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Ministry of Munitions purchasing pistols in 1920


mbriscoe
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In July 1920 the Ministry of Munitions were advertising for .45 and .455 service pistols.

Surely the army were not short of pistols at the end of WWI, was this an early attempt to reduce the number of guns available to the public?

 

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 31 July 1920

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There were never enough in WW1, and there were adventures going on in Ireland and Russia around this time which might have upped demand a bit.

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14 minutes ago, MikB said:

There were never enough in WW1, and there were adventures going on in Ireland and Russia around this time which might have upped demand a bit.

The numbers involved in Ireland and Russia were small compared to the numbers armed in WWI.  Perhaps too many had kept their pistols at the end of the war!

At the same time were advertising tanks, anti-aircraft guns, howitzers etc for sale!

Quote

Tanks for Sale.
Souvenirs in the form of tanks of the whippet variety, guns for anti aircraft and Field Artillery batteries, howitzers up to 8-inch, shells, bombs?, and other warlike stores may be purchased from the Ministry of Munitions. Their sale prices have already been fixed. An 18-pounder quick-firing gun can be bought for £5 18s. 2d., and 6-inch howitzers for £19 9s. 6d. (26 cwt.) and £20 8s. 4d. (30 cwt.). In addition, a charge will be made for rendering each gun innocuous. Field gun carriages are obtainable for less than £30, but those suitable for howitzers cost rather more than £43 and £68.

 

Edited by mbriscoe
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2 hours ago, mbriscoe said:

In July 1920 the Ministry of Munitions were advertising for .45 and .455 service pistols.

Surely the army were not short of pistols at the end of WWI, was this an early attempt to reduce the number of guns available to the public?

 

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 31 July 1920

Yes,  an early attempt at reducing the number of firearms around because of the situation in Ireland and the fear of a general revolution is in Russia and Germany 1917-1918. 

In this the government has never waivered. Every government has tried to reduce the number of firearms available to the UK public since 1916.

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The advertisements continued on into 1921. In the end just under 6,000 were purchased. Enfield had to recondition quite a number. This shows up in their factory accounts for 1923.

My understanding is that the pistols were required solely due to shortage. The government first tried to exercise some control on handguns with the Pistol Act 1903 but the first big act affecting rifles and pistol was the Firearms Act 1920.

 

Regards

 

AlanD

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It is not unknown for stocks to be sold off then almost immediately it to be realised the items were needed and a need to restock.  It was reported early in the COVID pandemic that the French had disposed of large stocks of PPE, mostly burnt rather than donated to charities or Third World countries.

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They were short of revolvers, and buying them back from demobilised officers (who had retained them as their personal property) was one way of trying to deal with it. 

Manufacture at Enfield was another, though I suspect it was makework to stop them having to discharge skilled workmen as much as dissatisfaction with Webley & Scott. 

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