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Happy Groundhog's Day Lt. Thompson

672 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Scott Gahimer
This pistol, 1915 Colt M1911 s/n 108891 was sold to 2 Lt. Thompson AR (Army Reserve) on 4 February 1919...shortly after WWI... 95 years ago today. Certainly, all the M1911 pistols didn't get used up during the war. This pistol is all original and still remains in excellent condition. The good Lt. purchased the pistol with his own money and elected to properly maintain it. I'm glad he did.

GHS final inspection monogram

Horizontal P H barrel original to pistol

The direct hit in the SRS database (from the National Archives)
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Nice one! I wonder if the Lt. purchased his own pistol he had used during the war? Or if he got a brand new one from Springfield stock (if they even had any stock)?

I suspect because he is listed as being a butter bar 2nd Lt. that he was pretty fresh. I would think if he had any real time under his belt in the war, he would have been promoted by then. But...who knows?

I doubt a letter from SRS will disclose too much, but I should probably still go ahead and order it. I am assuming the "AR" listed designates Army Reserve, but several other sales listings in SRS provide the initials of the recipient, too. I didn't see periods in the listing (not A.R.), so I assumed thr letters were not his initials. Maybe I'll get lucky and the sales document will provide his full name, or at least initials, so I can figure out who he was. But regardless of who he was, I'm happy to have his pistol.
Great pistol. It hardly looks like it was even cycled. I guess after the war civilians could also purchase 1911's?
After WWI, there were some late production M1911 pistols that were not accepted by or shipped to the government that were sold to individuals, amny of which were military personnel. Those pistols will not have a final inspection mark.

This pistol, however, was from 1915 and was accepted and shipped to the government. Rather than being a transaction between Colt and an individual, it was a government sale to a military officer. Many Army Reserve officers were actually required to purchase their pistols.
I'd bet those were his initials.

Here's why:

After the First World War, under the National Defense Act on 4 June 1920, Congress reorganized the U.S. land forces by authorizing a Regular Army, a National Guard, and an Organized Reserve (Officers Reserve Corps and Enlisted Reserve Corps) of unrestricted size, which later became the Army Reserve. This organization provided a peacetime pool of trained Reserve officers and enlisted men for use in war. The ORC included the Officers’ Reserve Corps, Enlisted Reserve Corps and Reserve Officers Training Corps.

They weren't 'required' to purchase their sidearms, but they 'could' purchase them from Ordnance at a significant savings over a commercial sale.

Many did - because it would be a very long time before pay became much of anything, and saving what money a young Officer could was a good idea.

Officers - then as now - were required to purchase their uniforms - but would draw Individual Equipment from the units they're assigned to - though most of us own our own.
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You could be correct, but bear in mind the abbreviated SRS listings are the creation of Frank Mallory, or one of the historians since Frank's death. The "AR" may not even be listed in the actual document in the National Archives, but may just be the SRS historian's take on how to describe the sale to Lt. Thompson.
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