German Signal Pistol : Captain K C D Dawson, 23 Battalion, AIF

Place Europe: Belgium, Flanders, West-Vlaanderen, Ypres
Accession Number REL/20305.001
Collection type Technology
Object type Firearm
Physical description Steel, Wood
Maker Unknown
Place made Germany
Date made c 1916
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

German single barrel signal pistol with hinge break open action that is released by a trigger guard latch. It has a round barrel (of 26.6 mm calibre) with an octagonal breech with various proof stamps and the number '4' within a circle on the right side of the frame. On the left is 'LBJ' and the serial number. The grips are made of two shaped pieces of wood held together with a single screw through the centre. A lanyard ring is attached to the butt. A small tag attached to the lanyard ring states that 'This flare pistol was found in a pill box near ANZAC House (33a 53 sheet 28 1/40000) on 20 September 1917 by Captain Dawson, 23rd Battalion, AIF'.

Order a copy
History / Summary

This flare pistol was found in a pill box near 'ANZAC House' on 20 September 1917 by Captain Keith Dawson, 23 Battalion AIF. 'ANZAC House' was a captured German pillbox on ANZAC Ridge, in the Flemish countryside east of Ypres. The main line of German resistance lay along an old system of trenches that followed this ridge, which was attacked by Australians during the battle of Menin Road in September 1917. Keith Cyril Darlington Dawson was born 22 January 1893 at Malvern, Victoria. He worked as a bank clerk and served in the militia before enlisting in the AIF in 1915. Dawson was commissioned as a second Lieutenant in January 1915. He embarked from Melbourne aboard HMAT Euripides on 8 May 1915 with 24 Battalion. He served at Gallipoli and was made acting adjutant of 24 battalion. On 1 September he was confirmed as adjutant. On 3 October he was sent to hospital with influenza and was sent to Malta and then England where he was admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital with typhoid fever. After recovering from his illness Dawson remained in England, taking part in training and working as aide de camp (ADC) to General Officer Commanding (GOC) AIF Depots in the United Kingdom. In November was admitted to hospital with tonsillitis. In January 1917 Dawson rejoined 24 Battalion in France. In early April he was transferred to 23 Battalion and a few weeks later promoted to captain. Dawson was Mentioned in Despatches for his valuable services to the war. On 3 May Dawson was wounded with a gun shot wound to his right arm and face at Bullecourt. After a few weeks recovering he rejoined his unit. In August he was appointed adjutant. In November he was again admitted to hospital sick. In January 1918 he proceeded to England for selection for commission in the Indian Army. He was discharged from the AIF on 12 February 1918 to take up the commission, arriving in India in March 1918, where he was posted to the 57th Wilde's Rifles, Frontier Force at Kohat. He served as Intelligence officer with the Kohat Kurram Force from 27 June to 12 November 1919 during the 3rd Afghan War. While in India Dawson held a number of important positions, including ADC to the GOC, General Sir William Birdwood (Chief Northern Command) India from 1922 to 1924. On 28 February 1928 Dawson married Anne Marie Gonville Bromhead, youngest daughter of Major Edward Gonville Bromhead and niece of Birdwood in St James' Church, Old Delhi. Dawson was promoted to brevet major in 1930 and major in 1933. In 1940 he commanded the 12th Battalion 9th JAT Regiment and the 7th Battalion 13th Frontier Force Rifles. Dawson was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in January 1941, acting colonel in May 1941 and acting brigadier in November 1946. Dawson retired with the rank of brigadier on 25 February 1948, after serving for 30 years in the Indian Army.