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Westley Richards .45 inch 'Monkey Tail' sporting carbine, 1880

Made by Robert and William Williamson, London, 1880 (c).

This carbine is a capping breechloader which uses a paper cartridge and percussion cap. The nickname 'Monkey Tail', comes from the distinct shape of the receiver which is raised to enable the cartridge to be inserted.

The Westley Richards 'Monkey Tail' was an export model and was a particularly popular trade carbine with the Boers in South Africa. This civilian high quality hunting model was made by the London gunsmiths, Robert and William Williamson. The stock, with its full pistol grip ending in a lion's head mask, is particularly distinctive.

According to an inscribed plaque on the butt the weapon was taken from a Boer named Fourie on 20 December 1880, by Lieutenant-Colonel George Frederick Gildea during the Transvaal War (1880-1881). Gildea was appointed commander of the Pretoria garrison in May 1880 and was severely wounded in the fighting there. Major-General Gildea was later concerned with the raising of the Physical Training Corps at Aldershot.

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1969-07-6-1


National Army Museum Copyright


National Army Museum, Study Collection

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