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US Officer's WWI British-proofed .45 ACP Colt Government Model Pistol

Article about: Here for your viewing pleasure are photos of my WWI British-proofed .45ACP Colt Government Model pistol C 13731 which was 1 of 300 shipped to the London Armoury Company on November 18 1914.

  1. #1

    Default US Officer's WWI British-proofed .45 ACP Colt Government Model Pistol

    Here for your viewing pleasure are photos of my WWI British-proofed .45ACP Colt Government Model pistol C 13731 which was 1 of 300 shipped to the London Armoury Company on November 18 1914. The London Commercial proof and view marks (Crown/V and Crown/intertwined GP) are visible on top of barrel and on left side of slide above Rampant Colt and left side of frame below thumb safety. The accompanying US Model 1912 holster is marked 1st LT G C Wilkins. The owner of this pistol was 1st Lt George Carl Wilkins, a 1918 Harvard Graduate. He entered Officers' Training Camp at Plattsburg NY in May 1917; commissioned 1st Lt Infantry August 15; assigned to 301st Machine Gun Battalion, 76th Division and sailed for France July 8, 1918. He was transferred to the 146th Machine Gun Battalion, 41st Division on November 9 1918 and returned to the U.S. on February 25, 1919. He transferred to the 153rd Depot Brigade, Camp Dix on 27 February and was discharged on 25 May 1919.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: US Officer's WWI British-proofed .45 ACP Colt Government Model Pistol

    great looking 45 you have there.


    John
    I specialize in M1 carbines and Lugers.

  3. #3
    ?

    Default Re: US Officer's WWI British-proofed .45 ACP Colt Government Model Pistol

    Sorry, don't mean to rain on your parade, it is a beautiful and rare version of the M1911 pistol, you have a lot to be proud of.

    But I have a question; these pistols were sold to the British government for their use and they were issued to British troops. How did your American lieutenant get it? Did either the 76th or 41st Division serve under British control? Some American troops did and received No.1 Mk. III rifles but officers supplied their own weapons. It seems to me more likely that the holster was the only thing that was his, a collector later put the British surplus pistol in that holster and there ya go.

    Again, I am sorry but unless you purchased it from him or his estate and have signed documentation that it was his service pistol, I would be skeptical. As I said above, the gun is rare and desirable without the story.

  4. #4

    Default Re: US Officer's WWI British-proofed .45 ACP Colt Government Model Pistol

    Hi USNV5: Thanks for your remarks. As I understand it this holster has been with the pistol from the beginning. Althought I don't have a signed document; I'll go with the physical evidence and would disagee that this is a put together job. First of all, this pistol mwas not part of any official British Government contract as were the later .455 Colt Government Model pistols. It was shipped to Colt's London Armoury Agency which handled commercial sales in the UK as can been seen by the London Commercial Proof and View marks on the barrle and frame. It has no British military property, proof or viewing marks whatsoever (see my post on the 1917 .455 British contract Colt Governement Model which does have these marks). Such pistols sold commerically by the London Armoury Agency were private purchases by British or tother officers who initially had to purchase their own firearms. This pistol was not sold to or issued by the British Government. Since officers did supply their own weapons this may have been a private purchase. Secondly, the US did not have enough ships to transport forces to France, and this lack was a major obstacle to the war effort. After lengthy discussions in early 1918, the British agreed to transport infantry, machine gun, signal, and engineer units for six divisions in their ships. Upon arrival in France, these units were to train with the British. The British executed the program in the early spring of 1918, eventually moving the 4th, 27th, 28th, 30th, 33d, 35th, 77th, 78th, 80th, and 82d Divisions. The 39th, 40th, 41st, 76th, 83d, and 85th Divisions served as depot organizations. Shortly thereafter Pershing revised the replacement system for the AEF. Instead of relying on a replacement and school division and a base and training division for each army corps,The depot division processed casuals into the theater, and the replacement battalions forwarded them to the units. Both the 41st and 76th served as depot/replacement divisions and 1st Lt Wilkins served in both.
    Last edited by varifleman; 08-02-2013 at 12:17 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: US Officer's WWI British-proofed .45 ACP Colt Government Model Pistol

    I think there's a good chance this officer was sent to the UK for further training (The US forces had never fought trench warfare and had to learn the hard lessons already learnt by the allies) prior to departing for France. In his time here he purchased his own side arm from the London Armoury and it would need to be in .45 auto as per US standard of the time. I assume that there isn't a ENGLAND stamp proving it wasn't imported back to the US since the 1950s (Was in the 50s the import country first appeared?)

  6. #6

    Default Re: US Officer's WWI British-proofed .45 ACP Colt Government Model Pistol

    Hi m3bobby: Thanks for your comments. That's one of the likely answers I've considered. Some of the AEF landed in England first and underwent training there before being transferred to France. The pistol doesn't have the "Not English Make" stamp anywhere. I have a few spare WWI-era .45 ACP Colt barrels(and maybe even a .455 barrel but will have to check) barrels with the London and Birmigham commercial stamps which also have the "Not English Make" stamp on them. I believe it was the 1950s when the import country stamps appeared.
    Last edited by varifleman; 08-01-2013 at 11:57 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default

    varifleman, you have done your homework and, in light of that, I certainly can't argue or disagree. Nice set.

    Nice to see another Virginian here, especially someone from the most beautiful part of the Commonwealth.

  8. #8

    Default

    That is a very nice example of a rare pistol

  9. #9

    Default

    Outstanding weapon, beautiful holster, fascinating story...Best regards, Thanos.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote by COLT 1911A1 View Post
    Outstanding weapon, beautiful holster, fascinating story...Best regards, Thanos.
    This is a great find I have the identical gun C13791 and would like to find out more.

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