Fine Modern & Antique Arms - November 2023 : Sale A1123 Lot 1353

Product Details

for 1913, 29in. nitro barrels, No.1 replacements by the makers in 1973, barrel number 9647, the rib engraved 'BOSS & CO. 13/14 CORK STREET. LONDON. W.1.', and gold-inlaid '1' at the breech end, No.2 sleeved, the rib gold-inlaid '2' at the breech end, rib inscription rubbed, 2 1/2in. chambers, bored approx. 1/4 choke in all, toplevers gold-inlaid '1' and '2', automatic safeties with gold-inlaid 'SAFE' details, gold-inlaid cocking-indicators, Boss 1905 improved patent single triggers, the No.1 with patent lock-mounted barrel selector switch, provisional patent no. 10949 of 13th May 1898, rolled-edge triggerguards, best fine acanthus scroll engraving with floral bouquets, retaining slight traces of original colour-hardening and some renewed finish, 14 3/8in. well-figured stocks (No.1 a replacement), weight 6lb. 13oz. (No.1) and 6lb. 8oz. (No.2), in their brass-cornered oak and leather case

Provenance: The makers have kindly confirmed that the guns were ordered on the 5th April 1913 for R H Sheepshanks with 29in. barrels (and a note saying 'wanted by August if possible')

Major R H Sheepshanks D.S.O. M.V.O (1885-1951) began his military career serving as a Lieutenant in the Indian Army, 33rd Queen Victoria's Own Light Cavalry. By 1915 he was serving in the Indian Army 12th Cavalry. Following the declaration of war on Turkey by Britain and France, The Mesopotamian Campaign was launched with an occupation of Southern Persia by British troops.

A Brigade strength garrison was established at Ahwaz to defend both the British position in the south and the line of oil wells to the east. Intelligence reached the garrison commander that a force of Turkish Infantry and a contingent of Arabs was gathering to the west, so a reconnaissance force was sent out to establish the numbers and disposition of the Turkish forces - which turned out to be 12,000 strong, heavily outnumbering the British brigade. The reconnaissance force struggled to effect its retirement and return to the garrison, with the enemy forces making repeated efforts to cut them off. Whilst the British lost five officers and over two hundred enlisted men, even more considerable losses were sustained by the Turkish forces, estimated at around 1000 killed.
Following the encounter, despatches sent in by Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur Barrett, bringing to notice the services of several officers included the following about Lieut. Sheepshanks:

Lieutenant R. H. Sheepshanks, 12th
Cavalry, had been conspicuous for his gallantry
and skilful handling of a small body of cavalry.
" Reforming his troop he repeatedly charged
the foremost lines of the enemy and inflicted
heavy loss on them."

The guns have remained within the family since new and the vendor, Mr David Sheepshanks CBE DL (former Chairman of Ipswich Town Football Club between 1995-2009 and also the Football League in late 90's and the founding Chairman of the FA National Football Centre, St George's Park 2007 - 2015) has kindly supplied us with the following additional information regarding the provenance of the guns:

"this is my paternal Grandfather who passed the guns to my father...and then he to me. Both my Grandfather (after he retired back to Suffolk) and my father were keen shots and they used these guns regularly. I am also a keen shot, however I did not get on with the single trigger!
To add to the story and the provenance my Grandfather was promoted to Captain and then to Major and he was given the honour of becoming ADC to the Viceroy of India Lord Chelmsford (nee Thesiger). From there he went on to meet his eldest daughter and to marry her - my Grandmother.
One more story, my grandfather also loved cars and reportedly had the first Bentley in India (not sure of model). A limerick was written about him:

There was a young man called Sheepshanks
Who once taught his car to leap banks
If he went for a drive
And came back alive
It was always a matter for deep thanks!!"

Please click HERE to view Terms & Conditions. Please note all Lots are listed in accordance with UK Law, for overseas buyers, please ensure you are familiar with your relevant local firearms and customs regulations before bidding.

Estimate £5,000-7,000

S2 - Sold as a Section 2 Firearm under the 1968 Firearms Act