Colt Lend-Lease Pistol - Stolen (a long time ago) - 1911Forum
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  #1  
Old 05-28-2020, 04:40 PM
Whit Whit is offline
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Location: Baytown, Texas
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Colt Lend-Lease Pistol - Stolen (a long time ago)

Back in the late 60’s when I was a young municipal police officer we were required to carry a revolver on duty. Off duty carry was required, however we could carry any weapon as long as it was .380 or larger. Early on I carried a Smith Chief Special 38. A friend of my parents had acquired a Colt 45ACP along with and abundance of corrosive 45 ammo. He and I made a swap and I became the proud owner of a Colt.

This old piece was apparently a lend-lease pistol from WWII as it had British proof marks stamped on it. It was a pice of bling. As was the fashion of that time, it had been chrome or nickel plated with gold accents. The hammer, trigger and thumb safety were gold. Best I can recall (and I’ve slept a few times since then) it was a 1911 not an A1. The hammer was the large spur than caused severe damage to the web of my hand each time it was fired. A local smith installed a Commander ring hammer and “custom” made a rat tail safety to solve that issue. It was a thing to behold, at least this young cop thought so. That old pistol went everywhere I did when I was off duty.

One fateful day, being a good son, I took my Mom to several ceramic supply houses for her to buy supplies for her shop. That blinged out Colt rode inside the waistband of my jeans without a holster with the butt forward on my strong (right) side. Yeah, I know, not safe, but this was in day before good concealed carry leather was available. It stayed put that way and I could access it. Later in the day we made our last stop. We were going into a business that had large plate glass windows in front and my back was aching, so I put that 45 in the crack of the seat of my truck under a baby seat that was in the middle of the seat. On top of the gun was transistor radio (remember those). I could see the truck and had no fear of anything happening. I stepped to the back of the store for about two minutes, yep, truck wasn’t locked.

Using my superior rookie police officer investigative skills, I pieced together what happened. This was a time when every truck on the road had a gun rack in the back window, mine was no exception. Riding in that gun rack was a Daisy BB gun that was a spitting image of a Model 94 Winchester. In police parlance, a person or persons unknown spotted that fake 30-30 and grabbed it off the rack. Their wandering eyes saw the transistor radio and in their greed grabbed it also. And eureka, there to their amazement was the butt of a shiny, blinged out Colt which their sticky fingers snatched up also. Probably took this person or persons unknown all of about 10 seconds to abscond with my stuff. Sure was made at that person or persons unknown, even more mad at a dumb cop.

For a long time every stolen 45 that came across the teletype as recovered (told you it was a long time ago), caused me to read carefully for a description and serial number, but alas that old British warhorse never returned to me. Yeah, my fault. Yep, should have known better. Lesson learned at a high price. If I had not had that phony 30-30 in the truck it never would have happened. I guess Daisy owes me a pistol!
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Old 05-29-2020, 04:28 PM
chrometank chrometank is offline
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Great story, thanks for that. When ever I read those old rifleman magazines I am a always amazed at how big the stolen gun list was for every month. I guess a lot of folks lost their guns in the same manner, if only we had a world with out thieves.
All the best

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
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Old 05-29-2020, 07:11 PM
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dsk dsk is offline
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Just FWIW I wouldn't call it a "British warhorse". The vast majority of the Lend-Lease pistols we gave to both England and the USSR were never issued and remained in warehouses most of their lives. The few that were used were mostly used by the home guard. In my opinion it was a huge waste of perfectly good .45s, considering how many ended up on the bottom of the ocean just trying to get them there. Our own GIs could really have used them.

Anyway, as to your stolen pistol it serves as a lesson as to just how brazen thieves are. If anything it has gotten worse, not better, as the punishment for theft is so pathetic these days that there's little reason for a lowlife not to attempt it, even in broad daylight.
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Old 05-29-2020, 10:24 PM
Whit Whit is offline
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Good point dsk. I did not meat to infer that the pistol had been used by British troops, but rather had made the trip across the pond and proofed by the Brits. And I concur, there is absolutely no respect for the property of others by the sticky fingered element of society. They operate under the philosophy of what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine. Don’t like thieves. Get a job and buy your own stuff just like other folks. OK, enough moralizing!
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Old 05-30-2020, 05:17 AM
AlanDavid AlanDavid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsk View Post
Just FWIW I wouldn't call it a "British warhorse". The vast majority of the Lend-Lease pistols we gave to both England and the USSR were never issued and remained in warehouses most of their lives. The few that were used were mostly used by the home guard. In my opinion it was a huge waste of perfectly good .45s, considering how many ended up on the bottom of the ocean just trying to get them there. Our own GIs could really have used them.

Anyway, as to your stolen pistol it serves as a lesson as to just how brazen thieves are. If anything it has gotten worse, not better, as the punishment for theft is so pathetic these days that there's little reason for a lowlife not to attempt it, even in broad daylight.
After the initial purchases of Colt Government models by the British Purchasing Commission roughly 39,000 Model 1911A1's were supplied to the U.K. under Lend Lease (exact figure not to hand). None of these ended up with the Home Guard, the few thousand handguns they had were mostly from a public appeal with the British public in mid 1940. Quantities of handguns were also provided by the gifts of handguns and other small arms by the American public through the American Committee for Defense of British Homes.
The 1911Ai's supplied under Lend Lease did see combat by British forces, the Commandos being a big user. Some of course were issued to officers who were not in a combat zone but were mandated to be issued a handgun.
When the 1911Ai's were bought up by dealers in the 1950's many returned to the USA. One advertisement in 'Guns' magazine had them listed for sale - got a copy of this ad and will try and locate.They were listed for sale in a few grades or conditions, most tellingly with a note that those in excellent condition were available in a limited quantity.

Regards
AlanD
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