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Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Message Boards » Police Officials » Swanson, Chief Inspector Donald » Donald Swanson's Tranter Pistol « Previous Next »

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David Gustafson, Ph.D.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, April 26, 2004 - 10:22 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

A .230 cal. Tranter Pistol has surfaced on (item 17916560). The seller claims the gun came from an English Estate. It has a silver escutcheon on the back of the grip that that says: "to: Donald Swanson 1882". That was the year Swanson achieved the rank of Inspector. Is it at all conceivable that the gun might be authentic, or are there hundreds of Wal-Mart reproductions floating around out there?
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AP Wolf
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Apwolf

Post Number: 1247
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 5:39 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It's not uncle Charles' service pistol but it is still for sale:

Goodman, Wesson and Associates
Arms Valuation and Services Bookmark our Site.

If you or your client requires expert antique arms valuation and/or services Call 920.450.0723, (for 20 items or more only)

1880 Brass Frame Tranter
Jack the Ripper History

RETURN | Call 920.450.0723 if you require additional information on any items displayed on this site.


This very rare brass frame Tranter pistol was made in England in the 1880's in caliber .22 short (marked .230 cal). This 7 shot revolver has a removable ejection rod stored in the grip. Top of the barrel is inscribed by the Merchant "H. Holland" "New Bond St. London".

It is accompanied with original leather pocket protector holster with loops for wearing on belt.

The Silver oval escutcheon inserted into the back of the grip is a very finely made and bears the inscription "to: Donald Swanson 1882" - with the family motto: "Per Deum Et Rege" ( Latin: "By God and My King") and the "Ducal (or Baronial) Coronet" over the monogram "AB" (or "BA")

"Chief Inspector, Donald Swanson"

Scotland Yard, London, England. Chief Inspector Donald Swanson was in charge of the "Jack the Ripper" case. He led all the investigations, interviewed all the suspects and witnesses, and organized all the evidence. Short History of "Chief Inspector Donald Swanson"

Born : 1848, Thurso, Wick, Scotland, ( Donald Sutherland Swanson )

1868 : Apr 27 - Joined Metropolitan Police, warrant number 50282. 1882 : Achieved the rank of "Inspector", and likely gifted Tranter revolver.

1887 : Nov - Achieved the rank of "Chief Inspector", CID, Scotland Yard. 1888 : Aug 31 - selected to head the " Jack the Ripper " case by Robert Anderson, Assistant Commissioner for Crime in England. 1896 : Promoted to Superintendent, Scotland Yard. 1897 : Involved in a crackdown on male prostitution. 1903 : Retired. --- writes "MEMOIRES" --- Most notably, Swanson wrote that "...the suspect (Jack the Ripper) was sent to Stepney Workhouse and then to Colney Hatch and died shortly afterwards - Kosminski was the suspect." (Swanson Marginalia c1910-1924). A newspaper article reported that "... Mr Swanson believed the crimes to be the work of a man who is now dead." 1924 : Nov 24 - Dies at 3 Presburg Road, New Malden, Surrey. Buried at Kingston Cemetery. Swanson was a close friend of Robert Anderson his "Old Master". Melville Macnaghten called him "a very capable officer" This revolver was likely carried in Swanson's pocket for many years while searching the dark streets of London. Scotland Yard's primary crime pursuit lasted over 5 years in search of the identity of the notorious "Jack the Ripper."

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Robert Charles Linford
Assistant Commissioner
Username: Robert

Post Number: 2827
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 4:26 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

AP, since he was from Scotland it obviously has "I am Jock" scratched on the barrel.

After your dissertation on Russian roulette, I was wondering how some of the figures from the case would have approached that dangerous game :

Swanson - fires bullet in the air and leaves the rest of us to find out where it landed.

Anderson - shoots himself in the foot.

Uncle Charles - points the gun at someone else's head, as long as they're a Catholic.

Canon Barnett (eternal optimist) - loads all six chambers and hopes the gun jams.

McCarthy (slum landlord) - tries to squeeze two bullets into one chamber.

Kosminski - puts finger to his head and says "Bang".

Cornwell - shoots herself in head but bullet misses her brain by six feet.(Thanks to "Not the Nine O'clock News" for that one!)


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