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Other Name
WEBLEY MARK VI
Material Type
Artifact
Materials
STEEL, PLASTIC
Catalogue Number
P20100035001
  1 image  
Material Type
Artifact
Other Name
WEBLEY MARK VI
Date
1916
Materials
STEEL, PLASTIC
No. Pieces
1
Height
16.8
Length
28.3
Width
4.4
Description
.455 CALIBRE BREAK-TOP REVOLVER WITH BLACK PLASTIC GRIPS. STAMPED ON LEFT SIDE OF FRAME IS "WEBLEY MARK VI" AND "PATENTS 1916", ALONG WITH BRITISH PROOF MARKS. SERIAL NUMBER "231690" IS STAMPED INTO FRAME IN FRONT OF TRIGGER GUARD AND ON BARREL HINGE AND ON CYLINDER. BREAK TOP AND AUTOMATIC EJECTOR WITH 6 SHOT CYLINDER. MINOR WEAR ON GRIPS.
Subjects
ARMAMENT-FIREARM
Historical Association
MILITARY
History
WEBLEY MARK VI REVOLVER WHICH ST. CLAIR BALFOUR USED DURING HIS SERVICE IN THE ROYAL CANADIAN NAVAL VOLUNTEER RESERVE IN WORLD WAR II. ACCORDING TO NAVAL SERVICE RECORDS, “ST. CLAIR BALFOUR ENLISTED IN THE ROYAL CANADIAN NAVAL VOLUNTEER RESERVE ON SEPTEMBER 29, 1939 AND WAS APPOINTED LIEUTENANT-COMMANDER (G), R.C.N.V.R. ON JUNE 16, 1943.” ACCORDING TO THE NAVAL OFFICERS’ ASSOCIATION OF CANADA TORONTO BRANCH NEWSLETTER (BRUMPH) FROM MAY 2002, “DURING THE WAR, [W WII] MR. BALFOUR SERVED WITH THE ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY, RISING TO THE RANK OF COMMANDER. HE FIRST SERVED IN THE DESTROYER ST. LAURENT, THEN COMMANDED THE CORVETTE LETHBRIDGE (K160) [FROM JUNE 15, 1943 TO DECEMBER 26, 1943], AND IN OCTOBER, 1944, WAS PUT IN COMMAND OF ESCORT GROUP 27. ESCORT GROUP 27 WAS A HUNTER-KILLER SQUADRON OF FRIGATES AND CORVETTES THAT PATROLLED THE WATERS OFF NOVA SCOTIA WHERE LONE GERMAN U-BOATS WOULD LIE IN WAIT TO SINK CONVOYS OF MERCHANT SHIPS BOUND FOR BRITAIN FROM HALIFAX OR SAINT JOHN. NAVAL HISTORIANS SAY IT WAS UNUSUAL FOR A CANADIAN NAVAL OFFICER TO BE GIVEN SUCH A SENIOR ROLE IN THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC. THE COMMAND WAS A TESTAMENT TO COMMANDER BALFOUR’S LEADERSHIP AND HE RECEIVED THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE CROSS, AWARDED TO NAVAL OFFICERS FOR ACTS OF EXCEPTIONAL BRAVERY." THE DSC CITATION READS, IN PART: “DURING THIS TIME HE HAS, BY HIS ZEAL, ENERGY, CHEERFULNESS AND WHOLEHEARTED DEVOTION TO DUTY SET AN OUTSTANDING EXAMPLE TO THOSE WORKING UNDER HIM, WHICH IS IN KEEPING WITH THE HIGHEST TRADITIONS OF THE NAVAL SERVICE.” ACCORDING TO B.R.U.M.P.H., "HIS NICKNAME ABOARD HIS SHIP WAS OLD IRON PANTS, AND HE USED HIS STRONG VOICE TO CARRY COMMANDS IN THE DAYS BEFORE THE BATTER-POWERED MEGAPHONE. WHEN FRANCE SURRENDERED IN 1940 SOME OF THE SHIPS OF THE FRENCH NAVY JOINED THE ALLIES, OTHERS REMAINED LOYAL TO THE VICHY REGIME. ONE OF THE LATTER WAS IN HALIFAX AT THIS TIME. IT WAS INTERNED PENDING POLITICAL DECISIONS AS TO ITS FATE. ONE NIGHT A NUMBER OF ITS OFFICERS AND MEN DECIDED TO OVERPOWER THE SMALL GUARD AND RETURN TO FRANCE. THEY GATHERED IN A PASSAGEWAY UNTIL THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE GUARD, LT ST. CLAIR BALFOUR, RCNVR, POINTED OUT THAT HE WOULD SHOOT THEM IF THEY PERSISTED IN THIS COURSE OF ACTION. LIKE EVERYONE WHO EVER MET CLAIR, THEY KNEW THAT HE MEANT EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID, AND RELUCTANTLY DECIDED THAT DISCRETION WAS THE BETTER PART OF VALOUR. AT THE WAR’S END HE WAS IN CHARGE OF HMCS CORNWALLIS, A NAVAL BASE OF 10,000 MEN AND WOMEN [LOCATED IN HALIFAX]. HE CONSIDERED A CAREER IN THE NAVY BUT DECIDED TO GO BACK TO NEWSPAPERS.” AS WELL AS THE HMCS LETHBRIDGE, BALFOUR WAS ALSO APPOINTED THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF HMCS MEON (RIVER CLASS FRIGATE – K.269) FROM FEBRUARY 2, 1944 TO JANUARY 3, 1945, AND COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE HMCS DUNVER (RIVER CLASS FRIGATE – K.03) FROM MARCH 27, 1945 TO MAY 26, 1945. BALFOUR WAS DISCHARGED ON OCTOBER 6, 1945 AFTER SIX YEARS OF SERVICE. IN 1988, ST. CLAIR BALFOUR WAS BECAME AN OFFICER OF THE ORDER OF CANADA FOR HIS SERVICE TO THE COUNTRY. ACCORDING TO MAJOR CHRISTOPHER R. KILFORD, CD IN LETHBRIDGE AT WAR, “ HMCS LETHBRIDGE WAS A ‘FLOWER CLASS’ CORVETTE COMMISSIONED ON JUNE 25, 1941. THE VESSEL WAS CANADA’S RESPONSE TO A GROWING THREAT FROM GERMAN U-BOATS OPERATING IN THE ATLANTIC AND CLOSER TO HOME. THE HMCS LETHBRIDGE BEGAN ITS ATLANTIC SERVICE ON OCTOBER 11, 1941 WHEN IT ESCORTED CONVOY SC.49 BETWEEN SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA, AND ICELAND. WHILE ON DUTY, THE ROLE OF THE HMCS LETHBRIDGE WAS TO DEPLOY AHEAD OR ASTERN OF A CONVOY, ALONG WITH OTHER ESCORT SHIPS. USING UNDERWATER RADAR, THE ESCORT SHIPS WOULD THEN CONVERGE ON ANY SUSPECTED U-BOAT POSITION AND ATTEMPT TO DESTROY THE SUBMARINE WITH DEPTH CHARGES. IN 1993, THE HMCS LETHBRIDGE WAS ONE OF 74 SHIPS AWARDED HONOURS UNDER THE BRITISH ADMIRALTY’S DIRECTION, FOR SERVICE IN ANTI-SUBMARINE DUTIES IN INTERNAL CANADIAN WATERWAYS. WITH THE WAR AT A CLOSE, THE HMCS LETHBRIDGE WAS SOLD TO MARINE INDUSTRIES LTD. ON JULY 23, 1945. THE SHIP WAS RESOLD IN 1952, CONVERTED INTO A DUTCH WHALER AND RENAMED THE NICOLASS VINKE. THIS NEW ROLE LASTED UNTIL 1966, AFTER WHICH THE SHIP WAS BROKEN DOWN FOR SCRAP IN SANTANDER, SPAIN. ST. CLAIR BALFOUR WAS BORN IN HAMILTON ONTARIO IN 1910. BALFOUR RETURNED TO HAMILTON ONTARIO AFTER WWII WAS OVER. HE PASSED AWAY AT HIS HOME IN TORONTO ON MAY 9, 2002 AT AGE 92. FOR MORE INFORMATION, INCLUDING SERVICE RECORDS, PLEASE SEE PERMANENT FILE.
Catalogue Number
P20100035001
Acquisition Date
2010-09
Collection
Museum
Images
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