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Remembered Today:

Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors


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In his book Secret Warriors, Taylor Downing says that William Mills of grenade fame was awarded £27,750 (nearly £3 million today) for his work by the 1919 Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors. I can`t find a full list of awards but claims were made by Beaton & Sons, Burn, Gibbons, Hale, Mills, Stokes, Tunbridge (Mills), Vickery, Beaton, Burn, Ley (Mills), Newton, Tunbridge (Vickery/Gibbons) and Vickery. Stokes I recognize but can anyone add details of the other claims and the awards granted?

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There might be something in, or referred to in, "Breverton's First World War Curiosities" (googling "hopefully incontinent seagulls" will track this down).



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The extensive library tells me that Tunbridge/Vickery/Gibbons got their award for a new hand grenade.



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Thanks, Terry. The thesis concentrates on hand/rifle grenades and TMs. The amount of work even pre-war is shown by the number of patents:-


Table 1. British patents relating to hand grenades, 1905–13169
Priority Date Patent Number Applicant(s) Description
9/8/05 GB16192/05 B F S Baden-Powell170 Mentions use as a grenade but more like a scatter mine
2/6/06 GB12580/07 N W Aasen
Percussion-fuzed hand grenade with bamboo shaft and fabric wings
2/6/06 GB12926/07 L Diederichs
Percussion fuze for shells that is also claimed for grenades 25/6/06 GB14605/06 F M Hale Percussion-fuzed hand grenade with rope or stick handle
11/12/06 GB12657/07 N W Aasen Improvement to GB12580/07
23/4/09 GB9659/10
Siemens Bros & Co C R Riber
Percussion fuze that can be used in a grenade
9/4/13 GB8371/13 F Eichbauer Hand grenade with percussion fuze
18/8/13 GB18766/13 L Roland Grenade with automatic igniter for time fuze


Table 2. British patents relating to rifle grenades, 1905–14171
Priority Date Patent Number Applicant(s) Description
6/10/05 GB20238/05 B Pedersen Possibly broad enough to cover rifle grenades
GB15045/08 (cognate 1776/08, 17960/08)
F M Hale First rifle grenade patent
11/3/09 GB18425/09 W Berger Rifle grenade percussion fuze
15/5/09 GB11561/09 F M Hale Gas-check on rod of rifle grenade
3/12/09 GB10494/09 F M Hale Illuminating rifle grenade
15/12/09 GB29292/09 F M Hale Cartridge for reducing flash when firing rifle grenade
6/2/11 GB3007/11 N W Aasen Percussion fuze and grenade
25/2/11 GB4690/12 R Machenbach
Rifle grenade and fuse which is armed as the rod is inserted into the barrel
27/2/11 GB4925/11 F M Hale
Improvement to GB15045/08; concerned with safety mechanism
8/5/11 GB11096/11
H F Donaldson C C Noot W Charlesworth
Rifle grenade with stops on rod to adjust range
27/7/11 GB21792/11 F M Hale
Improvement to GB15045/08; concerned with safety mechanism
29/11/11 GB26764/11 F M Hale
Improvements to GB15045/08, GB4925/11 and GB21792/11; safety vane
30/12/11 GB29014/12 G Roth Akt-Ges
Rifle grenade with time fuze with safety used on percussion grenades 15/2/12 GB2615/13 R Machenbach Gas-check on rod
20/6/12 GB14431/12 E Cremonesi
Rifle grenade with bearing between rod and head to prevent head rotating in flight 30/4/13 GB10219/13 F M Hale Improvement to GB15045/08; safety
23/6/13 GB13688/14 Carbonit Sprengstoff Akt-Ges
Gas-check for rod; void, published under Section 21 of 1907 Act; may have been used on German M1914 rifle grenade
28/3/14 GB7935/14 F M Hale
Improvement to GB15045/08 and GB26764/11; preventing movement of safety vane until gun fired

Edited by PhilB
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A few details of the Royal Commission awards:


Messrs G. Beaton & Sons: No.39 Rifle Grenade (Steuart Pattern) - £2,500.

Lieut. R. Burn: Smith & Burn Discharger Cup - £1,500.

Francis J.J. Gibbons, Improvements in Mills Grenades - £600.

Mr Martin Hale: Aerial Bombs - £4,000.

Mr Martin Hale: Rifle Grenades - £7,000.

William Mills, Captain Leon Roland, Albert Dewandre et al: Grenades - £37,000 (of which Mills' share was £27,750).

Sir Wilfred Stokes: Mortar - £10,000.

Frederick W. Vickery: Packing Boxes for Mills Grenades and Ignition Set Holders - £5,000.

Major C.H. Ley: Grenades (percussion)

Col. H. Newton: Bombs, guns and fuzes (trench mortars and guns, direct action fuzes for grenades and trench mortar bombs).


Tunbridge & Co. were the solicitors for Mills et al, Gibbons, Vickery.





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Downing also says:-

Ernest Swinton & Tennyson d`Eyncourt, £1000 each.

Tritton & Wilson share £15,000.

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