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Remembered Today:

Did Canadian troops use P14 Enfields?


trenchtrotter
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The reason I ask is that in the history of the 4th CMR there is a late war image of a group of CMRs with liberated French citizens. The rifles being carried are not SMLEs! However the image is somewhat grainy but the do appear to be P14s.

Can anyone comment with confidence if they are likely to be P14 rifles? BTW they are not Ross Rifles.

Thanks TT

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I would be very interested in seeing the image.

I have looked for a long time for images of Pattern 14 rifles in France. The received wisdom is that very few served in France and those that did were mostly (F) or (T) versions used by snipers in mid-late 1918. Unambiguous images of Pattern 14 rifles in use in France (as opposed to training in the UK) is on my longtime search list. To the extent that I have never seen one in perhaps a decade of actively keeping an eye out I would be surprised to see an image of Canadians with them but would not entirely discount the possibility (is that vague enough?)

I have seen several Canadian property marked US Rifle .30 M1917 rifles but the story usually told on those is that they were purchased in the early part of WWII. The only reason I mention this is that an M1917 would be very difficult to distinguish from a P'14 unless the picture were very clear.

One additional complication. There was a version of the Ross M1910 which was built for the British (referred to as the MkIIIB) which had a foresight protector just like the P14/M1917 so if one were relying on the foresight protector for ID that might complicate things!

Any chance of seeing a copy of the picture or full details of the publication so I can try and track it down.

Cheers

Chris

Is it the S.G. Bennett history here?

Edited by 4thGordons
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The Ross rifle was the general issued rifle for the CEF until it was replaced by the Lee Enfield No1 MkIII in 1916. The primary use of the P14 during the war was that of a sniper rifle.

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Pylon, I am aware of the above hence my excitement finding the image!

Chris the book is in my hands. "the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles 1914 1919". By Capt S G Bennett MC.

Toronto Murray Printing Company Limited 1926.

Image fronts page 142. Circa Oct 1918. Definitely CEF as patches can be seen. Has foresight protector and bayonet lug shown. I am much convinced. Will try and take image on phone.

TT

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OK I have found the image.

It's interesting. I will be interested to hear what others think - but I believe these are MkIII B Ross Rifles.

The distance between the barrel band and the foresight (which is of the P14 pattern but was fitted to the Ross MkIIIB) looks to me to be too great and the general profile too slim to be a P14.

Edit

Also - the rifle held by the woman in the checked shirt wearing the Brodie helmet does not appear to have an upper hand guard (the barrel is exposed) where on a P14/M1917 it would be covered.

Edited by 4thGordons
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Pic

Late for Ross Rifles? I am disappointed if it is as I thought I had found the elusive!!!!

post-15846-0-35138500-1439477863_thumb.j

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Yes late. And odd if they are using MkIIIB which were built for the British.

however I am pretty sure that is what the right hand rifle is - the one behind is less clear to me but zoomed in I think the bare barrel is visible on that one too.

here are comparison shots (I do not own a MkIIIB but it is like the standard Ross but with the P14 pattern foresight protector)

post-14525-0-66352400-1439478303_thumb.j

post-14525-0-93202500-1439478303_thumb.j

These are (roughly) to scale and show the longer thinner front of the Ross

Chris

Edit

post-14525-0-37597600-1439478862_thumb.j

Edit:

Here is a link to some pics of the MkIIIB and one specifically of the foresight/muzzle

Edited by 4thGordons
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The primary use of the P14 during the war was that of a sniper rifle.

I think that you will find that that use was a minor use of the rifles, hence the paucity of snipers to us collectors compared to the hundreds of thousands of regular P14s.

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I think that you will find that that use was a minor use of the rifles, hence the paucity of snipers to us collectors compared to the hundreds of thousands of regular P14s.

I was answering the question posed. Which was about Canadian use of the P14, not other Commonwealth nations, or the USA for that matter. I don't know the true numbers of these P14s produced but IIRC the US produced in excess of 2.27 million. Of which very very few were used by Canadians.

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I was answering the question posed. Which was about Canadian use of the P14, not other Commonwealth nations, or the USA for that matter. I don't know the true numbers of these P14s produced but IIRC the US produced in excess of 2.27 million. Of which very very few were used by Canadians.

I think you may be conflating P14s and M1917s

There were approximately 1.243 million Pattern 14 rifles produced, and approximately 2.486 M1917s (according to most sources.)

I think the confusion here stems from "use"

By definition a very small percentage of P14s were fitted as sniper (F) (T) rifles Britain only selected from Winchester (235k produced) rifles for this purpose - no Eddystone (604k produced) or Remington (403k produced) rifles.

However it is thought that of the rifles that actually saw "use" in France and Flanders most were sniper variants. Some (probably larger numbers) of standard rifles saw use in the UK in training units - some were sent direct to India for use - and many went directly into storage.

So while it is accurate to say a high proportion of the P14s used in France and Flanders were sniper rifles (your point), it is also accurate to say that sniper rifles constituted a very small proportion of the overall rifles produced and accepted/used by Britain (Beerhunters point).

I have yet to discover any suggestion of WWI use of P14s by Canada but would be very interested if you have information on that.

P14s were supplied in quite large numbers to the Baltic states post WWI, and much later (post WWII to Greece)

Cheers

Chris

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Hello Chris,

Exciting quest that you have, indistinct rifle Ross-v-P14/M17 evidential images may be supported or discounted by bayonets worn (if visible), but I am sure you have already considered that option.

good luck

khaki :thumbsup:

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I think I'll go with the Ross Mk IIIB. Oh well not the P14! Thought I'd found the missing link?. But interesting that Ross being used so late!!!

Thanks all. We never stop learning.

TT

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Sorry to de rail the thread slightly but what is the chap with his back to us using? At first I though a CLLE but the noticed a longer style bayonet (not an 1888). The picture must date from around mid 1915 judging by the equipment. Sadly no further info.

I would have gone for a P14 but if you look closer its missing some of the usual detail (or is it just me) and he is certainly not carrying a Ross bayonet!

odd.jpg

odd%202.jpg

Edited by Toby Brayley
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I think the bayonet scabbard has overlapped and merged to a certain extent with the helve in the photograph, and if you look at the top of the grip, the pommel seems to me to have the dished appearance on the top of a P.1888, appropriate for a CLLE - but I am no expert on these things!

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I would say you are right Trajan.

I guess had better get some decent glasses! As you say it appears to be a short bayonet and it definitely has that 1888 style pommel, its the helve that gives the impression of a longer bayonet.

At least my initial guess was right!

Edited by Toby Brayley
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Pretty certain that the rifle in Tony's picture is a CLLE. The winged foresight protector, charger bridge and the bolt mounted safety appear to be visible.

Interesting to note that the chaps in the background and foreground have SMLEs, as do (I just noticed) the chaps in the front row of the original picture.

Chris

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