Colt Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
937 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

Yesterday, I saw a 1943 Remington Rand at a LGS yesterday. While it wasn't pristine - normal signs of holster wear, etc. - but it was in good condition and everything looked correct and proper, with one exception. Someone had engraved their name on the front strap, underneath the trigger guard.

I was discussing this with one of the clerks, who said it could (emphasize "could") be seen as provenance, as many soldiers during the war marked their guns to prevent theft by others. Naturally, there was no way to prove this. But it did make me wonder if engraving one's name on a gun was a common practice.

What say the rest of you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,786 Posts
Nope...

The piece belonged to Uncle Sam, and he preferred them to stay in their original, un-screwed-with configuration.

The service member could be fined for the 'defacement of Government Property' and there repercussions to go along with that - including loss of rank, pay - even including confinement.

No GI or Jarhead wanted 'that'.

'Sweetheart' grips were another matter - and those were removeable.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
937 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks... I figured as much. I know that guns were supposed to be returned, and that anything beyond normal wear-and-tear would be frowned upon. Of course, not all guns were turned in, and I'm sure that we've all seen guns where the inscription "United States Property" was attempted to be removed, so I know there were some exceptions. But I'm not accepting a story without proof of some kind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,786 Posts
Here's some advice I'll give you for free - 'Buy The Gun - Not The Story'.

With militaria, there's almost always a story attached when the piece is 'iffy', because it needs the additional 'embroidery' to sell it.

The defaced service pistols weren't always stolen, either - but that 'United States Property' scared a lot of guys who didn't want others to think that it may've been purloined.

Thanks to the various Government surplus, DCM and NRA sales, there are hundreds of thousands of legitimate GI small arms out there - most without sales documents, but completely legitimate to purchase and to own.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
316 Posts
'Buy The Gun - Not The Story'

Which brings us to the "dads/grandads" (US Property 1911, Garand, Carbine, etc.) that the story goes he carried through the war and brought it back. I'm sure there were some that fell into that category but I don't think any way near as many as told. The unfortunate reality of it is that any that were brought back under those circumstances were, for lack of a kinder term, stolen. I'm sure that at the end of the wars when GI's were coming back the thought of being delayed from returning due to a theft charge kept a lot of soldiers honest.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
365 Posts
Back in the 60s/70s it was in vogue to put your name and/or SSN with an electric pencil on personal property that had value. Local public service announcements supported this effort as well for recovery of items that might be stolen. Remember my father scrolling this information on the TV, stereo equipment....everything except his guns.

Not uncommon to seen many guns for sale that have previous owner information etched in. What you describe is a previous owner but most likely not the actual service member that carried the firearm.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
822 Posts
I agree with what everyone has said above.
On the other hand, captured, bring-back weapons can be another matter. I've seen more than a few of these that have been personalized to include names and some of those can retain or add to there value if done tastefully.
Kim
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,794 Posts
Nope...

The piece belonged to Uncle Sam, and he preferred them to stay in their original, in-screwed-with configuration.

The service member could be fined for the 'defacement of Government Property' and there repercussions to go along with that - including loss of rank, pay - even including confinement.

No GI or Jarhead wanted 'that'.

'Sweetheart' grips were another matter - and those were removeable.
When I was about 8 or 9 years of age I had a good friend (about the same age), who lived down the street who offered to show me his dad's gun "collection". This was in about 1947-48, and his dad was a veteran of WWII, having served in the European theater of the war.

When we (my friend and I) decided the time was right, (no parents around) we hauled several big trunks (heavy!) out of his dad's closet and while I was just a dumb little kid, I was fairly familiar with military small arms, because my two older brothers who also had served (in Europe and in the Pacific theater of WWII), so I knew what I was looking at!

When my buddy opened the first trunk, I was AMAZED to see six or eight (I think it was eight) Thompson sub-machine guns, (which I recall were wrapped in like waxed paper!) And I was even more flabbergasted when he pulled eight or ten 1911-A1 pistols out of the second trunk!

I have no idea what this kid's dad did in the war, (other than steal government property), or how he was able to bring home so many "souvenirs", but I'll bet those guns would be worth a "pretty penny" today!

As an example of just how hypocritical the government's policies were on that subject, my oldest brother told me of the HUNDREDs of 1911 pistols that they were ordered to throw overboard on the trip home, after the surrender of the Japanese!

nowinca
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,819 Posts
There was a lot of what we would consider wanton destruction of perfectly good and usable (not to forget "collectible") equipment of all kinds during and after the war. Any equipment considered obsolete, excess to requirements or not worth the effort involved to return to the US was unceremoniously destroyed by the most expedient means available.

I've read where Marines were ordered to bury M1941 Johnson rifles in the sand some Pacific island when being re-equipped with M1 Garands and seen photos of perfectly good PT Boats being burned on beaches and aircraft being shoved off the decks of aircraft carriers into the ocean. It was all very common.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
937 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Here's some advice I'll give you for free - 'Buy The Gun - Not The Story'.

With militaria, there's almost always a story attached when the piece is 'iffy', because it needs the additional 'embroidery' to sell it.

The defaced service pistols weren't always stolen, either - but that 'United States Property' scared a lot of guys who didn't want others to think that it may've been purloined.

Thanks to the various Government surplus, DCM and NRA sales, there are hundreds of thousands of legitimate GI small arms out there - most without sales documents, but completely legitimate to purchase and to own.
Definitely good advice... I thought the story was a bit too convenient, although I will give the clerk credit - he did say "could". But I didn't accept his suggestion. And the gun itself was extremely overpriced, so I wouldn't have bought it anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,277 Posts
Nope...

The piece belonged to Uncle Sam, and he preferred them to stay in their original, in-screwed-with configuration.

The service member could be fined for the 'defacement of Government Property' and there repercussions to go along with that - including loss of rank, pay - even including confinement.

No GI or Jarhead wanted 'that'.

'Sweetheart' grips were another matter - and those were removeable.
Article 15 UCMJ for sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,850 Posts
You may find true original military personalization on non-reusable personal gear/apparel, for example leather jackets, helmets, etc., however.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,352 Posts
Have a friend whose grandfather stayed in France for another year after WWI ended salvaging small arms to be sent back. There is a picture of a WWII GI sitting in stacks of literally hundreds of M1 Rifles preparing them to be salvaged. The military didn't throw their small arms away after the war was over.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
My father more than once mentioned that after the defeat of Japan and the end of the war the government was offering to SELL some arms to members of the armed force would wanted to keep them. The government was wanting to demobilize/demilitarize and did not want to bear the cost of shipping and store all of the war material shipped overseas but no longer needed. Only some men chose to spend their meager pay for their cherished gun and the shipping home, others would more than willing to but all the distance they could between the war, them and their future.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top