Colt 1908 Pocket Hammerless 380ACP SN:136640 MFG:1944 - Brigadier General Griffin

  • Caliber: 380ACP
  • Era: Pre-War
  • Finish: Fine Brushed Blue
  • Serial Number: 136640
  • Shipment Type: Military
  • Year: 1944

This Colt 1908 Pocket Hammerless was issued to Brigadier General Thomas Norfleet Griffen.  A graduate of the West Point class of 1929, Second Lieut. Thomas Norfleet Griffin started his military career at Fort Hamilton in New York, later serving in the Hawaiian Division, then the U.S. Infantry Center in Arizona, and in 1937 went to Randolph Field, Texas for flight instruction; then was transferred to the 20th Infantry Regiment at Fort Warren.

In 1939 he again returned to Hawaii and commanded a Battalion of the 27th Infantry Division and was there during the time of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

In 1942 he was assigned to the 34th Infantry Division then returned to Fort Benning for slightly more than a year, then was assigned to the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. Sixteen weeks later he was sent to Europe and assigned to the 99th Infantry Division as Executive Officer of the 393rd Infantry Regiment. Three months later he was given command of the 395th Infantry Regiment, 99th Infantry Division. A "hands-on" general, during the battle of Krinkelt the 393rds communication lines were cut and then-Colonel, Griffin repaired to a high point in the terrain amidst shell fire and relayed messages with his radio until driven off by a German Panzer.

On April 30, 1945 the 395th became entangled with some elements of the 14th Armored Division while crossing the Isar River. Col. Griffin crossed the river personally under direct enemy shell fire to issue orders and supervise their execution in the disentangling of the two units, enabling the Regiment to proceed as planned and capture the objective. He earned the following awards: Silver Star with oakleaf cluster, bronze Star with "V" and two oakleaf clusters, the Croix du Guerre of France and the Croix du Guerre of Belgium, the Good Conduct Medal with oak leaves, the World War II Victory Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign with service star, the American Theater Campaign, the European African Middle Eastern Campaign with three service stars, the Army Commendation, the Purple Heart, and the American Defense Service Medal with service star.

Post-war he became Colonel of the 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division and Deputy Chief of Staff in Korea in the mid-50s and by 56-58 had been promoted to Brig. General and was Chief of Staff of the Headquarters of the Second U.S. Army at Fort Meade Maryland. From February 1960 to June 1962 he was a Maj. General and Commanding General of the 16th Corps of the 1st Infantry Division; he retired in June 1962. Perhaps even more interestingly while at West Point he was a member of the varsity boxing squad and a three-goal polo player.

Accompanying this Colt 1908 are a double star red and white Major General's flag with gold edging encased in a canvas flag case, two star Major General vehicle pennant and vehicle placard, early regulation brown General Officers belt with buckle and 1923-dated dual magazine pouch. A "Transit Book" which shows numerous mathematical formulas, specifically for the laying out of roads etc. Inside are numerous hand-written notes, no doubt by the general himself. A copy of "The Armed Forces Prayerbook" with a pocket in the rear which holds a small business card which reads "Capt. Thomas N. Griffin/United States Army", "Capt." crossed out in pencil with "Lt. Col." penciled-in along with "393rd Inf". There is a small red notebook with an American eagle on its cover, dated 1943 and reading "Notes", compliments of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company. The interior has numerous handwritten notes, no doubt from General Griffin himself [amusingly:..."VD.. Alarming proportions/two methods/1) educate sold. 2) source of disease" "fly proof kitchens" "Poles to Poland" "paroling of PWS Wehr SS"].

The pistol is listed by serial number in The Colt Pocket Hammerless Automatic Pistols II by Brunner and is pictured in the book book U.S. General Officers Pistols: A Collector's Guide by Williams and Brunner.