Researching an unusual Enfield No.2 MK1*

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by oldcruiser, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. oldcruiser

    oldcruiser New Member

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    I'm new to this site, and am hoping someone can help out.

    I am researching a revolver for one of my buds, and could use some expertise in furthering my search.

    The item is an Enfield No. 2 MK1* 1940, but was nickle plated at the factory. The conservative condition would be 95+%.

    The serial number is L6225. The caliber is .38, and the piece carries British proof marks. Markings are: England, BNP 38-767, 3 1/2 tons, F2B, ESC 199.

    My friend's dad served aboard the Carrier USS Munda (CVE-104) in the Pacific theater during the war. The revolver had been issued to a British pilot whose plane had crashed, and was rescued by the dad.

    The two men became friends during the few days the pilot was waiting to be picked up. As a token of his appreciation, he gave the revolver as a memento. According to the pilot, only 1000 had been nickle plated for their use in the Pacific. He had only fired 12 rounds through it since it was issued, and it has remained unfired.

    I have researched many items over the years, but could use some good advice on this one. Can anyone help out?

    Attached Files:

  2. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    This is one of those cases where any comment is going to be hard. There was little contact in the Pacific between U.S. and British forces, and AFAIK, NO Enfield revolvers were ever nickel plated by the factory or issued that way to anyone, for any reason. Handguns were issued to flyers for use if they were forced down in hostile territory, and I would think issue of a revolver that would reflect the sun would be unlikely. But to say that is to be in the position of doubting someone's word, even in what sounds like a "war story".

    So, if the man says that is what happened, I will be polite and accept it. It is not, after all, totally impossible.

    Jim
  3. RJay

    RJay Active Member

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    I believe that some Enfields Mk 1's were nickeled, but only on a commercial basis, never for military issue. I will never say never, but knowing how conservative the British were, and I have never seen a military marked Enfield No 2, Mk1 that was factory nickeled for military issue, I have to agree with Jim.
  4. oldcruiser

    oldcruiser New Member

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    I'm skeptical, as you, but it would be nice if I could find a solid direct link so as for myself not to appear as being the "crazy" one telling the guy someone had fed him a line many years ago.

    I have yet to see any in theater firearm nickle plated.....well, with perhaps the exception of Patton, or one of the garret troopers in Saigon. LOL

    The standard issue enfields were usually painted black. The RSAF archives are long since past. However, I did find out the USS Munda had contact with the Brits. That did surprise me.


    Thanks for the reply.
  5. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    It is an unfortunate truth that some folks tend to embellish the facts from their own lives. As a youngster during and just after WWII, I met GIs and vets who had captured Hitler (but he got away); took guns (tons of them) "off'n Old Goring hisself"; looted the Japanese emperor's palace and got a bunch of engraved guns (but the officers took them); had a Jap rifle with a "mum" but Harry Truman ordered the FBI to take it and it was returned with the mum ground; flew a German jet fighter (the only Army infantry corporal to do so); parachuted single handed into Germany to capture Hitler (no parachute wings or airborne insignia on the uniform because it was a secret mission); showed me an "Iron Cross" awarded for fighting the Germans (it was a marksmanship medal); captured Berlin (the Russians did that - no Americans anywhere around); was given an M1 rifle by General Patton (I was with him when he got it from the DCM); and on and on and on.

    I respect those who fought for our freedom in WWII, and honor the sacrifice of those who didn't return. But I have to say that, as a group, those guys were the biggest bunch of liars I have ever known.

    Jim
  6. RJay

    RJay Active Member

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    :D Well, I do have to admit, the older I get, the more important my role and action in combat seems to get:D Must be something in the air.
  7. oldcruiser

    oldcruiser New Member

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    I think I might have stumbled onto a decent forum here.
  8. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    You might try sending your question to the "Keeper, Exhibts and Firearms" at the Imperial War Museum in London. I have found them helpful when it comes to Brit stuff. (or they can, at least, direct you to someone who may be able to give you an answer.)
    Go here to submit a question: http://iwm.altarama.com/reft100.aspx?mi=DDEdtdF6Ek-0AdJyzwb4Uw
  9. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Member

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    Given the shortage of British firearms in 1940, it is quite possible that guns originally manufactured for civilian use were repurposed--as Robert E. Lee could have attested to. If 1,000 were manufactured, there should be a few still around. The plating on yours looks to be factory applied (crispness of the stampings). I'd root around a bit on the internet and keep rooting around every once in a while until you find something. It is true the story may have been embellished a bit, but maybe it wasn't. Good Luck
  10. oldcruiser

    oldcruiser New Member

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    Thanks for the link, I will dig a little deeper.
  11. oldcruiser

    oldcruiser New Member

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    The plating is what initially through me, and I have dealt with many pieces which were plated after the fact.

    The plating on this revolver does appear to be factory applied (e.g. copper, nickel, nickel, very crisp stampings and inner workings).

    Whatever the outcome, I have learned quite a bit about the involvement the Brits (and Aussies) had in the Pacific in '44 & '45.

    If the friend's dad were still alive, I would try to find out more details to determine if it was a hoax or a real Sasquatch. ;)

    In the meantime, I'm still scratching my head.
  12. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    The RSAF Enfield did not produce revolvers for civilian sale, only for the British government, so no plated guns were "repurposed."

    Oh, and by the way, did anyone notice that BNP and the other commercial proof marks? Those are the British commercial Birmingham Nitro Proof marks, used AFTER 1955, and applied when the revolver was sold out of government stores. It was not put on Enfield revolvers used by the British armed forces. So, unless the British airman was able to run back to Birmingham and have the gun proved before giving it to the American (and use a time machine to boot), the story appears pretty unlikely, which is the polite way of saying it is pure bullhockey.

    Jim
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  13. oldcruiser

    oldcruiser New Member

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    Well, the research of the war story, and the revolver, is over.

    As posted prior, against my better judgement, I agreed to research this piece for a friend whose dad had left it to him after his passing. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have done so since British firearms do not interest me at all. The war story sounded a little embellished as well, never mind my initial suspicion regarding the nickle plate. The plating is what lead me to post in order to see if I were missing something.

    Long story short:
    The Royal Australian Air Force (with British supplied pilots) played many important roles within the Southwest Pacific Theater coinciding with the USS Munda and task force. Nine squadrons of Kittyhawks and Spitfires were utilized during the last couple years of the war. One actually crash landed onboard, and the rescue did happen.

    As for the revolver? I can not verify any exchange happening between the pilot and the fireman. The revolver in possession was never in the PTO, and was exported from the UK in the late fifties. There were, however, a very few of them locally plated prior to their export.

    Perhaps the old veteran saw the Enfield in a shop window one day, and wanted something to rekindle the memories. As to what really happened, I do not know. I do know he served his country, and for that I am thankful.

    I began by trying to honor a friend's request. I can't say I did him a favor though as the way things turned out.

    Nonetheless, I took time to study and research before anything was said. I have found out that is the best way to avoid ever having to sit down to a small table and drink a beer with someone you don't really like.

    Thanks for your help and input regarding my post.
  14. oldcruiser

    oldcruiser New Member

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    Well, this is too good not to share with y'all.

    I went to the barber shop my friend owns in order to give him his dad's revolver. I had previously told him what the real deal entailed about the war story and revolver.

    I placed the Enfield on his backbar without thinking much about it. A customer, getting out of the chair, asked if he could take a look, and my friend replied that he could. The customer asked if the revolver was for sale. My friend stated he would have to have a thousand for the Enfield, and wouldn't take any less.

    Ten Franklins later, the customer and the Enfield left the barber shop. Which helps to prove one thing: P.T. Barnum was right.
  15. RJay

    RJay Active Member

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    :) Or, the customer knew something we didn't:)
  16. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Or didn't know as much.

    Jim
  17. oldcruiser

    oldcruiser New Member

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    On a personal note, the funny part was the guy who plunked down the money was a local banker. He has been getting to people for years.

    Anyone know where we can find another nickel plated Enfield????
  18. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    No, but Rip Polaris posted pics of a 1936 Luger that has been plated; that ought to bring at least $5000; Hermann Göring's personal gun, for sure.

    Jim
  19. oldcruiser

    oldcruiser New Member

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    I just finished perusing the luger. Hmmmm, if I could pick it up for 3.....;)
  20. Mystgreen

    Mystgreen New Member

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    I also have a nickel-plated Enfield No. 2 Mk 1. It was sold to me as a Webley (Which I knew it wasn't, but the price was good because the guy at the gunshow said someone must have screwed it up by plating it. Remember: Sold as a Webley). Fairly good condition. Most of the metal was highly polished so that it bears few machining marks. Looks just like the one pictured although the stamping isn't as clear. (Hence the belief of an after-production plating)
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
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