JRR Tolkien’s First World War revolver to go on display at IWM North

4 December 2013 | Kate Clements

Almost 100 years on from the conflict, JRR Tolkien’s First World War revolver is to go on public display at IWM North, part of Imperial War Museums, in Manchester.

Tolkien’s Webley Mk VI revolver, IWM FIR 11492

Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, endured life in the front-line trenches of the Somme throughout the summer and autumn of 1916.

His revolver will go on display in IWM North’s Main Exhibition Space this December, ahead of the opening of IWM North’s major exhibition ‘From Street To Trench: A War That Shaped a Region’ in April 2014 to mark the First World War Centenary.

Graham Boxer, Director of IWM North, said:

‘This December just as the latest The Hobbit film launches in cinemas, visitors to IWM North will be able to see this weapon and connect further with Tolkien’s magical stories which were born from harrowing wartime experiences. Exhibiting this object is for us the start of what will be an extremely busy time as we prepare to launch our major First World War Centenary exhibition, From Street to Trench: A War that Shaped a Region, in April.’

Tolkien graduated from the University of Oxford in summer 1915 and soon obtained a commission in the Army as a second lieutenant. In June 1916, Tolkien went to France and was posted to the 11th Battalion, The Lancashire Fusiliers.

Tolkien and his battalion served on the Somme from July 1916. He occupied front-line trenches at Beaumont-Hamel, Serre and the Leipzig Salient.

At the end of October, Tolkien contracted trench fever and was sent to hospital in Birmingham.

He remained unfit for the rest of the war, and never returned to front-line service. Debate continues regarding the extent to which Tolkien’s war experiences may have influenced his literary works.

For more information about IWM North visit the IWM website. Connect with IWM North @I_W_M #IWMNorth or Facebook.com/iwm.north.