A ‘DIAL M for Mass Murder’ tale is ringing around Teignbridge with the sale later this month of Hitler’s devil-red telephone.
News media across the UK and beyond have jumped on a story about a former Bond movie contributor from the Dawlish area who is disposing of the sinister wartime relic in the US where it’s expected to fetch £250,000 at auction.
Major Ranulf Rayner – who directed skiing sequences in the 007 classic On Her Majesty’s Secret Service – is relinquishing the Fuhrer’s blower which the Red Army gave to his father Ralph when the allies bumped into each other in the smoking ruins of the Nazi leader’s Berlin bunker in 1945.
The world’s most notorious dictator had just blown his brains out when a Soviet soldier handed over the odious trinket to the bemused Brit.
Auctioneers handling the sale in Chesapeake, Maryland, on February 18 have listed the lot as ‘arguably the most destructive weapon of all time’ – a reference to the likelihood that the moustachioed psychopath used the device to bark countless death orders to lackies down the line.
The historic Siemens-made handset is engraved with the infamous Nazi eagle and Hitler’s horrible full name in capital letters.
Alexander Historical Auctions say the item has unequalled historic importance with ‘unshakeable provenance.’
The vendor, now 82 and living in Ashcombe, hopes the rare survivor of brutal times will find a resting place in a museum.
For the last few years it has been gathering dust in its carry-case in a bank vault.
Maj Rayner said of the heirloom a few years ago: ‘You can imagine the dreadful orders that Hitler shouted down the mouthpiece.
‘Some think it will bring bad luck, but I consider myself very lucky in life so, fortunately, that has never worried me.’