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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Seeking Grandfather's WWII Walther PP - Mansfield, Ohio

Let me first qualify this post: this is request is a long-shot.

My name is Matthew and I am an attorney in Cincinnati, OH. I am trying to track down my Granddad's Walther PP from WWII. My Granddad served in the US Air Force in WWII and was stationed in Britain as a pilot, gunner, and mechanic. Growing up, it was my Granddad who taught me how to shoot and we started using his Walther PP. In my Granddad's later years he contracted macular degeneration and could not assist my Grandma with bills. As a result, he sold his Walther PP to someone in the Mansfield, OH area.

My Granddad's name was Raymond Clements. He lived in Mansfield, OH. Due to his medical condition, he would not have been able to sell to someone outside of the Mansfield area. He did not have the internet so the sale must have been local. My Granddad's Walther PP was in great condition, came in a leather holster, which had the extra magazine sleeve attached on the outside. I believe the model year of the pistol was approximately 1943-1944.

If you are the individual he sold it to or are someone who knows of an individual he sold it to, please reach out to me. I have contacted all the firearms buyers and sellers in the area and none have records of his selling it. No pawn shop in Mansfield has record of a firearm either. This transaction would have happened in the past 10-15 years. If you have any information, please reach out to me via PM, my I would like to acquire it back for our family as an heirloom.

Thank you for your time.
 

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Welcome Sherlock. You never know unless you ask. This could be a tough find or it might be sitting in the safe of a fellow down the street. Does anyone remember how he sold it? Word of mouth, took it to a gunshop, placed it on consignment. Any pictures that might show anything unique...like the serial number or even part of it. If the pistol has changed hands it might be the new owner would not have any idea he had this pistol even if he were to read your information. Any friends of your Grandfather still around? Good luck.....facebook is all over the place. Many towns have a page specifically for that area. You have to be invited to join or you will need to contact the person in charge of the page, explain who you are and ask to become a member. Then you could post your request there. You never know. 1917

https://www.facebook.com/groups/51591641052/

You say it was a PP model. As you are probably aware there was the PP version and the PPK version. Every bit of detail you can find will be needed. BTW, my Dad was flying out of Ridgewell, England in '43/'44. Bombardier, 35 missions over Germany. There is more and more internet information every day coming on-line about WWII service members. England has in recent years built a museum specifically dedicated to AF men and women of WWII. They will be looking for information on your Grandfather if someone has not already provided it.
 

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He may have had documented Army capture papers, but many GI's didn't bother and brought home stuff without them. If so, that document might be floating in your Granddad's personal effects. I'd also try to talk to anyone that your Granddad might have talked to a lot, friends, neighbors, guys at the VFW, or anywhere he may have spoke of the gun or getting rid of it. Best of luck. My Dad brought back a few Japanese weapons, but he had little interest in them. He carried a Garand, but really had no interest in that either, even when we acquired one later. Your Granddad probably just wondered why he was hanging on to it and let it pass for the same reason....sometimes just a grim reminder of a bad time in the world.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Welcome Sherlock. You never know unless you ask. This could be a tough find or it might be sitting in the safe of a fellow down the street. Does anyone remember how he sold it? Word of mouth, took it to a gunshop, placed it on consignment. Any pictures that might show anything unique...like the serial number or even part of it. If the pistol has changed hands it might be the new owner would not have any idea he had this pistol even if he were to read your information. Any friends of your Grandfather still around? Good luck.....facebook is all over the place. Many towns have a page specifically for that area. You have to be invited to join or you will need to contact the person in charge of the page, explain who you are and ask to become a member. Then you could post your request there. You never know. 1917

https://www.facebook.com/groups/51591641052/

You say it was a PP model. As you are probably aware there was the PP version and the PPK version. Every bit of detail you can find will be needed. BTW, my Dad was flying out of Ridgewell, England in '43/'44. Bombardier, 35 missions over Germany. There is more and more internet information every day coming on-line about WWII service members. England has in recent years built a museum specifically dedicated to AF men and women of WWII. They will be looking for information on your Grandfather if someone has not already provided it.
I have asked my Grandmother about when he might have sold it, and she did not remember exactly. The time frame I am working with is unfortunately the past 10-15 years. We are not actually sure how he sold it. As I stated in my OP, my Granddad had Macular Degeneration, and he was pretty much blind in both eyes for most of the time period in question. We did find out that my Grandmother would from time to time find him coming back to the house on his 70's Yamaha motorcycle, so he would have been able to travel shorter distances to sell it. Yes, while basically being blind. My mother who is a healthcare provider flipped, but that was my Granddad. They lived in Bellville, OH, near Mansfield at the time.

As for his friends, he really did not have any. He outlived all of his friends into his '90s. The family is still amazed he was even able to get out and sell it in his condition. I have not checked any local Facebook pages, however, that is a good suggestion. I called everywhere in the Mansfield area I could think of where he might have sold it, excluding private transactions. Worse case scenario is that it would have changed hands too many times to track. Best case scenario is that someone in that area knows what they purchased and would recognize my Grandfather's name and his pistol from the post (again, long shot). Unfortunately, he passed away 3 years ago in his early nineties, so I am unable to ask him any questions directly.


The pistol from memory was the PP model. It had the brown leather holster with the extra sleeve for the spare magazine. It was the model that was darker gunmetal in color with the darker grip moldings. Looked very much like this: https://www.gunbroker.com/item/856792739 actually.

Yeah, I used to love listen to my Granddad's stories of when he was over there. He was quite the guy. When I make it over there to the museum, I'll bring what my family has from my Granddad's time in the service. When he passed my Grandmother gave me all his old uniform pins and medals. I also still have his old fatigues hat from the service. I plan to pass on all these things to my children one day.
 

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There is also a fairly new WWII AF museum in Savannah, GA. Faces the interstate. They also want Dad's items including his notes on the Norden bombsight. It contains a number of hand drawings from his class time.


While looking you might emphasis that while you would love to purchase the pistol that you would also like to know the whereabouts for a future sale in case the present owner has no interest in selling at this time.

There are other sites that might be useful including this one.

https://luger.gunboards.com/showthread.php?110966-Walther-PP

Best of luck. 1917

I think I would go back and try to think where your Grandfather might have gone. Nearest gun shop, biggest and best gun shop, pawn shop, perhaps a firing range if there is one nearby. Try to put yourself in his shoes.
 

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Here is a bit of an interesting story, at least to me. Dad flew 35 missions from Ridgewell, England with the 381st heavy bombardment group. He was either squadron or element lead bombardier. Norden bombsights were not available to all planes so those planes had a toggler, one of the crew who flipped a toggle switch to release the bombs. Although all of the planes were B17's this was common. Following planes were to watch the lead planes and when the bomb doors were opened and bombs dropped...that was their signal to release theirs.

Dad had told this story several times during his life. On their 10th mission which was to bomb Berlin, he was moved to the adjacent plane to act as lead bombardier. So, on that mission he was not with his regular crew...they were however flying in formation right next to him. Sitting in the plexiglass nose he waved to the pilot, navigator, etc. They waved back and then were hit with flak, the plane caught fire and that was the last he ever heard of his crew. They were listed as killed in action. Dad died in 2004 at age 84.

In 2006 there was one of the B17's in Atlanta and they were interviewing one old timer who began telling his tale of being shot down on a mission to Berlin on July 21, 1944. I started really paying attention at this point as that was the date Dad's crew was shot down. Just prior to that I had been scanning the relatively new ( at least to me) internet and came across the 381st Group, history, photographs, etc. Someone named Lt. Green has written a daily diary while in service at Ridgewell. On May 15, '44 he notes that today we received a new crew.... Lt.Roger L Dussault - Pilot, Lt. Leonard L Loper - Bombardier (Dad) and then the Radioman, Sgt Wendell B Lawing. Sure enough, the man telling this tale in Atlanta was Wendell B Lawing, he and four others had survived, were taken prisoner and spent the rest of the war at Luft III which is where the movie The Great Escape, was supposed to take place. Wendell returned home and became the Chief Engineer for the Ga Dept of Transportation. So I called him...he was 90 something years old but sounded like he was 40. Talk about needled in the haystack....what are the chances...and two other crew members had not long before passed. He was the last member. And I was able to ask him many questions that had just never occurred to me to ask Dad. Like, did your plane have a name? Yes it did, Heavenly Body. Wendell passed this past November and I sure wish Dad had known some of his crew survived the war.

So, needle in the haystack....who knows what you might find. 1917
 

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Mr. Lawing told me that when they came under heavy attack he had moved from his position as radioman to the bomb racks. Only heavy steel on the plane. The navigator had moved back to his radio position. The impact was near the navigator and killed him, caught the plane on fire. Pilot Dussault radioed bail out, bail out and Wendell said he went out right on the heels of one of the waist gunners. Said he wasn't wasting any time. The ball turret gunner couldn't get out nor the tailgunner. Normally there were 10 crew members when the bombardier was on board. As I said not all planes needed a bombardier so they used a toggler instead. Wendell said he was taken captive by regular rural German citizens with pitchforks and sticks and that they nearly killed him. When German soldiers took possession of him he was interrogated. Name, rank and serial number was all he would give. But, he said the guy interrogating him spoke better English than he did. Asked how his Mother and Dad were doing, knew their names. Asked had he heard from his sweetheart recently and knew her name. Said they knew more about him than he knew. The guy told him he had been Germany's ambassador in DC prior to the war. He was there until Gen. Patton/troops came through and liberated them.

It is a really strange feeling to read of this crew, each member listed by rank, name and position on May 15, 1944 and then see every name on that list listed as presumed killed in action in July 21, 1944. Only one name is missing....Dad's.. This is from the War diary by a Lt. Green. as found at the 381st heavy bombardment page. Every day, more and more information including photos is added to written history due to the net. 1917
 

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For people interested in the Army Air Corp history I would recommend visiting the "National Museum of the Mighty Eighth" in Pooler GA.
My brother was a pilot with the 491st Bomb Group ( Heavy ) "The Ringmasters" Flew out of Metfield and North Pickenham.
Being the last living member of the family I donated all of my brothers memorabilia to the museum.
 
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