J. PURDEY & SONS
A COMPOSED PAIR OF 12-BORE SELF-OPENING SIDELOCK EJECTORS, serial no. 20816 / 21420,
29in. nitro chopperlump barrels (No.1 replacements by the makers in 1977), rib engraving indistinct, 2 1/2in. chambers, bored approx. 1/4 and 3/4 choke (No.1) 1/4 and 1/2 choke (No.2), self-opening actions (No.1 with replacement crosspin), toplevers gold-inlaid '1' and '2', automatic safeties, cocking-indicators, fine bouquet and scroll engraving, 15in. stocks (No.1 cracked and pinned at head) including 3/4in. wooden extensions, weight 6lb. 10oz. (No.1) 6lb. 11oz. (No.2), in their brass-cornered oak and leather case
Provenance: The makers have kindly confirmed that No.1 gun was completed in July 1914, and No.2 gun in 1917, for a Major P. Birkin.
The vendor has kindly provided us with the following family history:
"I have spoken to my mother about the provenance of these guns. She has confirmed that they were given to my father (The Hon. Peter Strutt, MC) sometime after the end of the Second World War by a family friend. I understand this family friend was the father of a son of about my father's age (born around 1924) who had been killed in the war and wanted my father to have the guns which had belonged to, or were destined for, his son."
Peter Algernon Strutt, the fourth child of the 3rd Lord Belper, was born in London on June 18th 1924. He had three half-siblings by his father's first marriage to Eva Bruce (who subsequently married the 6th Earl of Rosebery). Michael, one of his half-brothers, died beside Prince George, Duke of Kent, in an air crash in 1942. Peter's mother, Angela, was the daughter of Douglas Tollemache, the founder of Tollemache Breweries in East Anglia.
He was educated at Eton before being commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in 1943. In October the following year he joined the 5th Battalion in Holland. Soon afterwards, while attending a briefing in a small house near the front line, a large enemy shell landed close by. Strutt, following his training regulations, dived under the nearest table. When he emerged a few moments later he found all the other, more experienced officers sitting calmly in their seats. "Dropped your pencil, Peter?" his CO asked sardonically.
In March 1945, in an attack by the 5th Battalion Coldstream Guards on the Wesel bridgehead, western Germany, Strutt was in command of the reserve platoon of a forward company. Early in the battle the forward platoons were held up by very heavy machine-gun fire from the right flank. They were in the open and suffered many casualties.
Strutt was ordered to advance round the left flank and, leading his men with great skill and dash, cleared the ground in front and gained his most forward objective. When the company commander was wounded and most of Company HQ was knocked out, Strutt took charge and, under intense fire from small arms and heavy weapons, consolidated the position, directed fire on to the enemy and evacuated the wounded. The citation for his MC paid tribute to his inspirational leadership.
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S2 - Sold as a Section 2 Firearm under the 1968 Firearms Act