LANG FOR WITTON DAW & CO., LONDON
A CASED 54-BORE PERCUSSION RECIPROCATING TRANSITIONAL REVOLVER, MODEL 'LANG'S PATENT', serial no. 658,
circa 1845, with blued octagonal 4 1/4in. sighted barrel signed on the top-flat 'WITTON DAW & CO', engraved band at muzzle, dove-tailed white metal fore-sight, plain reciprocating gas-seal London proved cylinder, each chamber numbered respectively '1' through '6', rounded border and scroll engraved boxlock action with offset central hammer for sighting, finely chequered pistol-grip butt with inlet silver oval escutcheon at wrist, engraved iron butt-cap with central trapdoor for caps, guarded trigger, the whole retaining the majority of its original blued finish (some surface corrosion), together with its original oak storage case, lined and compartmented in blue baize, the exterior of lid inlet for a plaque inscribed 'E. G. ELWES' (loose but present)
Provenance: This revolver has been consigned by a descendant of the Elwes family and was the property of Edward Elwes (1850-1886), originally midshipman, who initially served on HMS Sutlej, transferring later to HMS Tamar. In 1873, HMS Tamar was despatched to Ashanti on the Gold Coast, along with HMS Argus, Barracuda and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Simoon acting as a hospital vessel. Commanding the fleet was Captain Commerrell in HMS Rattlesnake, the whole forming the West African Fleet. Conditions were inhospitable to say the least and Ashanti became known as the 'White Man's Grave'. Colonies were few and far between, but when the British took Elmina Fort from the Dutch, war broke out with the local king (Kofi Karikara) as the British refused to pay a rent. The Ashanti army he raised numbered around 20,000 men, but after intense fighting were overcome by the British, led by Sir Garnet Wolseley.
The king was deposed and the soldiers looted much gold. A prolonged period of unrest ensued until a new king, Prempe, was crowned in 1888. By this point over 40% of Wolseley's force of 4000 had been lost, mostly to sickness. Edward Elwes survived, returning on the Simoon, and went on to serve on many ships including HMS Iron Duke, but sadly contracted serious sunstroke in the South China Sea. He returned home in 1886, dying soon after returning
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