Blunderbuss fixation

4 Apr

The discovery that Thomas KINGHORN (4x great grandfather) was a mail coach guard and carried out his duties armed with two pistols and a blunderbuss has re-awakened a dormant fascination with the word BLUNDERBUSS.

It sparked a memory of a book I once read as a child, I am not sure of the title, but from what I can find it was probably The Three Robbers by Tomi Ungerer (the cover image looks familiar). One of the three robbers had a blunderbuss, but I don’t remember anything else about the story.

The word blunderbuss stuck in my mind, probably because I found it such an absurd word, especially for something so deadly. So imagine my delight when I found out that my ancestor actually handled one of these weapons, and may even have used it in anger.

The British Postal Museum and Archive have a couple of blunderbusses in their collection and more details on their Weapons page. I particularly like the quote:

In 1786, a highwayman attempted to hold up the mails and was shot dead on the spot. No further attempts at robberies were ever reportedly made on mail coaches.

I would be very surprised if that was in fact true, but a blunderbuss would certainly have been a good deterrent.

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