SAS founder's Purdey shotguns aim for the top spot at sporting guns auction



2015-06-26 12:05:27

SAS founder's Purdey shotguns aim for the top spot at sporting guns auction

William Stirling formed 2 Special Air Service in 1943, which saw combat in the Second World War

The SAS is famous round the world for its bravery, and frightening effectiveness in getting the job done. Despite being at the cutting edge, it may surprise some that the service is only as old as WWII.

Originally named 'L-Detachment' as part of a tactic to give the impression to the Axis that there were many paratrooper units operating in the area, the force was the brainchild of one David Stirling.

David Stirling, known as the founder of the SAS, sold the concept of a small active unit working behind enemy lines to army chiefs. After a rocky start it proved its value with many significant actions to its credit.

William Stirlings Purdey shotguns William Stirling's Purdey shotguns (Click to enlarge)

Now a pair of Purdey shotguns once owned by Colonel William Stirling, who formed 2 Special Air Service in 1943, is due to be sold by Bonhams Sporting Gun Department.

The pair of 12-bore self-opening sidelock ejector guns by J. Purdey & Sons are offered for sale with an estimate of 18,000 to 25,000.

The makers have kindly confirmed that the guns were completed in 1949 for Colonel W. Stirling, and were re-barrelled by the makers in 1975. They have remained in the same family since new.

William Stirling was the eldest son of Brigadier Archibald Stirling of Keir, and was educated at Ampleforth College and Trinity College, Cambridge, graduating in 1932. He joined the Scots Guards, and during the Second World War commanded 62 Commando before forming 2 Special Air Service in May 1943 in Philippeville, Algeria, four months after the capture of his brother David in Tunisia.

William Stirling shooting William Stirling using a shotgun

2 SAS saw service in both Sicily and Italy before returning to Britain in 1944, where the two SAS regiments were joined with two French and one Belgian unit to form the SAS Brigade of the Army Air Corps which was then deployed during the Normandy invasion, working behind the lines up until the end of the war.

William Stirling later became Honorary Colonel of the Scots Guards. The auction takes place on December 8th in London, and comes not long after SAS founding member Jack Byrne's medals sold for a triumphant total at Dix Noonan Webb.

Recent and related aticles...

SAS hero defeats Russian dentist in rare medals auction at Bonhams | 5 October 2010

Two very different awards starred in the auctioneer's For Valour sale, alongside a WWII pilot

Auction of Medals to feature pieces from Falklands, India, and both World Wars | 21 September 2010

Baldwin's auction of Military Medals later this month is offering rarities dating back 200 years...

SAS founder's medal group makes daring climb to 60,000 | 20 September 2010

Jack Byrne's WWII medals excited bidders at Dix Noonan Webb, ahead of a George Cross

96,000 pair of Purdey guns shoot to the top of collectible firearms auction | 24 August 2010

The beautiful weapons sold ahead of a gun made for the founder of the Territorial Army

Images: Bonhams

Share on social media
Write a response...

The bookmarklet lets you save things you find to your collections.

Note: Make sure your bookmarks are visible.


Click and drag the Collect It button to your browser's Bookmark Bar.

collect it