A Gentlemanly Guards Sniper
Terry Wieland over at American Rifleman has a great article on a “Gentleman’s Trench Rifle,” specifically, a Royal Grade H&H single-shot, complete with scope, that went to war against The Huns with an officer of the Irish Guards.
The story of how H&H rifle No. 26069 journeyed from the Bruton Street showroom to the Guards Museum is really one of convergence of the great names in pre-war England, in the military, in literature and in gunmaking. It involves Harold Alexander, Britain’s greatest soldier of the 20th century, and Field Marshall Lord Roberts, one of its greatest of the 19th; it involves Rudyard Kipling, Poet Laureate of the Empire and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature; and of course Holland & Holland, England’s greatest riflemaker.
The story begins with Lord Roberts in South Africa, fighting the Afrikaners in Britain’s first, and one of its bloodiest, military campaigns of the 20th century. There, Roberts renewed his acquaintance with Rudyard Kipling, an old friend from India.