Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tolkien's Webley

So, while I was drafting the preceding article about THE FALL OF ARTHUR, I followed a link at the very bottom of the GUARDIAN piece and discovered that by so doing you can see a photo of Tolkien WW I service pistol (a Webley Mark VI revolver).

Here's the link to the article from six years ago*

and here's the online entry for the item itself (in the 'Personal Stories' section):

Given that I imagine the Imperial War Museum has any number of Great War officer's revolvers, I assume Lt. Tolkien's is included because he's now so popular that it's a good draw for the exhibit as a whole (it's possible, of course, that they just like to make extra links like this to bring the war home to modern museum-goers). 

In any case, it shows that, like many veterans before him (most famously, Dr. James H. Watson), Tolkien kept his officer's sidearm after the war was over, since the article notes the gun was acquired by the museum from the Tolkien family two years earlier (e.g., 2004, perhaps not incidently the year after Jn Garth's excellent book had made Tolkien's wartime duty more widely known than it had been hithertofore).

At any rate, wanted to share.

--John R.

*and here's the article from which that link came: 


John Garth said...

I first heard about Tolkien's Webley from this same 2006 Observer article; otherwise I would have mentioned it in Tolkien and the Great War, of course. My book certainly provided the accompanying information about Tolkien's war service, as Nigel Steel told me when I contacted him. But I doubt it had anything to do with the Tolkien family giving the gun to the Museum in 2004. That was probably connected with the gun amnesty launched in 2003 to give owners of such firearms the chance to hand them in before a change in the law:

John Garth

John D. Rateliff said...

Hi John G.

That explains a lot; thanks for the timely information.

Good to know that England has a sane gun control policy. Unlike the U.S., alas.

--John R.

Troels said...

Also see where higher resolution photos are available.