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Colonel Peter Hawkers punt gun


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I am very interested in Colonel Peter Hawker of Longparish Hampshire and Keyhaven where he had a cottage and was a avid wildfowler  from about 1830 to  1852. I understand that his double punt gun is at B.A.S.C headquarters  but have never seen any photographs of it . I would be very interested if someone could tell me where I might get some purely for personal interest.

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6 hours ago, Pushandpull said:

 "A Sporting Century" by Graham Downing would be a good starting point. Several pages are devoted to it.

Thank you very much . I was not aware  of the existence of this book and did not think a history of W.A,G.B.I  BASC had been published.

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Graham's book is quite a good account. The only pity is that there are a lot of fairly well-known faces in the background of photos who are (quite obviously) not all listed : Glynn Cook, Billy Frosdick, Alan Jarrett, Simon Breasley etc.

In a few years nobody will know who they are, just like old family photos.

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3 hours ago, David BASC said:

Afternoon,

Of course visits to 'The Mill' are a bit tricky at the moment but when things get back to normal I would be happy to help arrange a visit so you can take some pictures of the gun if you want?

David

 

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3 hours ago, David BASC said:

Afternoon,

Of course visits to 'The Mill' are a bit tricky at the moment but when things get back to normal I would be happy to help arrange a visit so you can take some pictures of the gun if you want?

David     Thank you for your kind invitation .

 

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I feel that a few words about Hawkers gun would interest others who may not be aware of its  importance  Hawker wanted a large calibre double punt gun  but he did not want the heavy recoil when both barrels were fired together so he came up with the scheme of using a percussion lock  for one barrel and a flintlock for the other. The idea was that the flintlock barrel would fire a fraction after the percussion one and so ease the recoil The gun cost a fortune and was worked on by some of the most famous London gunmakers such as Egg and Manton. Hawker kept a record of all his activities and a much shortened version of these was published about 1890 which details his adventures with this gun including stories of its use at up to 300 hundred yards on geese and widgeon.

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There are various pictures of some of Hawker's guns in books published over the years.  For a time some were in the W Keith Neal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Keith_Neal

collection, which seems now to have been sold, mostly by Christies in 2000/2001, for which the catalogues are published (but v. expensive to acquire now).

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Thanks  for the video suggestion . I have watched this previously and found it very interesting . I have read Hawkers Daries , Instruction To Young Sportsmen and Diary of An Officer In The Peninusar War and so had most of tne information in the video.The only point I would disagree with was the nature of his wound as Hawker says a ball passed through the hip bone severly shattering it, he later had several splinters of bone removed..The video also confirmed my own idea that he suffered from post traumatic stress disorder as some of his actions woud be hard to explain otherwise.

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I take on board what you say about his injury which was doubtless traumatic, but it`s worth remembering that his actions a short while after the event are not those of a man with a shattered hip. In later life, although he often remarks that his old wound was playing him up, long periods of time passed during which he made considerable physical exertions, and made no comment about any discomfort from his injury. Just my take on his writings.

Some few years ago I had the priviledge of cleaning Hawkers double gun. I suspect that one of the reasons he sold it to Mr. Birch - Reynardson as he grew older was the sheer weight of the bloody thing. It takes three people to lift it without risk of a hernia!

Missing from the gun is a detachable stock extension- shown in some photos. In it`s original form the gun was so barrell heavy forward that elevating it was difficult, the stock extension provided the neccessary leverage to be able to manouevre the gun.

After he sold the double gun Hawker purchased a smaller 1 1/4 inch gun. As research continues it transpires that for the last thirty years I`ve been using what was probably his last punt gun, or, alternatively a gun from two known examples, an unknown one of which was Hawkers.

So the punt gun shown in an earlier TGS Outdoors video was either Hawkers, or there`s a 50% chance it was his.

I`m doing some other research into Hawkers original diaries which is very slow going since, in later life, his handwriting was almost illegible.

 

 

 

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58 minutes ago, mudpatten said:

I take on board what you say about his injury which was doubtless traumatic, but it`s worth remembering that his actions a short while after the event are not those of a man with a shattered hip. In later life, although he often remarks that his old wound was playing him up, long periods of time passed during which he made considerable physical exertions, and made no comment about any discomfort from his injury. Just my take on his writings.

Some few years ago I had the priviledge of cleaning Hawkers double gun. I suspect that one of the reasons he sold it to Mr. Birch - Reynardson as he grew older was the sheer weight of the bloody thing. It takes three people to lift it without risk of a hernia!

Missing from the gun is a detachable stock extension- shown in some photos. In it`s original form the gun was so barrell heavy forward that elevating it was difficult, the stock extension provided the neccessary leverage to be able to manouevre the gun.

After he sold the double gun Hawker purchased a smaller 1 1/4 inch gun. As research continues it transpires that for the last thirty years I`ve been using what was probably his last punt gun, or, alternatively a gun from two known examples, an unknown one of which was Hawkers.

So the punt gun shown in an earlier TGS Outdoors video was either Hawkers, or there`s a 50% chance it was his.

I`m doing some other research into Hawkers original diaries which is very slow going since, in later life, his handwriting was almost illegible.

 

 

 

I am delighted to find someone else interested in this aspect of shooting history. Your last remark really caught my attention as it suggests you have access to original manuscripts. My own efforts came to a halt as it appeared that these had gone to an American university Yale ? Payne Gallwey obviously had them but I believe others were burned by the Hawker family and Gallwey only used a fraction of what he had available . His account of the journey across Portugal after he had been wounded in Diary of An Officer in The Peninsular War  certainly supports your theory that his wound may not have been as bad as suggested.

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Yes, he`s very much still researching  although he keeps it all very close to his chest and is very reluctant to share any information whatsoever, which is very frustrating. Myself and a coleague have put lots of information and connections his way, but it seems to be very much a one way street.

You`d have to ask him where he is with the book but, following a discussion with another researcher it seems he may have put the idea on the back burner which would be a great shame.

It never ceases to amaze me that Hawker related stuff still keeps turning up. We had email contact only last month from a chap in America who believes that he has one of the Hawker designed and overseen military muskets that Hawker had made and  submitted for trial when the Brown Bess flintlock was being replaced.

We passed that information to JB since the likely value, if authentic, was too great for us. We`ve heard nothing from him since.

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The fact that your associate wants to keep information to himself is a bit of a pity but I can understand it as my brother researches the story of soldiers killed in WW 1 and feels the same way. I often wonder what the sales figures would be for a book on Hawker considering that all his books are now in the public domain . Someone may be able to make a phd thesis out of it but just how much interest modern shooters would  have in it is questionable. I just  had my curiosity  raised by Sir Ralph Payne Gallweys statement that he could have produced more books from the original manuscripts and remarks in his diary like the ordnance used some of my ideas in the Enfield P53 but unwisely not all  of them - you just want to known what he was referring to .

o

 

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Probably not. They are available from the Carnegie Library at Yale University as photocopies but getting all the diaries done this way is quite expensive. Having them copied electronically - photographed -, and transmitted electronically might be cheaper but it`s been years since I had any dealings with them. The fees themselves are quite modest, but you`re paying for the time taken on the physical task with so many individual diaries. They are quite quick and efficient should you elect to go down that route.

There are a number of older, and complete,photocopies of all the diaries in the UK but the owners, for reasons best known to themselves, are very reluctant to let anybody even look at them, never mind copy them.

It`s taken a mate of mine some twenty five years of badgering to get a look at some of the UK located copies of the original documents.

Were you looking for something in particular?

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As I recall (possibly incorrectly) the late David Grayling was advertising a copy at about £1500 some years ago, and it was said to be one of three produced at the same time.

It is a great pity that significant material such as this is not available for study, even as a microfiche or online. BASC could become a repository for diaries and similar material but unfortunately the organisation shows no interest in the history and traditions of wildfowling.

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