Pistolet wz35 Vis semi-automatic handgun

Pistolet wz35 Vis semi-automatic handgun © Dorking Museum

Object number 2427
Accession Date 07/05/2016

Pistol taken from the crash site of a Junkers Ju 88 which came down on Holmwood Common on the night of 14th/15th March 1944. The bomber had been taking part in a raid on London as part of Operation Steinbok, (known as the Baby Blitz). It was returning towards the English Channel when it was shot down by an RAF Mosquito night-fighter. All four crew were killed.

The following morning locals awoke to the stench of aviation fuel and burning flesh. Those first on the scene reported wreckage strewn over a wide area and body parts in the trees. A schoolboy took the fire-damaged pistol which was probably a personal item belonging to one of the crew. The bullets in the magazine had exploded in the heat of the fire, causing the holes that can be seen in the hand-piece.

In 2013, the Museum curated an Exhibition on the 1944 German plane crash in Holmwood. A couple of years ago, a pistol found the day after the crash, was donated to the Museum.

Members of Bookham Rifle Club came to visit the Museum and were able to give us the make and model of the pistol.

It is a Pistolet wz35 Vis semi-automatic handgun, made in Poland.

Nigel Arch, Dorking Museum Chairman did some more research.

“I had initially thought this pistol was a 1911 Colt semi-automatic pistol, designed by Browning. The wz35 is based on this design, but chambered for a 9mm round. This pistol is the 1935 type, adopted by the Polish army, and later used by the Germans. Its not surprising therefore that the pilot armed himself with it. In good condition (which ours obviously is not) these pistols are in great demand by collectors.”

More information on the pistol can be found here.

More information on 2013 Exhibition can be found here.

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