Colt. I suggest the possibility that as a man who claimed to have no interest in firearms, Sassoon (writing 20 years later) may have called his revolver a Colt. It may seem odd to you that he might do this, but he was an odd aesthetic remember, writing 20 years after events. I have no way of knowing for sure, but I put it forward as a possibility. We have hard, primary evidence - the artefacts themselves - that he owned a Webley and a Browning, nothing for a Colt.

However, we do not know from his written account that he owned a Browning - he simply refers to his "automatic pistol" in a few places. It seems to have survived, having been given to a friend who eventually deposited it in a museum - from this we know it is a Browning.

Elsewhere, he just refers to his "pistol" - it is not clear whether he means his s/auto or his service calibre revolver. He confesses to losing confidence in it.

If you can find a reference in his memoirs to a Browning, good for you. Maybe that is something else that I haven't read properly.

Anyway, I dislike the underlying frisson of prickly defensiveness that is developing in this thread, so I'll leave it for others to carry on the discussion if interest remains.

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Anyway, I dislike the underlying frisson of prickly defensiveness that is developing in this thread, so I'll leave it for others to carry on the discussion if interest remains.

SD,

The only ' prickly defensiveness ' developing is your post # 57, however, certainly feel free to leave the posting here in the capable hands to those having a genuine interest in this Thread, if that is your choice.

For my part, I have only used credible and reliable references, including Sassoon's own words.

There were only 60,000 .455 Colt Revolvers issued to the British Army during WW1, why would Sassoon refer to an obscure American made ' Colt ' revolver unless he had direct knowledge of that seldom encountered type of revolver, were he just wishing to refer to any revolver ( not specifically a Colt ), as you claim, why then would Sassoon not have made reference to a Webley, or just referred to a ' Revolver ', we know he previously owned a Webley Mk VI, and the Webley was in common every day usage at the Front, rather than being extremely specific in his writings and referring directly to the far less encountered American Colt Revolver, Sassoon is quoted as writing :-

" I was weary of my Colt revolver, with which I knew I couldn't hit anything ", and " to blow one's brains out with that clumsy Colt was unthinkable ".

Or are you presuming that what he really meant to say, was " I was weary of my whats it's name thingamajig gun type thing , with which I knew I couldn't hit anything ", and " to blow one's brains out with that clumsy Webley, or perhaps it was a Browning, no it was that American one, you know the one I mean, was unthinkable "

I think it is extremely presumptuous for anyone to claim that Sassoon was mistaken when he makes written references to his ' Colt ' Revolver, and that he did really not mean to say/write ' Colt '.

Likewise, the Browning Semi-Automatic Pistol on display at the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum, is also engraved ' S. Sassoon 1 RWF '.

Kind regards,

LF

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Well, I too think Sassoon probably wouldn't've confused Webley and Colt, but OTOH it seems to me you have shown a few prickles, Lanc.

When I saw his Browning 1900 on the Antiques Roadshow, I was a little surprised because I'd read his description of the automatic as a 'quite a charming little weapon' and had assumed that he must've had a 1910, which fits that description a bit better - simpler, neater and with fewer sharp edges.

In any case, we've been talking off the OP's topic for a couple of pages here, because it looks gin-clear to me from the bumps and bulges on the holster in the pic that what lived in there for some considerable time was a stirrup-latched breaktop revolver as discussed on the first page.

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I agree that Sassoon was probably well aware of the revolver he was referring to, he being an obviously intelligent man and an experienced Front-Line Army Captain, and also that the OP's small pistol case had for a long period of time contained a small pistol similar to that of a Webley Pocket Pistol.

As to my imagined ' prickles ' it may just be that as you get to my age, you are a lot wiser but less tolerant when provoked, or it may also be a good example of biblical justification as in ' II Corinthians 11 : 13 '.

Regards,

LF

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Here is a Webley Mark I Revolver with it's smaller leather holster, which shows very similar holster usage markings to Tony's holster as in post # 1.

LF

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I think it likely that SS would not only have been introduced to types of revolvers by army experience, recommendations by fellow officers and even possibly by Army & Navy stores sales persons, even if he had no particular interest in handguns.

khaki

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I agree that Sassoon was probably well aware of the revolver he was referring to, he being an obviously intelligent man and an experienced Front-Line Army Captain, and also that the OP's small pistol case had for a long period of time contained a small pistol similar to that of a Webley Pocket Pistol.

As to my imagined ' prickles ' it may just be that as you get to my age, you are a lot wiser but less tolerant when provoked, or it may also be a good example of biblical justification as in ' II Corinthians 11 : 13 '.

Regards,

LF

And what on earth is that supposed to mean?

On second thoughts, forget it - like Stoppage Drill, I'm out of this one now.

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And what on earth is that supposed to mean?

"For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve".

Non sequitur at best, rather bizarre otherwise.

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"For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve".

Non sequitur at best, rather bizarre otherwise.

Jack,

To be exact, my Corinithian's quote related to William Tyndale's 1534 translation of the King James Bible, which is thought to be the origin of the English idiom " not to suffer fools gladly ".

Regards,

LF

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Well, this post has certainly taken on a life of its own!

Re my holster, I'll get a shot this coming weekend end on to try and show the width of the revolver. LF's shot above is a very similar looking holster, but the revolver is .455 so be interested to see if mine more matches a .38/.32 as originally postulated by posters.

Cheers,

Tony

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Re my holster, I'll get a shot this coming weekend end on to try and show the width of the revolver. LF's shot above is a very similar looking holster, but the revolver is .455 so be interested to see if mine more matches a .38/.32 as originally postulated by posters.

Tony

Tony,

I shall see if the dimensions of the Webley Pocket Pistol are shown, and if so, I shall post them as they should help when matched against your holster.

Regards,

LF

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Re my holster, I'll get a shot this coming weekend end on to try and show the width of the revolver. LF's shot above is a very similar looking holster, but the revolver is .455 so be interested to see if mine more matches a .38/.32 as originally postulated by posters.

Tony,

The only dimension quoted in the Webley reference books for the 3 inch barrel Pocket Pistol in .38 calibre, is it's overall length, which may still be useful, of 8 inches, which I assume is from the outside edge of the butt to the barrel muzzle.

Your holster has a very good ' cylinder ' impression, and with the length of a revolver's barrel measured from the front of the cylinder to the muzzle, you can probably work out length of barrel used in your holster from that cylinder impression.

Regards,

LF

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Not one, but several different references state 7.62 mm, also, here is the headstamp for a 7.62 Semi-Automatic Pistol round, so clearly they did exist.

Regards,

LF

The round you illustrate is a 7.62 x 25 Russian Tokarev cartridge which is a bottleneck confuguration introduced into service in 1930 as a Soviet version of the 7.63 mauser pistol cartridge . It bears no resemblance to the 7.65 x 17 SR cartridge (aka .32 Browning, .32 ACP and 7.65 Browning) and will not inter change. there were no 7.62 designated pistol cartridges manufactured before the Tokarev.

Siegfried Sassoon's secondary pistol was a Browning Model M1900 chambered in 7.65 x 17SR. This was a government approved cartridge and was carried in UK government stores.

Any reference you have to the Brownings being Chambered in any form of 7.62 mm caliber is obviously a typographical error or the product of incorrect research

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Any reference you have to the Brownings being Chambered in any form of 7.62 mm caliber is obviously a typographical error or the product of incorrect research

Radlad,

Many thanks for following up, and although I have a large firearms collection of revolvers, pistols and rifles, I am not an expert on ammunition, other than knowing what to use in my firearms.

My reference to 7.62 initially arose from an article written by the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum, which has Sassoon's Browning Semi-Automatic Pistol, in which they describe Sassoon's Browning as a 7.62 Browning, and I accept that could be a error on their part, plus in relation to my Harrington & Richardson .32 Semi-Automatic Pistol, a well known writer of firearms reference books, Gordon Bruce ( see my post #35 ) shows the comparative mm round for my .32 as being the 7.62 mm, hence my confusion with the information being given in this Thread.

In the past couple of days I have read some original Webley specifications for their .32 Semi-Automatic Pistol, and Webley, unlike Gordon Bruce, describe their .32 as being .32/7.65 mm.

Anyway, it is an interesting topic and I am certainly open to your comments and opinions.

Again, thanks for the information.

Regards,

LF

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The holster appears reasonably large for a small auto,

khaki

khaki,

I have since read that Winston Churchill in addition to owning a .32 Webley Semi-Automatic Pistol, also owned the larger Webley 9 mm Semi-Automatic Pistol, which was a gift to him from his one-time classmate and friend John Moore Brabazon in 1911, which could be the large Pistol he is carrying in the previous photograph.

The serial number for Churchill's Webley 9 mm was 55419, and it was engraved on the left-side of the breech-piece ' W.S.C. FROM J.M.B. 1911 ', it must have been a fine looking pistol as it was fitted with custom stockplates made from Buffalo horn.

Regards,

LF

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Winston Churchill was an avid shooter and collector. After his death, most of his collection were auctioned off in London. There were several hundred items, many of which were presentation pieces and engraved. The Auction catalogues were extremely descriptive to include serial numbers , photos, details of engraving, if any and provenance . I attended one of these auctions with my father and will look through his old diaries for dates and auction company details. For interested researchers, the catalogues should still be held in the archives of the British Library. The only item I clearly remember was a chromium plated Sten Gun , presented to him with gratefull thanks from the residents of an English City.

Pictures and basic details of a few of the items were featured in the auction pages of Guns Review magazine at the time

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  • 2 weeks later...

Right, some more pictures of my holster from different angles. Something interesting has come to light, there is a bulge on the right hand side forward of the cylinder. I have tried to capture it in the shots. Does this point at a different revolver to the Webleys after all???

Cheers,

Tony

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I have worn many tracks back and forth looking at your photographs in the OP, and also the useful photographs supplied by others, I have a good working knowledge of revolvers both civilian and military however in this case based on the frame size the revolver is 99% likely to be civilian. Now a lot of 19th century revolvers like the Bulldog/RIC models have an ejector rod that sits under the barrel and pivots to the side to complete the ejection process so as the rod is covered from above by the barrel it wouldn't create a ghost image on the holster. That leaves the Webley line which are either too big or do not use the cylinder guide so I can exclude them as well. The only two that remain (outside of unusual foreign models) that have a button on the ejector rod would be the 1878 Tranter, again too big, the finalist in my opinion is the M1877 Colt DA revolver in 38 or 41 caliber, lightning/thunderer

It has all the characteristics that would leave impressions on a holster. Finally and a big caveat is if you look closely at the holster the cylinder impression appears to be not in line with the leading/upper edge of the holster, that suggests to me, as I mentioned before, that the holster maybe designed for a different revolver and may have been a ' marriage of convenience', nothing too unusual in that. All of the foregoing is of course just my opinion and needs to be confirmed by trying the revolvers mentioned.

khaki

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