The Webley Mk V was the standard British service revolver at the outbreak of the First World War. It was one of a series of .455 inch calibre Webley revolvers which were the standard issue pistols of the British Army from 1887 onwards. They were robust and powerful weapons, which gave excellent service until replaced by the handier Enfield No 2 revolver (see FIR 385) in 1932. This particular revolver was the property of 2nd Lieutenant J R R Tolkien - later to gain fame as the author of 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings' (in addition to enjoying a distinguished academic career). Tolkien was an Oxford University student in 1914 but was commissioned into the Lancashire Fusiliers soon after taking his degree in 1915. He joined the 11th Battalion of his regiment in France in June 1916, shortly before the Battle of the Somme. During the battle Tolkien served as the battalion signals officer. In late October 1916 he contracted trench fever and was sent back to England in early November. He spent most of the rest of the war convalescing. It was at this time that he began to write early versions of his 'Middle Earth' stories. Debate continues regarding the extent to which Tolkien's war experiences influenced his literary work.
First year of production. Early form of 'Mark VI', without " " marks around the 'VI'.
The service weapon of J R R Tolkien, who served on the Somme before contracting trench fever in October 1916.
pistol with rough cord lanyard attached to lanyard ring.
1-2. stamped on left of top strap 3. stamped on lower left of frame 4. serial number stamped in two places in front of the trigger guard
1. .15 over crown over GR over crossed pennants over P over broad arrow over crown over 10 over B 2. MARK VI 3. WEBLEY MARK VI PATENTS 1915 4. 169710