Tolkien’s Sidearm Exhibited

Tolkien's WWI revolver.

Tolkien’s WWI revolver.

Riding the wave of publicity generated by the new Hobbit movie, the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester will display J.R.R. Tolkien’s WWI service revolver this month.

Graham Boxer, director of IWM North, told the Daily Mail:

“This December, just as the latest The Hobbit film launches in cinemas, visitors to IWM North will be able to see this weapon and connect further with Tolkien’s magical stories which were born from harrowing wartime experiences.

“Exhibiting this object is for us the start of what will be an extremely busy time as we prepare to launch our major First World War Centenary exhibition.”

Tolkien carried the Webley MK VI on service with the 11th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers in June 1916. He was with his unit in France until the autumn of the year when he contracted trench fever and was returned to England for treatment.

The Daily Mail reports this is the first time the revolver has ever been displayed.

6 thoughts on “Tolkien’s Sidearm Exhibited

  1. In an earfy draft of Tolkien’s epic, didnt Sauron have a minion named Deletorious Herri who would admonish armorers, “I know what you’red tinking?”

  2. I wonder how they proved the provenance. And is JRRT’s officer’s sword still around? A friend of mine who was an officer in the Royal Welch Fusiliers (23rd Foot) in the ’50s still has his. Of course the swords were ceremonial weapons, but the revolver was, or could be, used in combat. And speaking of armaments, I saw on the Antiques Roadshow program on PBS a few weeks ago, two of the pikes used by the guards at the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz” movie. See the webpage Jolly, but not really very well designed as weapons. They fetched a pretty penny, though: $30,000 the pair.

  3. Too bad Tolkien’s youngest son didn’t wind up with them, because then they’d be Christopher’s pikes.


    The pun polce are a knockng at my door.

    (There go the “i”s of my wrtes.)

  4. The piece is very easily confused with the Enfield No. 2, Mk. II, a revolver very similar in appearance. However, you are quite correct. This is a Mk. VI Webley, .455 cal. Rats. I was hoping you’d slipped up, so that I could look like a smarty.

  5. My copyediting may be awful, but let no one question my ability to cut-and-paste verbiage from the Imperial War Museum site.

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