Interesting 1911 story..

Discussion in 'Military Surplus - Curios & Relics' started by ERE99, Mar 14, 2018.

  1. ERE99

    ERE99 Member

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    About 25yrs ago I used to do some gunsmith work for friends and family on 1911s. I used to add aftermarket sights, bushings, fit slides, machine ejection ports, etc. Dad still has one I built for him.

    For a regular job I was senior engineer for a company that made plastic extrusion equipment. Part of my responsibility was for a lab we had that we would run trials on customer`s materials. I hired an older, retired gentleman part time to help me with prep and tear down of the trials.

    One day he came in and said he had "an old 45" he wanted made into a target pistol. It was wrapped in an old sock and I just put it under the seat of my truck and took it home after work.

    When I pulled it out that evening I noticed it was a US Property marked 1911, not a 1911A1, and a Colt with most of the bluing left on it. After researching the serial number, I found it to be an early Navy contract pistol, 1918 if I remember right.

    I took it back to him the next day and told him I wasn`t going to touch the gun since it was worth quite a bit even then. I also asked him how he aquired it.

    He said his brother had died and he inherited it. His brother had brought it home from WWII when he got out of the Navy. He stopped for a few seconds, then went on. It seems his brother was on a destroyer in the Pacific and it got sunk during a battle(I forget which). He went overboard when the order to abandon ship was given and had the pistol on his side when he went in the water. After about 2-3hrs in the water he was picked up by another ship.

    Later during a debrief of sorts, he asked his CO about turning the pistol in. The CO said as far as he and the US Govt were concerned that pistol was on the bottom of the Pacific ocean. He brought it home and supposedly it sat in a sock drawer until he passed and Joe inherited his possesions due to being his only kin left.

    Joe passed a few years ago and I often wonder what happened to the pistol. He had a son who was handicapped and a daughter that was bat-shit crazy, so who knows where it may be now.

    interesting what we come across in this hobby.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
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  2. JimB

    JimB Picking it up slowly. Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    Thanks for sharing, great story.
     
  3. Gazengine

    Gazengine 8 Track guy stuck in a digital world Charter Life Member

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    Great story. I often wonder the whereabouts of some unique firearms I have seen or heard about that were not for sale.
     
  4. MacEntyre

    MacEntyre Shoot on Sight! Charter Member

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    When my father, Lord rest his soul, was 18 he had a 1911 that his uncle brought back from the Pacific in WWII. The Uncle earned a commendation for organizing his men to tread water and breath just under the deck when their compartment was flooded during a near sinking of their ship. All of the men were saved. Later, the Uncle's son asked my father to return the pistol, and he did. At this date, no one knows where it is. Oh, well!
     
  5. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    That's a great story. My granddad brought back a 1911 in 1918. I got to see it as a little fella, but it was stolen some 40 odd years ago.

    These are the mags and Bible he carried, and the watch he wore when he was in Belgium.

    fullsizeoutput_87f.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
  6. Chuckman

    Chuckman Senior Member Sponsor

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    Awesome story. Love reading these.
     
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  7. Dirtydirtysouf

    Dirtydirtysouf Active Member

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    Great story!!!!
     
  8. B00ger

    B00ger Das B00G Charter Member Supporting Member

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    I too loved the story. Its something that has always drawn me to firearms.

    Yes, we have our modern "soulless blackrifles and polymer wunderpistoles", but we also have firearms that have a "soul" to them. Have been places with people. Carry memories. Whether it be the single shot .22 my father bought in the 50's and lugged all through south GA, to a .45 strapped to the hip of a soldier overseas, they all tell tales. The newer ones just have their own adventures to go on.
     
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  9. John Travis

    John Travis Happy to be here

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    I have one.

    My father was a sargeant with the 275th Engineers during the Ardennes/Battle of the Bulge Campaign. At Colmar Pocket, his company walked up on a sleepingWehrmacht platoon guarding a small fuel and ammo dump. It was comprised mostly of young boys and a German Major...also sleeping. Cold, hungry, and exhausted, the Major offered no resistance to the big American sargeant holding the "Army Automatic" against his forehead. He smiled and got to his feet, and surrendered his sidearm with a request in broken English to let no harm come to his boys. It was a Walther P38...all matching numbers byf43...and Dad brought it and the Colt 1911A1 home with him. I still have both. Unfortunately, the old man had both pistols blued in the late 50s, pretty much killing their collector value, but they wouldn't be for sale anyway.

    They treated their captives kindly, and fed them before handing sending them to wherever they sent POWs to in the Ardennes.

    Fast forward 20 years, and dad was working for Western Electric as an engineer and tool designer with government contracts. As part of the contract, they'd done an exchange program with German engineers, and dad became friends with one of them through their shared WW2 experience. Busied with their assignments, they didn't have a lot of time for detailed conversation.

    Alone in the US and far from home and family dad invited Rudolph to supper, and I watched the two men who had once been bitter enemies talk of the war and their mutual suffering...and dad brought out the two pistols and told the story. Rudolph got quiet, and his eyes teared up as he looked at my father and said almost in a whisper. "Aaron. I vas dat Cherman Major dat you showed such kindness to."

    It was the only time I ever saw my father cry openly. He'd have returned the Walther to his former enemy, but he couldn't have gotten it back to Germany...so here it resides.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
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  10. BatteryOaksBilly

    BatteryOaksBilly A SHOOTER Benefactor Life Member Supporting Member

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    Not that you would ever get shed of it BUT, that 2 toned mag is worth a good deal of money by itself. Hang on to it. It dates the story for you.
     
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  11. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade Well seasoned member Benefactor Charter Life Member

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    I think Dad filed on the feed lips and changed the followers. He’d do that to old guns.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  12. MacEntyre

    MacEntyre Shoot on Sight! Charter Member

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    That is wonderful story!
     
  13. Pbj ak

    Pbj ak B Supporting Member

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    That’s awesome man.
     

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