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Back on March 11 in answer to a poll about how I got started with firearms I told the story of how my father killed two people who attempted to rob his store. If you are interested in the story it can be found here:

http://www.combatcarry.com/vbulletin/showpost.php?p=95784&postcount=8

At the time I had the High Standard .22 magnum derringer mentioned in the story, but my cousin had the .38 S&W. A few weeks ago I asked him again if he would sell me the gun and he said no. He then told me that there were 3 of them just alike. One had belonged to his father and that was the one that my father had used during the robbery. One had belonged to his uncle and the third was one that his father and uncle kept at their place of business. He also told me that he had two of them: his father's and the one from the business. I asked if I could borrow the one my father had used. He said sure I'll bring it out to the store and you can pick it up and keep it as long as you like. Today I picked it up.





This is a real special revolver. First of all it is a .38 S&W not .38 special. It has a V serial number which means it was produced for the military during WWII. It has the U S PROPERTY GHD stamp. It has the P on the left side. All of these are perfectly reasonable. The it gets strange. It has on the cylinder at the end of each of the flutes a crown with the letters EMP below it. This also appears on the left side of the gun. The barrel has the same mark and beside it are .38" .767". Below those numbers is 3 1/2 TONS. Right above the back of the trigger guard on the left side is a mark that looks like crossed sabers with the handles up top and with H, 3, and either 8 or B in the openings around the sabers. The serial numbers match on the barrel, grips, and cylinder. It appears to be some strange combination of a Victory model and the 38/200 made for Great Britain. I may have to get Smith & Wesson to research this one for me.

Anyway I now have in my possession both of the weapons used by my father to stop the robbery. I have shot the High Standard and it works quite well and is surprisingly accurate. I intend to shoot the .38 this weekend or next. After that I plan to make a shadow box and put both weapons in it with a copy of the newspaper story that ran the next day after the robbery attempt. I hope that my sister has a picture of my dad from about that time. The ones I have are from earlier. Either way I plan to post his picture beside the shadow box. This is not a shrine, but simply a reminder that our protection is our own responsibility and that at least one man in my family accepted that responsibility and discharged it faithfully.

Below are a couple of shots of both weapons together.



 

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Wow, what a story!!! Yep, those mementos deserve a place of honor in your home.

LibertyGal
 

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Thx for the pics George - they add nicely to the whole history. I used to have in UK two Enfield 38S&W's - one with hammer spur, one without - top break of course. They ''went'' in the 1997 purge of handguns! :frown:

The round was certainly rather anemic but still, if placed adequately far from innocuous! Once again - thx for the extra info - I remember your telling of the story from before.
 

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Nice S&W. Reminds us of another time.
 

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Thanks for sharing your story and the pics! :smile:
 

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Fascinating read, thank you.

George,

Could the letters EMP possibly be BNP, on the Model 10?

The "V" prefix signifies Victory Model, probably a Lend-Lease gun.

"P" is an Ordnance proof mark.

"GHD" is Brigadier General Guy H. Drewry, Springfield Ordnance District, Army Inspector of Ordnance.
 

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OD said:
Fascinating read, thank you.

George,

Could the letters EMP possibly be BNP, on the Model 10?

The "V" prefix signifies Victory Model, probably a Lend-Lease gun.

"P" is an Ordnance proof mark.

"GHD" is Brigadier General Guy H. Drewry, Springfield Ordnance District, Army Inspector of Ordnance.
OD, since you asked about the letters I looked closer. I still thought they were EMP, but I took off the bifocal and got out my Bausch & Lomb magnifying glass and you are right the letters are BNP. The strike is on curved metal each time and the curves on the B are very light. The N is sort of fuzzy and without the magnifying glass appears to be an M. BNP would be British Nitro Proof marking. Do you have any idea what the what the crossed swords mark might be? I'm not much good at creating images, but I have attached one that resemble (maybe) the crossed swords mark.
 

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Cool, thanks George :hand10:

BNP=Birmingham Nitro Proof.
The "crossed sceptre's" are another Birmingham Proof House stamping. If the letters would happen to be H B (I can find no H8) over the 3, it would signify the gun received those "proofs" in 1957, in accordance with the British Proof Act of 1955.
 

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OD said:
Cool, thanks George :hand10:

BNP=Birmingham Nitro Proof.
The "crossed sceptre's" are another Birmingham Proof House stamping. If the letters would happen to be H B (I can find no H8) over the 3, it would signify the gun received those "proofs" in 1957, in accordance with the British Proof Act of 1955.
OD, I guess it could be H B, but even through the magnifying glass it looks like an 8. A "B" might cause even more problems since I know that the pistol was in my uncles possession in 1945. Let me correct that, I know that this is one of three pistols that came into the possession of my uncle and his brother (who were business partners) not later than early 1946. My uncle and his brother both served in B17s during WWII and they both told the same story about the pistols. They each were issued a S&W .38 as their side arm. Later they were issued a Colt .45 and allowed to keep the .38. They each brought home the .38 when they got out of the military (I believe it would have been called the Army Air Forces when they got out) in 1945. They opend up a business in the little community of Marion Jct, Alabama in late 1945. Some time in late 1945 or early 1946 a wholesale company in Selma, Alabama bought a large number of surplus S&W .38s. They offered these for sale to their customers. My uncle and his brother bought one of these revolvers to keep at their place of business. At this point there are 3 S&W .38s in their possession. One was kept at each home and one at the business.

In March 1946 my father bought a business about 1 mile from the business owned by my uncle (he married my father's sister) and his brother. The wholesaler had already sold all the guns before my father bought the business. In the early 1950s the Dallas County Sheriff's Department sold a number of S&W Regulation Police .32 S&W Long revolvers to anyone interested in buying one. My father bought one of these. I have it in my possession.

In 1974 when my father's business was robbed the .32 was taken. My father borrowed a S&W .38 from his sister (her husband had died in 1973). This was the .38 that was kept at my uncle's home. His brother still had his at home and the third was still at the business. The .38 he borrowed was the one that was used in the robbery attempt in 1975. My father retained the .38 even after his .32 was returned at the conclusion of the trial for the 1974 robbers. My cousin (son of my father's sister) bought my father's business in April 1979. My father left the .38 and the .22 mag derringer with my cousin when he took over the store.

My father died in April 1982 and I inherited the .32 S&W. My cousin asked if he could keep the .38 that my father had left at the store and I told him that it was his father's gun and that my dad had only borrowed it. At that time neither of us thought about the derringer. My cousin had purchase one in 1977 and was carrying it. It is a later model than my father's and had black grips.

I moved back to Alabama in 1995 and several times since asked my cousin about buying the .38. Each time he said that he did not want to sell it. Only in the past 4 or 5 months did it occur to ask to me to ask about the derringer. My cousin knew which was my father's and gave it to me. Then several weeks ago we got to talking about the .38. Again he did not want to sell, but when I asked if I could borrow it he said yes. It was then that I learned the story about there being 3 of them. My cousin knew which one was the one my father had used because he had taken it back to his mothers house and stored it there. He also had the one that had been at the business his father had run. When the business closed the gun had been given to him since no one else in the family wanted it. It is in his gun safe. I have never seen it. This week when I stopped by my cousin's store he had the .38 for me.

This is long, but it explains to some extent why having HB on the .38 would be problematical. Unless there is a 4th .38 that belonged to my uncle, his brother, or the business; that was aquired after 1957; and that my cousin, his mother, nor I have ever heard anything about - how could a gun receive British proofs in 1957 when it had been in Marion Jct, Alabama since 1945 or 46? I guess it is always possible that a 4th gun was bought and that it never was mentioned. One of the others could have been lost or stolen and they could have bought a replacement. That would be the most likely occurance. The gun at the business could have been stolen during a breakin, my uncle could have taken his home gun to the business as a replacement and then later when he purchase another that was newer or in better shape he took that gun home. I'm sure we'll never know for sure, but it does make for interesting speculation.

I may see if I can borrow both the gun my cousin has in his safe and the one that was my uncle's brother's (his widow lives next door to my aunt) and photograph all 3. Then invest $90 to have Smith & Wesson issue letters of authenticity on them. At that point I would know when they were made and when and to whom Smith & Wesson originally sold them. I don't know if the Smith & Wesson records indicate which of the V guns when to the US and which ones were designated for British use, but the info would be interesting anyway.

BTW, can you think of a reason why a V gun would have British proof marks applied in 1957? Another mystery.
 

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BTW, can you think of a reason why a V gun would have British proof marks applied in 1957? Another mystery.
Actually, that's the least of the mystery, re-imported lend-lease weapons were required to be so marked.

Prior to 1955 they also were required to carry the "NOT BRITISH MAKE" inscription. The Birmingham Proof and nitro proof marks were combined into a single Birmingham Nitro Proof, (BNP) in accordance with the Proof Act of 1955. Your idea of a 4th gun sounds the most likely.
 

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OD said:
Actually, that's the least of the mystery, re-imported lend-lease weapons were required to be so marked.

Prior to 1955 they also were required to carry the "NOT BRITISH MAKE" inscription. The Birmingham Proof and nitro proof marks were combined into a single Birmingham Nitro Proof, (BNP) in accordance with the Proof Act of 1955. Your idea of a 4th gun sounds the most likely.
Thanks for the info. I expect that is what happened and only my uncle and his brother ever knew about the replacement. My cousin was born in 1951 so he probably would have been too young to have picked up on it and my aunt would not have heard about it if they did not make a point of telling her. It also makes sense that they would have looked around for another gun like the two they already had.

Of course the source of that gun is not really important. The important part to me is that it is the .38 that my father used and it is now united with the .22mag derringer that he also used to thwart the robbery attempt.

By the way, there has not been an armed robbery attempt on that business since that day in July 1975 when my father stopped that one. The robbery in July 1974 was the first one our business experienced. One of those two surrendered and turned states evidence. He received 5 years. The other was sentenced to 6 20 year terms to run consecutively. The two who tried in '75 were killed. Evidently the word got around about that business not being one to rob. There have been attempts at other small businesses more than 5 miles away, but none any closer in nearly 31 years. Capital punishment properly applied is a deterrent. :yup:
 

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Amen sir!
 
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