Very pistols

A couple of you have asked about the “Very pistols” mentioned in Sir Martyn Poliakoff’s foreword (very what pistols??) These are the pistols that Brian fired to signal the end of his lecture, as shown on my FB cover image. They are designed to be used for illumination or as a distress signal and these two German pistols were handed in anonymously to the Chemistry Department at Nottingham University after WW1. I have just come across the following description in “All the Light We Cannot See“, a beautiful novel by Anthony Doerr, which describes their use in trench warfare (reproduced by kind permission of Anthony Doerr)

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