In the early hours of the 15th April 1912 the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg. Sailing from Southampton to New York on her maiden voyage she carried 2,224 passengers. More than 1,500 did not survive.
Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon and his wife Lucile were 1st Class passengers and famously escaped in Lifeboat #1, the Captain’s personal lifeboat. This was capable of holding 40 people, however it was launched with just 12 people on board.
After the sinking, Duff-Gordon was the only civilian that was called to the inquest of the sinking. He was accused of bribing his way onto the lifeboat and then paying the crew not to return for survivors. He was eventually acquitted but his name had been dragged through the mud and would not recover.
The report stated:
“The very gross charge against Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon that, having got into No. 1 boat he bribed the men in it to row away from the drowning people, is unfounded”
Letters have recently emerged backing up innocence.
“Presently there was a little boat at the end, what they called the emergency boat, the officers standing there told some stokers to man the boat and no other women were there, so Sir Cosmo asked if we could get in, and we said we would if he could come.
“The dear officers let us, and we dropped into this boat, then they let it down to the water.”
The group were later picked up by the Carpathia. Her words back up Sir Cosmo’s testimony to the inquiry into the sinking.
The letter also talks of the terror and confusion:
“We rowed away from the ship, which was sinking fast, so to get away from swell or sucksion.
“I . . . saw all the lights go out, and the very last of her, then the terrible explosion of rumbling, followed by the cries and screams of the hundreds in the water.”
Sir Cosmo was the most famous survivor of the Titanic and even appears in James Cameron’s epic film Titanic with Leonardo diCaprio and Kate Winslet.
6thDuke of Richmond, 6thDuke of Lennox and 1stDuke of Gordon KG GCVO. Lord Strettington until 1819 then Earl of March from 1819-1860.
He was the son of the 5thDuke of Richmond Charles Lennox and Lady Caroline. Educated at Westminster then Oxford, he then went into the Royal Horse Guards, acting as aide-de-camp for the Duke of Wellington. Then as a Member of Parliament Chairing many Royal positions including the Royal Commission on Captial Punishment.
The Duke of Wellington had a long association with the Duke of Richmond. The wife of the 4thDuke, the Duchess of Richmond held a ball in Brussels on 15thJune 1815. It was here that the Duke of Wellington was informed that the Prussian forces had been forced to retreat from the French. Wellington went into a side study with the 4thDuke of Richmond and exclaimed “Napoleon has humbugged me!” he then layed his finger on the position of Waterloo on a map and declared “I must fight him there”
It was said that many of the officers at this ball were found lying dead in battle still in there ball dress, having gone straight to Quatre Bras.
The 5thDuke also served as aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington as the Earl of March at Waterloo. He lived with a musket ball in his chest for the rest of his life.
Goodwood bought by 1stDuke of Richmond and Lennox 1695 for £4,100. It was used as a hunting lodge and occasional residence. Over the years the residing Duke’s have purchased further land and houses. It was the 3rdDuke that made the most dramatic changes, he commissioned Sir William Chambers to build a new house at Goodwood and also contributed hugely to the grounds. When he inherited the estate in 1750 the acreage was 1,100, when he died in 1806 he passed on over 17,000 acres.
The 6thDuke also took a keen interest in the estate and built over 400 estate cottages, greatly improving living conditions
The 6thDuke was created 1stDuke of Gordon by Queen Victoria in recognition to his services to the Crown. For 10 years he was aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington between 1842 and 1852. His first choice of career was the army and served in the Royal Horse Guards
He succeeded his father to the Dukedom in 1860. Four years later he ordered this James Purdey 12-bore 1863 Patent snap-action thumbhole-underlever hammergun.
He died in 1903 leaving a legacy of care for his tenants, providing working and living condition at a higher standard than they had ever been before. In respect of the house and park, he effected many improvements and embellishments drawn from a deep personal interest in his estates.
During the Second Boer War 1899-1902 Captain Walker was part of Searchlight Section of the Royal Engineers. This role included the operation of searchlight equipment on all twenty of the British Army’s armoured trains under Lord Kitchener.
Walker introduced the motorized engine to the British Army during the Boer War. He gives an account of him buying the car in Cape Town and using it for his daily operations “Several months ago I noticed a locomobile car at Cape Town, and being struck with its simplicity and neatness, bought it and took it up country with me….. It also performed some very useful work in visiting out-stations, where searchlights were either installed or wanted……undoubdtedly the best piece of work done by the car so far was its trial trip with trailer, when it blew up the mines at Klein Nek” (The Romance of Modern Invention by Archiblad Williams).
This account was also used in a Daily Telegraph article in 2001 by David Burgess-Wise
” WE think of the car-phone as a modern phenomenon, but it first made its appearance at the end of Queen Victoria’s reign. It was in 1901, during the South African campaign, that the enterprising Captain RS Walker of the Royal Engineers went to war against the Boers with a Locomobile steam car which he had bought in Cape Town.
Its most daring feat was blowing up the Klein Nek minefield with a dynamo driven off the back tyre. Its usefulness as a communications vehicle was limited: in those pre-radio days the maximum range of the telephone was precisely one mile – the length of the wire linking the car to its base station.”
1899-1902 Anglo-Boer War:
The Queen’s South Africa (QSA) Medal Clasps: Belfast, Cape Colony, Orange Free State, Laing’s Nek
The King’s South Africa (QSA) Medal Clasps: South Africa 1901, South Africa 1902
—A copy of Captain R.S. Walker giving evidence of the accidental wounding of a Corporal W. Hayward of Search Light Section 22ndFeb 1902—
By 1904 he was Major and he had qualified as Interpreter in Modern Foreign Language – French 1stClass and by 1909 German 2ndClass. In 1910, he was stationed in Gibraltar.
World War I:
March 1917 became Commander Royal Engineers for
Mentioned in despatches in 1915 and again in 1916 by General Haig. He was temporary Lt. Colonel in 03/06/1916 and awarded D.S.O for Distinguished Service in the Field. In 1917 he was mentioned in despatches again “Mentioned in Despatches by General Sir Douglas Haig, G.C.B., Commander-in-Chief of the British Armies in France, to the Secretary of State for War, for distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty.” Again, in September 1917 mentioned in despatches and acting Battalion Lt. Colonel.
Killed 30thSeptember 1918 age 46 part of VI Corps probably killed after the Second Battle of Bapaume (31stAugust-3rdSeptember 1918) during subsequent Allied attacks. Possibly killed at Battle of Canal du Nord 27thSept-1stOct 1918, a battle that saw twelve Victoria Cross’ awarded.
An exceptional pair of 12-bore sidelock’s, by William Powell, serial no’s:14672/14673, the W. Baker 1913 patent action engraved with border engraving and virtually full renewed colour-hardening, with gorgeous slender fences, the top levers engraved ‘1’ and ‘2’ in gold, with classic double trigger’s and well-figured walnut stocks.
The ‘Twelve Twenty’ action is a design for a 20-bore action with 12-bore barrels. It is a rare design and beautifully crafted.
Records show that this pair was made for a Thomas Leslie Bookless on 29th October 1948. Born in Newcastle in 1909 to parents Walter and Minnie. Married Jeanne Moffat in 1935.
He was a Moto GP driver in the 1930’s and competed in 1930 Junior race in MGP he finished 6th with a time of 4.04.46 with average speed of 56.14mph. Then raced in the senior event later that same year, riding a 348 Velocette. He also raced in the Senior MGP in 1932 on a Norton bike.
Racing image also included: Velocette. Entry No.28. T.L. Bookless. Ramsay Parliament Square, Isle of Man Junior Manx Grand Prix 1930.
Snipet of the race” There was a few minor crashes which, was hardly surprising under the conditions, but none were serious. Velocettes had occupied the first six places since the first lap, and their delightful roadholding and steering were proving invaluable under the treacherous conditions, and there was no repetition of the remarkable state of affairs at the S-bend before Greeba bridge three years ago when on several occasions there was seven and eight riders off at a time, and trying to collect themselves and get away before another slithering machine came to take their own motor out of their very hands ! The fourth lap, however, brought bad news, for Muir’s machine gave up and, his wonderful ride was at an end, after establishing a 4-minute lead over Harding. The vacancy on the leader board was thus taken up by another Velocette in the hands of T. L. Bookless, giving the first six on the fourth lap as….”
PLEASE NOTE THE TROPHY IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE SALE
A career officer that started his military service in 1933 with the Lancashire Fusiliers. He was one of the first to volunteer and ultimately …
A superb 12-bore boxlock with a rich history, by J. Rigby & Co, serial no: 17599, the action with beautiful border engraving with some foliate-scrolling, the fences ensuite to the action with some engraving, a classic double-trigger and figured walnut stock.
The founder of Rigby was John Rigby in 1758. However it was his grandson, another John, who took the business to world fame. It was he, who oversaw the Lee .303 rifle into British military service. A world famous maker that can claim to be oldest firm of gunmakers still practising in Britain.
This particular sporting arm, no:17599 was sold to a Sir David Gill on 30th August 1910.
Sir David Gill (1834-1914) FRS, PRAS, K.C.B.-
Gill is the only Scot to be awarded the Bruce Medal for astronomy, the Watson medal by US Academy of Science and the Gold Medal by the Royal Astronomical Society…..twice! He was also knighted by Queen Victoria in 1900, Commander de la Legion d’Honneur and Prussian Pour le Merite together with six honour doctorates. He became President of the Royal Astronomical Society and President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.
From timely beginnings as an amateur astronomer to being appointed Queen Victoria’s Royal Astronomer, he would go on to take the first HD photograph of the moon and also photograph the Great Comet of 1882. His workings on finding a scale of the solar system, was to within 0.2% of todays recordings. He also played a major role in mapping the entire sky in the Carte de Ciel project, an ambitious International venture, which resulted in over 10 million stars being recorded. In his later years he sat as President of the Royal Astronomical Society in London.
His work was so impressive that the great astronomer Arthur Eddington said “Whenever they have been put to the test,Gill’s values have been confirmed…..When we compare the instruments – the 40 inch telescope at Yerkes, or the 26 inch at Greenwich, with his 7in heliometer – we must marvel at the precision he could obtain.”
A 12-bore pinfire, by Adolphe Jansen of Brussels, this quite superb pinfire action is heavily engraved with game scenes of pheasant, deer and hunting hounds in natural settings, surrounded with both border and foliate-scroll work engraving, the hammers are also engraved heavily, together with a Jones patent rotary underlever, the Damascus barrels are in their original gun metal grey finish, with some engraved decoration, with a classic double-trigger and walnut stock.
Adolphe Jansen of Brussels was gunmaker to King Leopold and designed several patents in the mid to late 19th century. The name finished trading in 1958.
A fine pair of 12-bore sidelocks, by Joseph Lang & Son, serial no:15174/5, the beautiful sidelock actions engraved with best foliate and bouquet engraving, the carved ornate fences also engraved with bouquet engraving, the top levers and ribs numbered ‘1’ and ‘2’ in gold, with barrels polished in their original steel finish, with single-triggers and well-figured walnut stocks.
The makers have confirmed that this pair were made 15th August 1912 for a Mr J.P. Anderson.
Joseph Lang set up on his own in 1921 having worked for a number of years for Alexander Wilson. It appears he may well have had some help along the way having married one of James Purdey’s daughters! He was then credited with the introduction of breech loading sporting arms due to the improvements he made on an existing French design.
The business changed names many times over the years and was even in agreement with Abercrombie & Fitch of New York to act as an agent. In such high regard the business was held, records shows that in 1933 they had well over 6,000 customers including eight Dukes and two hundred and fifty four Lords.
An old and beautiful 10-bore hammer by Horton, circa 1880, the partially engraved action with border and scroll-engraving, with engraved hammers, the barrels in Lockyer bronze finish, with classic double-trigger and highly-figured walnut stock.
William Horton was making guns as early as 1855. He was based in Birmingham but moved to several other locations over the years. The business finished trading in 1924 when it was based in Glasgow.
A beautiful 12-bore hammer gun, by John Squire Boreham. The action with fine foliate-scroll engraving, hammers ensuite to action, the barrels in Lockyer Bronze finish, with classic double-trigger and highly-figured walnut stock.
J.S. Boreham began his trade in Petty Curry, Cambridge in 1868 he moved residence twice, up until the business was taken over by K.D. Radcliffe in 1898.
A beautiful and antique 12-bore hammer, by J.W. Spurrier, the slight action beautifully engraved with bold foliate-scroll, the fences with bold foliate-scroll engraving throughout, the hammers also partially engraved, the barrels in Lockyer bronze finish, with classic double-trigger and well-figured walnut pistol-grip stock.
John Walter Spurrier was predominantly a silversmith operating in London in the late 19th century. He succeeded A.E. Spurrier and started trading at Wool Exchange that same year.