Colt Model M1911A1 Pistol : Warrant Officer Class II K A Wheatley, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam

Place Asia: Vietnam, Quang Nam Province, Da Nang
Accession Number RELAWM40825
Collection type Technology
Object type Firearm
Physical description Plastic, Steel
Location Main Bld: Vietnam Gallery: Lower Level: AATTV
Maker Remington Rand Corporation
Place made United States of America
Date made 1943
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975

Colt Model M1911A1 semi automatic pistol. The top slide is commercially marked with 'GOVERNMENT MODEL COLT AUTOMATIC CALIBER .45' and the horse trade mark on the left. The right side has 'COLT'S MFG. HARTFORD CT USA'. There is no serial number on the slide or inspectors' marks apart from a plain 'P' on the left side. The frame on the right side has the crossed canon ordnance mark with 'UNITED STATES PROPERTY' over the serial number and 'M1911 A1 U.S. ARMY'. It has 'FJA' near the top of the grip, a 'P' below the magazine release button, a 'G' in front of the hammer and 4 on the left side of the trigger guard as well as 'AA' above the trigger guard. There is a 'G' and a 'C' on the right side of the trigger guard. Brown checkered plastic grips. Fixed blade and V notch sights. With a seven round detachable box magazine. Firing pin removed and the barrel shows signs of ground off weld marks.

History / Summary

This pistol is associated with 29890 Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) Kevin 'Dasher' Wheatley, Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV). During an action north of Da Nang in August 1965, he recaptured it from North Vietnamese Forces who were believed to have captured it earlier from Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) forces or the Americans.

Wheatley gave the pistol to war correspondent Pat Burgess as a protective weapon when Burgess suffered a minor cut on the elbow and had to go to Da Nang accompanied only by a few ARVN troops.

This occurred three months before the action in which Wheatley was killed and for which he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. The pistol has been made up from parts using a commercial Colt top slide and a Remington frame.