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Indian links with British military history for sale at Bonhams in London
His Highness The Maharajah Sir Bhupindra Singh of Patiala GCSI GCIE GCVO GBE (1891-1938) was educated at Aitchison College, Lahore. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- Bonhams sale of Modern Sporting Guns on December 13 in Knightsbridge features a number of items with fascinating and historic Indian links - a cartridge-magazine, a shotgun case, a pair of Purdey shotguns and a Colt revolver, all with histories linking them to the period of the Raj.

A fascinating item thanks to its Indian ownership and history is Lot 18, a brass-mounted oak and leather cartridge-magazine. Formerly the property of His Highness The Maharajah of Patiala estimated to sell for 350 - 550. The magazine lid bears the impression: H.H. The Maharajah Sir Bhupindra Singh Of Patiala G.C.I.E. G.C.B.

His Highness The Maharajah Sir Bhupindra Singh of Patiala GCSI GCIE GCVO GBE (1891-1938) was educated at Aitchison College, Lahore, he succeeded to the throne at the age of 9 upon the death of his father, a Council of Regency governing in his place until he reached his majority in 1909, being invested with his full powers by the Viceroy of India a year later. He was also present at the Dehli Durbar of both 1903 and 1911 and during the First World War served on the British General Staff in both France and Belgium as well as Italy and Palestine, with the rank of Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel. He was promoted to Honorary Major-General in 1918, and to Honorary Lieutenant-General in 1931.

The Maharajah was very involved politically, representing India at the League of Nations, serving as Chancellor of the Indian Chamber of Princes between 1926 and 1938, and participating in the Indian Round Table Conferences between 1930 and 1932. After the war he visited Europe many times, and in 1935 was granted an audience with Adolf Hitler. Such was his charm and personality that Hitler presented him with several German pistols and a Maybach sedan, one of only three Eastern rulers to receive such a gift. Despite the worries of the British, he kept the car, alongside his legendary fleet of twenty-seven Rolls-Royce limousines.

A fine pair of 12-bore shotguns by J. Purdey & Sons, formerly the property of Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig KT GCB OM GCVO KCIE ADC (1861-1928) will be sold for an estimated 15,000 to 20,000. As a young military officer he spent the first years of his career in India and South Africa.

The makers have kindly confirmed that the guns were completed in 1887 and were formerly the property of Earl Haig.

Patrick Hawes, Head of Sporting Guns at Bonhams, comments: “This is an unusual pair of Purdeys for the period and together with the provenance they are very collectable.”

Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig’s military legacy from WW1 is still the subject of debate. By the summer of the 1916, there had been stalemate on the western front for more than a year. Both sides were struggling to break the deadlock. At the end of 1915, Field Marshal Haig was appointed as Commander-in chief of the British forces on the Western Front.

Lot 25 is a James Purdey & Sons brass-mounted oak and leather double-guncase for guns no. 15677 and 16764. The makers have kindly confirmed that gun no. 15677 was completed for Field Marshal Earl Roberts of Kandahar VC (1832-1914) in 1896, and that gun no. 16764 was built to match in 190. Sold without reserve.

Finally lot 66, a revolver completed in 1878, the year Colt's London Agency opened, was owned by Lieutenant Charles Legendre Johnstone Bourchier (1851-1891), the son of the commandant of Kurachee during the Indian Mutiny.

A rare .45 (Boxer) 'Single Action Army' revolver by Colt the barrel is engraved Colt's Pt.F.A.Mfg.Co., Hartford, Ct., U.S.A. Depot 14, Pall Mall, London along the top, with blade-foresight and extractor-rod, grooved top-strap, the left side of the frame stamped Pat. Sept. 19. 1871, " July 2. -72., " Jan. 19. -75., the trigger-guard stamped .45 CAL/B to the left side, the back-strap engraved C.L.J. Bourchier, A Souvenir From South Australia, Adelaide, 1878, Zululand, 1879, the flared butt with plain walnut grips and lanyard-ring. It comes together with its leather double loop holster. Estimate 1,000-1,500.

Bourchier served briefly with the 35th and 65th regiments during the early 1870's, resigning his commission in 1873. He is later recorded on the medal roll for the Zulu War as serving with Lonsdale's Horse, a volunteer regiment formed in May 1879 which participated in the second invasion of Zululand. He remained in South Africa after the war, and is recorded as a Captain in the Cape Colonial Forces during the 1880's. He later returned to England, and died at Ticklerton, Shropshire in at the age of 40.

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