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November 2018
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Firearms of historical interest found

Firearms belonging to World War II hero Geoffrey Hallowes have been found in Surrey and donated to The Gordon Highlanders Museum. In March 2008 a local Surrey resident reported to police that she had found six firearms while clearing out a property in Surrey. It is not uncommon for people to come across firearms about which they had no knowledge when clearing out a property.

Extensive enquiries have led to the weapons being placed in The Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen as part of the Regimental history and heritage along with Geoffrey Hallowes’ war medals.

Firearms legislation is very strict with a liability falling on people who are in possession of the weapons without the necessary certificate. This local resident did exactly what is recommended in such circumstances and reported the find immediately to the police.

All six firearms were surrendered to Surrey Police as the resident had no wish or lawful reason to retain them. There then began a series of enquiries to establish the origin of the guns.

The information that was provided suggested they could have historical connections with the Second World War so details were provided to the Imperial War Museum. All firearms are individually identified and the Museum was able to suggest who the former owner was likely to be.

Enquiries then moved on to The Gordon Highlanders Museum which was able to confirm the historical context of the firearms.

The owner was identified as Geoffrey McLeod Hallowes who served with the Gordon Highlanders and later became an SOE (Special Operations Executive) agent, helping to organise French resistance after D-Day. His contribution during the Second World War has been recognised by a number of gallantry awards, including the Croix de Guerre. Mr Hallowes died in 2006. He was married to French Resistance fighter and George Cross winner Odette Hallowes, MBE.

Commenting on the discovery of the firearms, Roger Weedon, Firearms Licensing Manager at Surrey Police, said:

-Our first consideration is the safety and security of people in Surrey and this resident is to be commended for doing the right thing by immediately arranging for the weapons to come within our safe keeping.

-Many older firearms do have some value either financially or as in this case historically. We will always work with finders of weapons to ensure they are disposed of lawfully in the best way possible.

-We were delighted to be able to identify the context of the use of these firearms and were able to arrange for their lawful transfer to a museum where they will be retained for the benefit of future generations.

-If anyone ever finds a firearm anywhere please immediately contact the police and work with us to arrange safe disposal. In the wrong hands the consequences can be disastrous, and all reports will be dealt with appropriately.

Curator of The Gordon Highlanders Museum, Jesper Ericsson, commented:

-The acquisition of these firearms is the most important addition to the Museum’s Armoury since it opened in 2007 and will become the most important items in the firearms collection as a whole. This is because not only can we connect these firearms with an individual, but an individual with an extraordinary history. We are most grateful to Surrey Police for their generous help and support in facilitating this donation.

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