Modern Sporting Guns

Bonhams sell rifle of British aristocrat whom Hitler admired and told
of his plans for invading Poland and Czechoslovakia

Modern Sporting Guns
4 Dec 2013
London, Knightsbridge
Modern Sporting Guns

Bonhams sale of Sporting Guns on December 4th featured a selection of guns once owned by establishment and military figures well known during the WW1 and WW2 period, among them a gun linked to the 7th Marquess of Londonderry,

Lord Londonderry is best remembered for his tenure as Secretary of State for Air in the 1930's, where on multiple occasions visited Germany and met Hitler and his cabinet to discuss Germany's position in Europe. Hitler was an admirer of Viscount Castlereagh and famously confided in him his intended plans for both Czechoslovakia and Poland years in advance of the invasions.

He published many books, one of which 'Ourselves and Germany' was a reaction to the attacks he sustained from inside and outside of Westminster regarding his links with the Appeasement Policy towards Nazi Germany.

His gun, a fine .303 sidelock ejector rifle by J. Rigby & Co., estimated to sell for £12,000-16,000, made £27,500. It was completed in 1904 for Viscount Castlereagh. Charles Vane-Tempest-Stewart, 7th Marquess of Londonderry (1878 - 1949) - Lord Steward until 1884 and Viscount Castlereagh between 1884 and 1915. During the First World War he witnessed the horror of the Battle of the Somme and also took part in a number of the last cavalry charges for the British Army, of which his battalion, the Royal Horse Guards, unsurprisingly took heavy casualties.


A pistol once owned by a naval hero also featured in this sale. Formerly the property of Commander Harry Kemmis (1894-1970) who fought at the Battle of Jutland and was mentioned in dispatches, the .455 (Eley self-loading) 'Model 1911' semi-automatic pistol by Colt sold for £11,000, well above the pre-sale estimate of £3,000 to £4,000.

The Commander (a Sub-Lieutenant at the time) took command of H.M.S. Onslaught at the age of twenty-two after all other officers had been killed by a German shell. Despite the ship being crippled and its navigation equipment destroyed, he managed to navigate the ship back to Scotland for repairs.
Included with the gun were copies of correspondence to the Admiralty and by his mother regarding the Commander's involvement in the battle.

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