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Mully

1915 Lee Enfield Markings (newbie question)

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Mully
39 minutes ago, GRANVILLE said:

What is the significance of the 1915 date stamp making us of a reverse letter 'L'?

 

David

That's exactly what I'd like to know. I've searched and can't find other similar examples. This is what someone on another board had to say about it:

 

"The "L" was likely what came to hand when the stamp was gimped and they needed to reinforce the marking. Hard to say if we weren't there but no, it's not a significant thing. "

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Lancashire Fusilier

Chris,

 

Many thanks for taking the time to produce all that excellent information and photographs, which explained a lot.

Clearly, there are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to SMLE rifle markings and the published information still has lots of ambiguous gaps.

 

Regards,

LF

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4thGordons
2 hours ago, Lancashire Fusilier said:

Chris,

 

Many thanks for taking the time to produce all that excellent information and photographs, which explained a lot.

Clearly, there are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to SMLE rifle markings and the published information still has lots of ambiguous gaps.

 

Regards,

LF

 

You are welcome. I had to go and do my end of the humid season (maybe) check-up! At some point I will have to do a full mark by mark inventory but this will likely be at some distant mythical time.

 

And you are quite correct there are a huge number of ambiguities(and downright contradictions) and gaps and just about every time I think I understand something better something weird pops up to show that I really don't!

(like the photos of the shortened CLLEs in use in the Baltic states shown on here a few weeks ago)

Cheers,

Chris

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MikeyH

Perhaps the operative marking the rifle had just lost or mislaid his number one stamp?

 

Mike.

 

 

 

Edited by MikeyH

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Julian Rome

Hi, I'm just wondering if you can help me regarding a rifle I have viewed on the market online? There's a 1915 Lee Enfield BSA 303 Mark 3 rifle, for sale, at Jaybe Militaria online that I'm at odds about. There are hardly any markings, and those that are are partly warn away - or have given the appearance to have done. With only a "U" marking that is discernable from the pictures. Now, given what I have seen from Mully's, is that there are discernable markings on hers, and not that one. Could you explain why that is? Could there be fake rifles on the market that are being passed off as real Enfield rifles?

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4thGordons
On 04/09/2019 at 13:04, Julian Rome said:

Hi, I'm just wondering if you can help me regarding a rifle I have viewed on the market online? There's a 1915 Lee Enfield BSA 303 Mark 3 rifle, for sale, at Jaybe Militaria online that I'm at odds about. There are hardly any markings, and those that are are partly warn away - or have given the appearance to have done. With only a "U" marking that is discernable from the pictures. Now, given what I have seen from Mully's, is that there are discernable markings on hers, and not that one. Could you explain why that is? Could there be fake rifles on the market that are being passed off as real Enfield rifles?

 

I am not all that clear exactly what you are asking but....

 

There are indeed both "replica" (non firing) and "fake" (as in not produced by an official manufacturer - many originating in the Khyber Pass region and thus generically known as Khyber Pass rifles) in circulation. These are generally not hard to spot and tend to be smothered in markings (mostly spurious, misspelled etc) one common error is the N in Enfield is often reversed!).  There are perfectly genuine MkIII* rifles which have very few markings on (including a completely blank right wrist where you normally see the maker mark etc) this is often the result of them going through FTR (Factory Thorough Refinish) programs at Ishapore in India where most of the original markings were scrubbed and F.R. and the date of the refinish (ie 43) is added below the safety.

 

I had a quick look at the dealer site you mentioned and assuming you are referring to a rifle that is currently for sale rather than one that has sold - it looks to me as though the markings are fine. The one I looked at was a MkIII* (I think it is actually dated 1916 or even possibly '18 rather than '15 which is what it is listed as, a 1915 MkIII* produced at Enfield would actually be quite unusual - BSA produced MkIII* rifles in 1915 but the switch at Enfield came later in 1916) which has had the * struck out (this was common inter-war) and the magazine cut-off added (thereby returning it to MkIII status). The photos don't give much detail in other markings but from what I can see everything is fine and I suspect looking under the upper handguard would show a lot more. The metalwork is fairly pitted in places and it has a WWII vintage flat safety spring added (rather than the hourglass shaped one that would have been original) but in my opinion it is a good representative example of a mid war rifle that probably went on to see WWII service.

 

There is some terminology confusion with Enfields :

 

The rifle was introduced as the Short, Magazine Lee-Enfield MkIII in 1907 (SMLE or ShtLE - which is what they are stamped) MkIII

 

Production simplifications approved in 1916 gave rise to the SMLE MkIII* (say: "mark three star")

 

In 1926 there was a terminology change in the naming of British rifles so the what was previously the SMLE MkIII/III* became known as the Rifle No 1 MkIII

(.22 trainer versions were the Rifle No 2, the Pattern 1914 rifles still held in War Reserve were the Rifle No3 and the standard rifle of WWII was the Rifle No 4)

Note Arabic number for type of rifle (No1), Roman numerals for mark of rifle (MkIII)

 

It was not until post WWII with the introduction of the No4 Mk2 that Arabic numbers were used to indicate Marks

All Arabic numbers eg No1 Mk3* are only found stamped on very late production Indian (Ishapore rifles)

 

So the rifle in question was a ShtLE MkIII*, which became a ShtLE MkIII, and then post 1926 became a Rifle No1 MkIII only if it remained in service after @1949 (not common but as reserve weapon possible) would it have been a No1 Mk 3

 

Chris

BTW this might be of interest....needs updating but GUIDE TO ENFIELDS

Edited by 4thGordons

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