A First World War revolver used by The Hobbit author JRR Tolkien is to be displayed at Manchester’s IWM North, part of Imperial War Museums group.
The writer endured life in the front line trenches of the Somme throughout the summer and autumn of 1916 and the impact of the battle is considered by some to be a major influence on his work.
Between June and November 1916, more than 1 million people were killed in The Battle of The Somme. Tolkein and his battalion were posted there from July 1916. He occupied front line trenches in Beaumont-Hamel, Serre and the Leipzig Salient.
At the end of October, weighed down by weeks of tension and wretched conditions, Tolkien contracted trench fever and was sent back to hospital in Birmingham.
He remained unfit for the rest of the war. It was at this time that he began to write early versions of his ‘Middle Earth’ stories.
Tolkien’s Webley Mk V will go on display in IWM North’s Main Exhibition Space this December, ahead of the opening of IWM North’s major exhibition ‘From Street To Trench: A War That Shaped a Region’ in April 2014to mark the First World War Centenary.
Graham Boxer, Director of IWM North, said: ‘This December just as the latest The Hobbit film launches in cinemas, visitors to IWM North will be able to see this weapon and connect further with Tolkien’s magical stories which were born from harrowing wartime experiences.
“Exhibiting this object is for us the start of what will be an extremely busy time as we prepare to launch our major First World War Centenary exhibition, From Street to Trench: A War that Shaped a Region, in April.’
Entry to IWM North is free although the museum says donations are welcomed.