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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

WW1 Ammunition - shells

Susie H

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My friend has 2 "ashtrays" made by her grandfather who was in the Army Service Corp. He made these "ashtrays" from the base of shell cases. They weigh approximately 1lb 6oz each.

On the base of one is CF, 18PR II, Lot 1546, 9/15 B.S.C.S (the final S being in a square) In the centre circle is LOT 2470 No1 II, 8/15 W (in a circle) E.W.B.co.

On the base of the other shell base is CF, 18PR II, Lot 2, 9/15 E.W.B.C M (the M being in a square). In the centre circle is No1 II 1813, 10M/15 B.S.C

There is also a shell case with CART. ELEC. ENG. START. RLP.71/14 073 GD 74 on the base.

I confess to being totally ignorant about ammunition but would love to know something about these. Can somebody advise me

1) Would these have been new or used shells. Would they have been picked up in the trenches or taken from the factories making them?

2) How where shells made?

3) How much did shells weigh and what would these particular shells have weighed and be fired from?

Once again my apologies for my ignorance.


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They would probably have been used 18 pounder cases.

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First these are not made from shells they are cut-down cartridge cases usually made of brass, cartridge case held the propellant and after firing the empty cases were ejected backwards from the gun, the shells going in the other direction. Shells were mostly filled with high explosive. That said, some shells ejected their payload and if you recovered one that ejected forward then it would be possible to cut down the shell body. Shells were made of steel.

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  • 2 weeks later...

To return to your question on the origin of these, they are both cut down 18 Pr. Mark II cartridge cases made in America on British contract.

The first was made as part of Lot 1456 in September 1915 by the Bethlehem Steel Company (BSC). It has been filled once with a full charge (CF). The "S" in a square suggests it may have been returned for repair. The primer (centre circle) is a No.1 mark II made by E.W.Bliss, a subsidiary of BSC.in August 1915 (8/15)

Similarly, the second was made as Lot 2 by E.W.Bliss in September 1915 and again the "M" ina square suggests a repairer's mark. This time the primer was made by BSC in October 1915.


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