Winston Churchill’s WWII pistol for sale at Bonhams auction

A Webley & Scott 7.65mm pistol, owned by Sir Winston Churchill, is estimated to sell for between £UK2000 and £UK3000 ($AU4290 and $AU6430) auction in London next month.

The Webley & Scott Model 1913 7.65mm (.32 ACP) calibre self-loading pistol was one of a number of firearms owned by Churchill while serving as Prime Minister during World War II and will be available as part of the next Bonhams Sporting Guns Sale on December 2 in Knightsbridge, London.

Patrick Hawes, the head of Bonhams’ Sporting Guns Department, said the pistol is a “remarkable link to Churchill’s war years”. It is believed that there were some 20 failed attempts to assassinate Churchill during the war, including a bizarre exploding chocolate bar. One of the alleged attempts against his life is known as ‘Operation Long Jump’ (Unternehmen Weitsprung), which was a plan to simultaneously assassinate Joseph Stalin, Franklin Roosevelt and Churchill at the 1943 Teheran Conference during WWII. The operation to kill the ‘big three’ was led by Germany’s SS. The plot was uncovered by the Soviets and the mission was never launched.

Churchill’s pistol has a 3″ barrel, blued finish and the left side of the slide is stamped ‘Webley & Scott Ltd, London & Birmingham, 7.65mm & .32 Automatic Pistol’. The butt has diamond pattern ebonite grips, with a small chip on the left side and a larger chip missing on the right. The magazine is also missing. It is contemporary Birmingham nitro proofed.

The pistol is offered with two letters dated September 1 and 30, 1975, certifying its provenance and signed by Sir Winston Churchill’s grandson, Winston Spencer-Churchill MP. A further letter dated May 28, 2015, from Kent Police confirms that ‘Mr Winston Spencer-Churchill did in fact own a .32 pistol serial number 130104’. The pistols and documentation is enclosed in a cardboard carton with Purdey storage label dated 7/1/65 and 17/9/70.

The pistol (Bonhams item number 130104) comes from the private collection of Sir Winston Churchill MP, KB, which also includes a presentation Sten Mk III sub-machine-gun with which he was famously photographed during WWII.

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