Wednesday, October 25, 2023

A Different Kind of Bespoken Gun for a King at War

When one thinks of a bespoken firearm, names like Boss & Co., Holland & Holland, Purdy and Rigby, and shotguns, normally come to mind, particularly for the King of Great Britain. But that would not be the case with King George VI during World War II.  An entirely different gun once which belonged to George VI, now resides in the Imperial War Museum. It is in  a suitably inconspicuous wooden cased (attache type), and is a STEN Mk II 9mm Machine Carbine, with three fully loaded magazines, and additional ammunition in the nine boxed compartments to the left part of the case (estimated 450 rounds). Unlike the normal production cost $10.00 USD configuration it has an extremely well finished exterior surface, and I feel certain precisely toleranced interior parts, specifically the magazine followers and feed lips. There is a question as to how frequently either he personally, or his equerry, carried the cased weapon during the entire World War II. (Editorial note: Perhaps the recommendations of certain current leaders should be reviewed in the context of the King's choice. He gave both Elizabeth and Margeret shooting instruction, Elizabeth learning on a Thompson .45cal. Model 1921 Sub-Machine Gun, which purportedly belonged to Prime Minster Winston Churchill).

It is not known to the author whether this image of Prime Minister Winston Churchill shows him with that specific weapon, but it is the correct configuration.

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