Thanks all! Very interesting to know about Thorneycroft wearing a C96, among many, many other facts.
Just to broaden the topic slightly. I could not resist posting this photo of:
“Miss Baden-Powell firing the Maxim Gun at Stoke Parke. Mr. Maxim (on the left of the picture) is superintending.”
This looks really dangerous. What are these people thinking?!
Image: SA War Vol 3 1900 Photo by Gregory & Co., London
According to Jan van den Bos, Ditsong Military collection:
" The Mauser C96 pistol, also known as the Mauser broom handle became a customary weapon among officers during the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). General J.C. Smuts and Commandant Jacobus van Deventer are among the many Boer officers who were issued with either a Mauser rifle and or a C96 pistol.
The DITSONG: National Museum of Cultural History is in possession of two Mauser pistols. The complete pistol with a detachable stock and stripper clip is in a very good condition (Accession number HG 5492). The other pistol (Accession number HG 4087) is rusted with no visible identification numbers or proof marks.
The visible identification marks (Accession number HG 5492) include a number “1020”, which appears on the barrel as well as a four-digit serial number which starts with a “2”. The cone hammer type visible on this pistol came into production between 1896 and 1899.
This Mauser pistol belonged to C.G.S Sandberg, Military Secretary of General Louis Botha. The inscription on the stock reads: CGS Sandberg Mil Secrs WD Comdt Gen L Botha; Tweede Vryheidsoorlog 11 Oct 1899-1900."
Commandant Rousseau also owned a C96 pistol No 2964 with a carved broomhandle stock, enscribed "Dundee 20/10/99"
Thanks Adrian: That's really strong and specific evidence that the Boers were using the same sidearm.
Botha was at/near the armoured train ambush and later convinced Churchill that it was he who captured him. See 'My Early Life Chapter XIX.
The historical consensus is now that Churchill’s captor was probably Veld-Kornet Sarel Oosthuizen (The Red Bull of Krugersdorp) who was killed during the war. (Brian Roberts, Churchills in Africa p. 170. Also Celia Sandys Churchill Wanted Dead or Alive p. 59.
Everybody tried to take credit for capturing Churchill, even the Italian Auxiliary captain Camillo Ricchiardi.
C96 pistols were widely carried by Boer officers; there is good photographic evidence and many examples in museums and private collections. They are sometimes of the large-ring transitional pattern (20,000 serial number range - see photos), and General Jannie Smuts and Pres Marthinus Steyn both carried C96s of this pattern. The other pattern carried is the cone hammer, which is a little earlier; the two photos shown by Adrian are this type. The calibre is 7.63mm, not 9mm in the "Red Nine" version shown earlier in this thread.
I have picked up fired C96 cases at Lombard's Kop, Ladysmith.
The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.
Apologies for picture quality.
Not sure if this piece of equipment ever caught on during the ABW conflict? I guess it could have been useful in a defensive fixed position. Other than that, I suspect the regular infantryman would rather have taken his chances behind a rock or anthill as apposed to carrying 13 pounds of armour plate into battle.
PS Apologies, This information already exists in a previous post.......Under Sheilds for the vital parts a few years ago.
You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.