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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Question Regarding British SMLE


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18 hours ago, MrEd said:

This is an interesting thread, and that barn find SMLE is fascinating - if only it could talk….

From reading the thread can I assume thy soldiers at the battle of loos - or in that area june to October 1915 would be equipped with CLLE or SMLE no1 mkiii?

i had 2 relatives (the buffs and east surrey regts.) who died in and around that area (actually ypres and armentieres) in October 1915 and I have a small commemorative display - i

have been thinking about adding a SMLE but want to add something that *could* have been used by them?

am I better looking for an earlier deac SMLE No1 Mkiii with cutoff say 1915 dated (or earlier) as a general representative ww1 rifle or a more specific rifle to those battles?



Regular Army units would *probably* have had Sht LEs -- but they may have had MkI (and sub-variants) or MkIII.

Many of the Territorial Force Battalions who fought at Loos (and subsidiary actions such as Bellewaarde) were armed with CLLEs.

For example - the battalion in which I am most interested were armed with CLLEs in Sept 1915


You might be able to work out what the Buffs/E. Surreys were using by looking at the photographic record or consulting the war diaries (which sometimes mention trading in CLLEs for ShtLEs -- there are probably experts on both regiments on here who might know what they were using.

For 1915 battles I would suggest you would be best looking for any ShtLE dated PRE 1915, and/or a CLLE. Both would have had volley sights and cutoff present.... which is relatively uncommon in the deacts I have seen recently.

This little pamphlet might help you when looking at deacts:




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@4thGordons thank you, that pamphlet is a great read - I presume from the website and the name Chris that you authored it? It’s really interesting.


okay, a CLLE or an SMLE complete with cutoff and volley sights, dated pre-1915. A quick google shows they are very strong money (like £1000 and CLLE even more so!)

When did deacs get so expensive :excl: - there is some excellent online resources for the east Surreys so I will start there and see what I can work out!

Will hunt around at shows and fairs, and auction houses, maybe able to find one cheaper than that. Crikey. May have to settle for a ‘general ww1 representative rifle’ because of cost!



Edited by MrEd
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Have thought about this a bit and I think I will look for a 16/17 mkIII* as a representative rifle of the _type_ used in the war, and the manufacturing alterations to make it easier and faster to produce (which are interesting in and of themselves). Also they are less money which is a consideration unfortunately!



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