Tag Archives: BEF

The Tiger’s Everyday Carry Pocket Gun

Here we see a .32 ACP Colt Model 1903 Pocket Hammerless self-loading pistol carried by General (later Field Marshal) Sir Gerald Templer, KG, GCB, CB, GCMG, KBE, DSO. The S/N (377681) dates to 1921 production.

UK National Army Museum NAM. 1998-01-118-2

Dubbed  “The Smiling Tiger,” Sir Gerald commanded infantry and armored divisions, as well as the German Directorate of the Special Operations Executive, during the WWII and later went on to lead British forces during the Malayan Emergency, one of the few successful counter-insurgency operations undertaken by the Western powers during the Cold War.

He was also something of a gun buff.

General Sir Gerald Templer (left) testing a .45 inch De Lisle bolt action silenced carbine during a visit to 1st Battalion The Gordon Highlanders, Perak, 1952. He may very well have a Colt in his pocket. 

The signed 1954 card in the pistol’s case reads:

“The .32 Colt revolver and ammunition, in this case, was one of about 20 purchased by me when I was GSO I (1(b)) at GHQ, BEF. It was necessary for some of my officers to/ have a small automatic in their pockets on a good many occasions. I carried this one throughout the War, and when I was High Commissioner and Director of Operations in Malaya it never left my side. It was under my pillow every night whilst I was in country, ready and cocked.”

Sir Gerald died in 1979, aged 81.

Just hanging out around Surrey, waiting to cross the Channel

(Photo/text via Range Days in France)

(Photo/text via Range Days in France)

Scots Guardsman circa 1914/5 at Caterham depot. It shows some great detail. He is armed with an SMLE Mk I with its associated P1907 curved Quillion bayonet. He is wearing a set of P1908 webbing in early war marching order. Of note are the “Carriers, cartridge, 75 rounds, left, Mark II (3rd Issue)” with the added retaining straps, a late 1914 modification to prevent full .303 chargers falling out, when leaning on the trench parapets.

Ghosts of the Somme

With the five month hell of the Somme remembered forever as the bloodiest battle of the British Empire’s history (481,842 killed, including a staggering 19,240 on the first day alone), some 1,400 reenactors in the UK have pulled down a very effective commemorative in the #WeAreHere movement in which, dressed as 1916 Tommies, they ride public transport and mill around many of the same locations that British soldiers of the time would have, handing out calling cards of those past to interested observers.

We are here Somme BEF reenactor wwi tommy We are here Somme BEF reenactor wwi tommy 2 We are here Somme BEF reenactor wwi tommy 3 We are here Somme BEF reenactor wwi tommy 4 We are here Somme BEF reenactor wwi tommy 5