Churchill Signed Letter to Kitchener + Signed Photo of Kitchener

Posted on Jan 16, 2016

Lord Kitchener / Winston Churchill Correspondence


Typed letter signed by Winston Churchill on Admiralty Whitehall letterhead together with signed photo of Lord Kitchener.

2 page letter dated 8th April, 1915 to Lord Kitchener (from Churchill)- concerning the replacement of marines and seamen’s rifles with Japanese weapons.

The salutation, sentiment and signature is hand-written by Churchill in black ink: “My dear Kitchener – Yours Sincerely – Winston S. Churchill”. Pencil notes in an unidentified clerical hand to lower left margins of  first page, with four pinholes to the top edge, a mild horizontal letter fold and creases to upper right corners – in fine condition.

At the time of this letter Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty and Kitchener was Secretary of State for War. Theirs was a frosty relationship, though Kitchener was eventually persuaded to support Churchill’s disastrous Gallipoli Campaign in 1915–16. Churchill lost his post at the Admiralty on 27 May 1915 over the Campaign, while Kitchener died in 1916, when his ship, HMS Hampshire, struck a mine off the Orkney Islands.

The British Authorities ordered over 150,000 Japanese guns shortly after World War One began in August 1914, a mixed batch of 30th and 38th Year type rifles. Most of these rifles were used by training battalions but T.E. Lawrence suggests that at least a few reached the Middle East and were likely part of a 20,000- gun consignment of Ariska rifles issued to the Royal Navy from June 15 1915 to free Lee-Enfields for land service.

Japanese rifles also served the Royal Flying Corps and its 1918 successor, the Royal Air Force. The Ariskas were soon recalled, the Navy guns being replaced by Canadian Ross–rifles in April-June 1917.

About 128,000 assorted Japanese guns were subsequently sent from Britain to Russia and the patterns were declared obsolete in British service in 1921 (John Walter, Rifles of the World, 3rd ed. 2006, p.33)

Together with a stunning professional photograph of Kitchener 7.5”x4.75” mounted on board and signed by Kitchener.

Estimated Value: $6,000

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