LEONARD ‘CHRIS’ SOYZA

Leonard 'Chris' Soyza

I first met Chris Soyza in our Grange Road factory showroom back in 1987, shortly after I joined Westley Richards. Chris was, at that time, justifying or even hiding his addiction to guns, rifles and gunmaking to his family back home in Malaysia by taking endless degree courses at our collages.

Chris is absoloutly passionate about guns, gunmaking and hunting. He has spent his life hunting and being involved in the gun business in its many forms. In his early years he was buying and selling guns sourced in England, he then started travelling and buying guns, and more especially rifles, from far away places like India, Australia and Africa. These he would repatriate to England and refurbish with the help of gunmaker Bob Harvey and then sell on to finance his habit or keep in his collection.

This collaboration with Bob lead to the forming of J L Wilkins and the production of a limited quantity of best quality double and bolt action rifles. These can be found occasionally in the American market in a range of calibre’s from .300 to .700. The rifles were very well finished and produced hunting rifles, built under the guiding eye of a man who has spend many a day in the bush using them.

In 2007 when I was preparing to move to the new factory, I was looking for some help with ¬†managing the production and introducing the apprentice scheme into the company. Chris was suggested as a candidate by Giles Marriott an English gun dealer. It hadn’t occurred to me to ask Chris as I had always seen him as an independent person doing ‘his thing’ in the gun trade, making guns and taking them hunting.

The past 7 years have proved this was a very well considered choice. Chris has, over this time, contributed to the gunmaking team in many, many ways, but without doubt the most important being the training and implementation of the apprentices whom he has introduced and ‘fathered’ through their time here at the factory, as well as the the continuing program to source more young talent. These are the new life blood of the factory.

Chris has today moved on from Westley Richards and is off to warmer climates to hunt elusive animals and no doubt dig out the rifles my father never managed to extract from the Indian Maharajah’s!

Everybody at the factory wishes Chris the very best for the future and thank him for the wisdom he leaves behind.

 

8 thoughts on “LEONARD ‘CHRIS’ SOYZA

  1. I met Chris Soyza in Zimbabwe around 1990. We were in contact for many years.

    I would like to get in touch with him but do not have his email could anyone please pass this on to Chris or give me an email address I can reach him on.

    Thanks Rod Evans

  2. Please can you let me know how to get in touch with Chris. He and I we’re at university in Loughborough. I live in the UK

  3. To those who knew Chris
    Unfortunately the bearer of sad news – whilst returning from SA, Chris, passed away on 9th July 2018.

    A friend of 40yrs, a fellow hunting/shooting/fishing enthusiast, greatly missed already, including I am sure will be by all who met him.

    RIP dear Friend. Hope it eases soon for the Family.
    Farakh

  4. Sad to hear of his passing. May his soul rest in peace.
    Christina De Silva and family in Brisbane and New Zealand

  5. Sorry to hear this sad news.I first met Chris at Garlands shooting grounds where I was training with Peter Boden and he was busy with Bob Harvey making a .700 double rifle.We kept in touch,and I met up with him on his trips to India.
    Rest In Peace old friend You will be missed by many.
    Gaurav Sondhi

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