WW1 Colt 1911 45acp dated 1918 Semi Automatic pistol
Possible WW2 SOE or OSS connection
This WW1 Colt 1911 in 45 acp was manufactured by Colt in 1918 and has a serial number 301499 which dates this to 1918.
There is a difference between the WW1 Colt 1911 and the later Colt 1911A1 and that is the frame, the frame on a WW1 Colt 1911 does not have a scallop out machining around the trigger frame.
All Colt 1911A1's have this machined out scalloped which was part of the manufacturing process at the factory, so telling a WW1 Colt 1911 and the later 1911A1 is quite easy.
The condition of this Colt 1911 is very good, but this pistol has no marking anywhere on it, only the serial number. We understand from the last owner, who is a WW2 Militaria collector that this pistol was wiped out for SOE work in WW2.
The only reason weapons are ever wiped is to be untraceable, so if this weapon ever fell into the wrong hands it would be untraceable.
Before researched this Colt 1911 we had no idea how common this was, there were whole departments here in the UK and over in the USA that just did this covert work. Here in the UK they even had a Government department 'Minister of Economic Warfare' that ran this covert operation.
SOE’s research effort into weapons and devices and their manufacture was managed under the cover name of the Inter Services Research Bureau (ISRB), which operated several workshops and laboratories throughout Britain.
The Research and Development department Station XII, was based in Aston House near Stevenage. Professor Dudley Newitt, a former soldier and chemical engineer at the Royal College of Science, London, was the director of research.
In addition, there was a weapons section at Bride Hall, another country house in Hertfordshire, Station VI which among other assignments was tasked with gathering weapons.
One way of doing this was by public appeals in July 1942, September 1943 and early 1945, asking the civilian population to donate any weapon in their possession to the good cause.
In this manner alone, more than 10,000 “untraceable” small arms were acquired for the use of resistance movements in Europe. Station VI sent more than 100,000 pistols and automatics of non-standard type, donated, captured or purchased, for use in the field.
SOE and OSS were disbanded after the war, although the OSS was reborn two years later as the CIA.