East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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A rook gun and a Winchester

The issue of the guns carried by Peter Fleming on his journey caused an amusing exchange on The Times when Fleming and Maillart came back from Asia. The object of the scandal was the following passage – printed in The Times on the 18th of November 1935 and later included in New from Tartary.

Our armament consisted of one .44 Winchester rifle, with 300 rounds of pre-War ammunition of a poorish vintage, which was not worth firing; and a second-hand .22 rook rifle, which surpassed itself by keeping us in meat throughout the three months during which there was anything to shoot.

44 winchester

a .44 Winchester

Some readers were shocked at the idea of a Westerner facing the dangers of the Silk Road with such inadequate armaments1.
Some promptly wrote to The Times expounding their opinions.
One letter in particular is worth reprinting, together with Peter Fleming’s response to it. Continue reading