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Help with WWII Colt 1911 and finding more info on a Marine

Thread in 'Curios & Relics' started by DWALK, Mar 27, 2018.

  1. DWALK

    DWALK ODT Junkie! Supporter

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    Here is something maybe yall could help me with. Below is a picture of a WWII Colt 1911 (remanufactured in 41) that I inherited from my grandfather, Carl "Wango" West. Grampa West was gold glove, flame throwing marine in the pacific theatre around Guadalcanal.

    I've always been told Grampa was actually left alone on an island scattered among the dead as he was wounded by a frag. I think he was was kinda not found/checked among the dead and woke up injured after about 24 hours while the soldiers were moving from island to island for the battles. Like they had planned to come back and sort through the dead later. He was there for a few days by himself. "Only person to survive his platoon (twice)" I'm told. There was some big 8x11 green bound 500 page WWII book from the 60's were this story was mentioned, used to be in my house as a kid but I can't find it.

    The last paragraph may just be a family folklare and a fabrication of the truth. I'm not sure that I something he would talk about. But he was a marine in the pacific around Guadalcanal. He died when I was five. I look just like him.

    The Colt was not actually issued to him (last pick)

    On his Colt 1911 It says:

    R.E. Bailey
    030253


    I tried doing some searches for this with no luck.

    My theory is that in all of the mayhem he went through, he lost his issued Colt and pick this up off another fallen patriot.

    Any idea how I can find out who R.E. Bailey is?
     

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  2. SouthernSlammed

    SouthernSlammed Gingerbeard Operator

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  3. FrogMan

    FrogMan The Hen that laid the Golden Legos

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    That is a commercial Colt not a GI issue, c prefix on serial is for commercial


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  4. SouthernSlammed

    SouthernSlammed Gingerbeard Operator

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    Nice catch! That side of slide would have had Model Of 1911 US ARMY, too.
     
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  5. karlvv30

    karlvv30 Deer Slaying Legend In My Own Mind Supporter

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    I don't think it is unheard of for Marines to bring their own sidearms during that time. I'm pretty sure that most were not issued sidearms.
     
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  6. EMC45

    EMC45 ODT Junkie!

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    That's what I was thinking as well.
     
  7. Badger

    Badger Georgia Original Supporter

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  8. DWALK

    DWALK ODT Junkie! Supporter

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    Thanks all.

    Note that just above the serial number it says "Government Model." I looked up the serial number on Colt's website and it looks like this Colt was manufactured in 1917.

    Also, I don't think I can figure out who R.E. Bailey is because I am not next of kin.
     
  9. DWALK

    DWALK ODT Junkie! Supporter

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    Just chatted with my mom (his daughter). She said the nickname came from train cars he and his marine buddies saw as they were being shipped out that were all labeled "Wango West". Since his last name was West, it stuck.

    She also confirmed that he was the only survivor of his squad twice, not his platoon, which makes more sense. This happened because he was involved in some special missions involved with recon or taking out some specific target. She says he actually had 2 purple hearts, one for his injury and another for some other sacrifice he made.
     
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  10. karlvv30

    karlvv30 Deer Slaying Legend In My Own Mind Supporter

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    Badassery.
     
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