This post is the first of three about my favorite World War I U.S arms. My first collectible US martial arm purchase in the early 1980s was a Colt M1911 pistol manufactured in 1918. It had been carried by a friend’s grandfather during World War I. Sadly I had to sell that one to help pay for a divorce. I wish I had it back.
The War to End all Wars (World War I) began in Europe in 1914. America remained neutral until April 6, 1917 when we declared war on Germany. It took many months for US troops to reach Europe and to enter combat. Because 1918 was the primary period of time for Americans in combat in World War I, weapons manufactured in 1918 have been the focus of my collecting.
Retirement caused me to sell off most of my collection. Since Colt, from the Civil War through World War II, had been the major developer and manufacture of US military handguns, I kept a Colt M1911 made in May of 1918. It is in very close to unissued condition. I followed the same theme of 1918 with M1903 and M1917 rifles. Both will be the subject of a future Blog post.
Over 4 million Americans served in World War I and 65,000 of those died. November 11 is Veteran’s Day in the United States. In Europe, it is known as Armistice Day, it is the time and date that marks the end of World War I. At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when the armistice was signed, worldwide over 20 million people had lost their lives.
When I was in elementary school we attended classes on November 11. My recollection is that at precisely 11:00 AM all school activities ceased and a trumpet played Taps and a brief memorial was held school wide in each class room. I believe that it is necessary for a free nation to remember the sacrifices of our soldiers who’ve kept us free throughout our history. In my opinion, our country would be better off if we returned to those traditions of my youth.
BY SCOTT DUFF
More information on 1911 Pistols may be found in our book “The M1911 Complete Owner’s Guide” by Walt Kuleck that is available from our website.