A Gun With A Story

I recently got an excellent Model 1955 in trade and it got me to thinking about the tragic, world altering, act of state-sponsored terrorism committed 116 years ago that ultimately led to the deaths of at least 15 million people in the First World War.

Though the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife Sophie, was widely reported, newspaper accounts differed significantly at times in their details. Amazingly, physical evidence from the crime still survives. Three of the reportedly four FN Model 1910 pistols provided to the Serbian assassins still exist with serial number 19074 being the one believed by many to be the actual murder weapon. After the trial of the assassins, it was given to a Jesuit priest for an exhibit honoring the murdered Archduke and his wife, both of whom were devout Roman Catholics. The blood-stained tunic worn by the Archduke was also part of that exhibit and likewise remained in the custody of the priests.

Miraculously this evidence survived and was eventually put on exhibit at the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum, in Vienna, Austria, where the car from the fateful motorcade is preserved, complete with a bullet hole in the side. The hole is from the shot believed to be the one that fatally wounded the Arch Duke’s wife.