Certification of the Winston

Churchill C96 pistol.

The Churchill Mauser C96 Pistols

Surely one of the certifications that has most gratified me has been the one of the Mauser C96 belonged to Winston Churchill. Churchill acquired at least three C96 pistols that he used in the Boer War in South Africa in 1899 – 1900 time-frame. Churchill preferred to use his Mauser instead of saber in close combat as he himself wrote: “Before we wheeled and began to gallop the officers had been marching with drawn swords. On account of my shoulder I had always decided that if I were involved in hand- to-hand fighting I must use a pistol and not a sword I had practiced carefully with [the Mauser] during our march and journey up the river. This then was the weapon with which I determined to fight. I had first of all to return my sword into its scabbard, which is not the easiest thing to do at a gallop. I had then to draw my pistol from its wooden holster and bring it to full cock…” Three Mauser C96 pistols were purchased by Churchill from the John Rigby Co. dealer in London. In this post, we refer in particular to the C96 number 4257 which was purchased by Churchill on November 1, 1898 when he was in London for a home leave period. The current owner of the C96 pistol was already in contact with the Churchill Archive and received from this institute documents on the pistol. The acquisition and sale of this gun is tracked in Rigby's inventory and sales records. My job was to trace this gun back to see if it was possible to trace it in Mauser's internal documents. In a note taken at the beginning of 1898 in Paul Mauser's diary it is written: “Westley Richards & Co. Limited: Birmingham. Have a dealership for the United Kingdom England, Scotland and Ireland.” It means that, from the beginning of 1898, Westley Richards Co. was the exclusive distributors for the Mauser C96 in England as well as the British Colonies, Scotland and Ireland. In the year 1898, John Rigby Co. acquired Mauser C96 pistols from the Westley Richards Co in Birmingham. It was therefore necessary to look in the Mauser sales books for an order from Westley Richards that was compatible with the sale to Rigby and then to Churchill. It should be noted that Mauser's sales books do not track the serial numbers of the weapons purchased but only the total number of weapons sold. Correlating therefore the information present in the administrative documents of Westley Richards Co. and John Rigby Co. it was possible to identify the order of Westley Richards to Mauser that most likely contains the C96 of Mr. Winston L. S. Churchill. In fact, on June 30, 1898, an order of 100 Mauser C96 pistols was sent to Westley Richards at Birmingham. There are no further acquisitions of C96 pistols by Westley Richards after the June acquisition and before November when the pistol was sold to Churchill. I enclose the sales note available in the Mauser sales books. More information on the Churchill’s C96 pistols can be found in the chapter " The Churchill Pistols " of the book “Paul Mauser - His Life, Company, and Handgun Development 1838 - 1914 (Baudino, van Vlimmeren 2017 - www.paul-mauser-archive.com).” If you are interested in the certification program contact me: mauser.archive@gmail.com
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Mauser Cone Hammer - All Rights Reserved Mauser pistol serial number 4257 acquired by Winston Churchill on the first on November 1898. All Rights Reserved. Mauser pistol serial number 4257 acquired by Winston Churchill on the first on November 1898. All Rights Reserved. Winston Churchill Order of Westley Richards to Mauser that most likely contains the C96 of Mr. Winston L. S. Churchill. All Rigths Reserved. Winston Churchill
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