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Colt Model 1911 service pistol marked for Royal Air Force use with Front Strap Marking


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This particular pistol is unaltered and in the original .455 Calibre complete with all the correct British Milatary Proofs.   According to Joe Poyner in his book "The Model 1911 and Model 1911A1 Military and Commercial Pistols", this pistol serial number  W106,208 was produced under contract  by Colt and shipped to British sometime in 1918.

I am searching for any relevant historical information concerning the use of this type pistol,  and also opinions  about the markings on the front strap.   You will note from several photos that the front strap of this pistol bears several marks.   These I have been unable to clearly identify.  It is possible that this is simply a weapon number,  but it may also possibly be some type of unit marking used during WW 1.  Any further  information or thoughts on these marks  or weapon use would be appreciated.

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I believe that the crossed flags and probably the crowned circle are British inspection marks. The broad arrow is, of course, the first identifier of British military gera and comes from the 19th century Board of Ordnance stamp on everything they issued.  I can't make anything of the 'rearing horse', if that's what it is, but I'm not a hand gun enthusiast so my knowledge of same is shallow.

The 'R.A.F.' is probably for Royal Air Force, as the Royal Flying Corps became the RAF on April 1, 1917, so the stamps would have changed by 1918 and, like you, I'd guess that the '13' on the butt is an individual 'rack number' - for easy indentification of this gun without reference to serial numbers and so on.

My not very well informed tuppence worth!

Peter

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Thank you Peter for your thoughts, the front -strap may very well be a weapon number, however, the numeral 3 looks to possibly be double stamped which is confusing me.

 

Trooper D, yes the rampant horse is a Colt trademark, and depending on it s location of the slide indicates the time period.

 

Thanks to both of you, I invite any further opinions or comments.

Ed Watson

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  • 2 months later...

I'm a bit late to this but the markings are similar to an example I have. Pretty much standard proof and inspection marks, The RAF stamp can be a bit misleading as some pistols were given this stamp but not necessarily issued to them. Pistols of this type were a private purchase item. I agree that the '13' stamp is probably a rack number, and I wouldn't worry too much about the quality of the stamp as these were often done in the field prior to being issued out. I attach a photo of mine for interest. 

20180520_151107 colt.jpg

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Just as an add on to my previous post on the 'Government Model' from my records  it looks as if  your pistol was one of a batch that were shipped in March 1918 to the Ministry of Shipping. 

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Thank you James for this information.......The official Colt Letter I just received indicates that my gun was shipped in April 1919, not 1918.   I wish that it did say 1918.   I thought as you that it should have been 1918, but either it is a typo, which I doubt., or in fact it was after the Armistice.

 

Thanks

Ed Watson1911 Colt Raf Letter.docx 

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I can't argue with Colt ! .

It does show though that despite having a serial number list you can't be certain of the dates.The serial number ranges don't always follow in sequence. 

But at least you have the information officially.

All the best

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