Hidden away in a locked box at Godinton is a rather impressive Luger pistol. Officially known as a ‘Pistole Parabellum’, these semi-automatic pistols were used extensively by the German army in the first half of the 20th century, and they’re strongly associated with Nazi Germany today. If you look closely in WWII films, many of the villains use Lugers.
Godinton’s last owner, Alan Wyndham Grün, served in WWII as a young man: he landed in Northern France on D-Day + 1, and he lost several of his friends in battles during the war. He was part of a reconnaissance unit, coming across various German units. When forced to surrender, an SS officer tried to shake Alan’s hand – his response was reportedly ‘Enough of that nonsense – hand over your Luger’!
The pistol was rediscovered during renovations of Godinton in the late 1990s (still loaded), and was immediately sent to be decommissioned. The Luger is precious to us not just because it’s an important piece of history, but because it was important to Alan, and we love this story. It’s also a phenomenal piece of history to hold in your hand: it was manufactured in 1918, and it’s complete & original – no repairs or additional parts, like many other similar pistols. The Luger is also in excellent condition, and doesn’t appear to have seen much active service. We will never know exactly who previously owned the Luger, and the journey it went on from manufacture to being locked away at Godinton, but it is fascinating to think about and hypothesise…!