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Restored Post 39: Askins' Avenger

Updated: Nov 28


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The markings including those on the snap button indicate this Avenger was made mid-1980s.


Charlie Askins' contribution to society was significant but in an obscure way: his articles of the 1950s educated an Englishman named Geoffrey Boothroyd on the intricacies of gun facts; and it was Boothroyd whose letter to another Englishman, Ian Fleming, in the late 1950s that piqued the latter's interest in focusing more on the fictional James Bond's arms and gunleather. All his info came from Charlie's articles. Had it not been for Askins this exchange surely would not have occurred, and then caused the grief for Fleming that it did, followed by his early death in 1964.


The focus there was Askins' articles that had convinced Boothroyd, a gun enthusiast who worked for a paint company, that the new .38 Special caliber S&W Centennial w/b ideal for Bond who had been outgunned in Fleming's first book that was "Casino Royale". Fleming liked the idea rather a lot (we have his reply letter) and he worked the changeover from .25 ACP to .38 Special into first "From Russia With Love" (by jamming the little Beretta at Bond's waistband) to the Centennial in Boothroyd's holster of choice that was the Berns-Martin "Triple Draw" (Boothroyd already had one) in the next book that was "Dr. No".


It's quite another story, told elsewhere in this blog, how Bond ultimately became known for the Walther PPK in .32 ACP (why not the 9mm Kurz, Geoffrey?) instead. Lately I've been watching the earlier Bond films again -- I lived southwest of London mid '60s while my father worked as a civil engineer near London's Bow Bells where a birth there makes one a Cockney) and even after Fleming's death the films are showcasing the Walther; this latest one being "You Only Live Twice" set in Tokyo where I also lived as a boy. Add in the other locations such as Switzerland for "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" where I went to boarding school as a boy, and the characters of Bond are like family to me :-).


P.S. Also had a go at watching the film version of "Thunderball", losing which lawsuit by other authors caused Fleming's first heart attack of which the second killed him. Did you know that a thunderball is the mushroom cloud above a nuclear bomb blast?



So much of Bond was fictional that even his Beretta did not really exist; Fleming had simply heard of such a pistol and instead relied on his Browning/FN .25 that had belonged to his father who was KIA WW1, in describing it in his books. And even the holster of the films is a movie prop and not a Berns-Martin of any sort because there was no such B-M for the Walther that the producers had come to rely on for Bond:


His father being wealthy, and his mother staying that way by not remarrying -- a condition of the will -- Fleming himself was not wealthy until the films began in '62 and he was gone two years later; as was his mother that same year.


Below, on the set of "Dr. No" which Caribbean locale appealed to Fleming because he was assigned there with Naval Intelligence in WWII and retired to there subsequently:


Read more in my book titled "Holstory -- Gunleather of the Twentieth Century -- the Second Edition" that is available at www.holstory.com and printed for you/shipped to you in USA.

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