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Double barrelled percussion pistol

Date: 1867
Overall: 38 x 65 x 410 mm, 1.85 kg
Medium: Metal, wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Pistol
Object No: 00033858
Place Manufactured:Birmingham

User Terms

    This double barrelled percussion pistol was produced by the Birmingham firm Kynock & Co in 1867. It is believed to have belonged to Walter Underwood, Bandmaster on the HMVS CERBERUS, a colonial ironclad vessel. Underwood travelled to China in 1900 in response to the Boxer Uprising. The letters 'W U C E F' are engraved on the pistol's stock. These letters may stand for 'Walter Underwood, China Expeditionary Force'.
    SignificanceThis pistol is associated with the Boxer Uprising, and represents Australia's colonial defence force and the nation's long interactions with Asia.
    HistoryLittle information is available about Kynock & Co, but it is known that the firm operated a plant in Warwickshire in the 1860s which produced percussion sporting guns. This pistol probably originated from a different plant, as its frame is clearly marked 'Birmingham.'

    Born in 1864, Walter Underwood was bandmaster on the CERBERUS, a breastwork monitor launched in 1868 as part of the Victorian Colonial Navy. She was transferred to the Commonwealth naval forces (later the RAN) in 1901, before being scuttled in 1926 at Half-Moon Bay, Victoria.

    Underwood is known to have traveled with the Victorian contingent to the Boxer Uprising in 1900. Often called the Boxer Rebellion, it began when a Chinese sect known as the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists started agitating against Western Colonial influences in the late nineteenth century. In 1900, the Society, having gained popular support in northern China, attacked Western outposts in Beijing and Tianjin. In response, European and Japanese forces combined to form the Eight Nation Alliance. They brought 20,000 troops to China and suppressed the uprising in September 1901.

    The Victorian Contingent consisted of men from the permanent Victorian naval Forces and the Port Melbourne and Williamstown companies of the volunteer Victorian Naval Brigade. They departed Melbourne on the troopship SS SALAMIS in July 1900, calling en route to Sydney. The Victorians landed at Taku in September 1900, having missed the bulk of the fighting. They were moved to Tietsin where they undertook garrison duty acting as policemen and firemen. They returned to Sydney on the SS CHINGTU in March 1901, remaining in quarantine in Sydney until May, 1901, before returning by train to Melbourne.

    The pistol is also marked 'W U C E F 1901' and was souvenired during the Boxer Uprising by Walter Underwood of the Williamstown Naval Brigade. Souveniring was a fairly common practice amongst members of returning naval contingents, and the museum holds several objects believed to have been souvenired during the Boxer Uprising.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Double barrelled percussion pistol


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