Hi all, I have the letter from Colt now and apparently my gun was shipped on November 19th 1914, to the London Armoury Company, and there were 300 of the same model in the shipment.The guns that were shipped to the UK 1914-1918 were commercial shipments intended for private sale. Obviously at this time nearly all sales would have been to people serving in HM Forces. These pistols would not receive the British ordnance proof mark of crossed pennants because did not enter official British military procurement channels. Interesting quantities of .45acp, 380acp and .32acp ammunition were purchased by the Ministry of Munitions and appear in the Priced Vocabulary of Stores. This ammunition was then available through official channels and recognizes the fact that these calibers were popular with officers. Clearly the rule of officers being able to supply their own handgun as long as it was of the service caliber, went out the window!
Between the wars around 1920/21 was the purchase of at least 3,300 .32 Colt pocket hammerless pistols through the London Armoury Co. These were intended for service Ireland. Although the figure quoted is 3,300 when you read the actual Army Council Instructions there are a couple of entries and its quite vaugh, but as I read it there was an inference of a further - but unspecified number - of pistols, being ordered. Sometimes no quantity was given only the cost of the purchase in Pounds. This is the case with an order for 9,000 Pounds of Winchester Model 1897 shotguns but from the known rack numbers on surviving examples we know the order was for about 1,000 shotguns. In addition to the Colts there was also a large purchase of Webley & Scott .32acp pistols. Also a very small order for Browning pistols through the UK agent Le Personne & Co, London. The model is not specified but t may have been the 1910, so keep an eye out for one with the crossed pennant proof mark. This order was for 100 pistols only.
The colts remained in service through WW2 with a good number ending up with the RAF and often have R.A.F. stamped on the frame.
After decades of looking I have only found one example of a British ordnance marked Colt Pocket hammerless pistol that was NOT part of the 1920/21 purchase, or a WW2 British Purchasing Commission purchase.
I did check out the ship date and to whom on my list visit to the Colt Historical Office but it was the LAC, as one would expect. How it got the broadarrow marking and when it received it, is a mystery. I can dig out the details if anyone interested.
As I said at the start there was no military consignment of pocket hammerles pistols supplied to the UK in WW1, it was all commercial sales.