1917 Webley Mk VI revolver

1917 revolver with gold lanyardThis 1917 Webley Mk VI revolver (WCMA, 2017.44.1) belonged to Oliver Nickle (1883-1957) of Harriston during the First World War.  It is in excellent shape with clear markings, including the broad-arrow stamps which identify it as British military property.  While somewhat frayed, the original lanyard is still present.

Oliver Nickle was born on May 3, 1883 to James Nickle (1841-1926) and Eliza (Kinnell) Nickle (1856-1940), who married in Mount Forest in 1874.  Oliver married Lottie May Gowan (1887-1980) on May 24, 1909, the daughter of Edward Gowan and Mary Ann Henry.  Together they had three children: Wallace, Harold, and Olive.

Oliver served for sixteen years with the 30th Regiment, Wellington Rifles, rising to the rank of Lieutenant. In 1915, he joined the 153rd Wellington Battalion, which sailed to England from Halifax on April 29, 1917.  Upon reaching England, the 153rd Battalion was disbanded and its men were transferred to reinforce other units. 

part of revolver

Lieutenant Nickle was transferred to the Canadian Forestry Corps (CFC) on July 12, 1917.  The CFC supplied the massive amounts of timber needed to fight the war on the Western Front.  Wood was needed for duckboards and shoring in trenches, for corduroy roads and railways to move soldier and equipment, and land had to be cleared to build runways and airfields for the Royal Flying Corps.

Lieutenant Nickle received the French Croix-de-Guerre on April 18, 1918 and was hospitalized for influenza later that year.  He was discharged in 1919 with the rank of Captain, and rejoined the Wellington Rifles when he returned home.  He served as the last Commanding Officer of the regiment when it disbanded in 1936, with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

When the Second World War broke out, Oliver was in his fifties but still volunteered for military service.  He spent the war as a supply officer at Royal Canadian Air Force stations Trenton, Fingal and Camp Borden.  Oliver died on May 28, 1957 and is buried in Harriston.part of revolver

Although this revolver was assembled in 1917, some of the components may have been manufactured earlier. The '16 stamped on the barrel indicates that it was made in 1916.

All parts of the revolver are stamped with the broad arrow mark, indicating British military property.

The Wellington County Museum and Archives is grateful to Oliver's grandson, Terry Nickle of Tennessee for the donation of this revolver.


© 2023 County of Wellington, 74 Woolwich St. Guelph, Ontario N1H 3T9, T 519.837.2600, TF 1.800.663.0750, F 519.837.1909