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Remembered Today:

Carrying arms on leave?


Tom Kilkenny
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There is a story told within my family about my great uncle returning home on leave to Ireland and being upbraided by his mother (my great-grandmother) for raising his rifle in the house - at whom or what I know not!

I've often wondered whether a soldier returning home on leave would have carried his arms. Wouldn't weapons have been 'handed in' somewhere and picked up again when the leave was over?

Anyone know?

Thanks

Tom

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Early on in the war, not only did you have to take your rifle on leave but you had to take a certain number of rounds with you too.

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Hello,

My understanding is that soldiers did take their personal weapon on leave with them. I suppose a consideration was that when they returned their unit might have moved.

Old Tom

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Evidence:

"About June [1915] we commenced to go on leave.......and they had to take their one hundred and fifty rounds of ammunition with them."

'Old Soldiers Never Die' by Frank Richards, DCM, MM.

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Further evidence - my grandmother told me that my grandfather brought his rifle with him when he came home on leave. His mother (my great-grandmother) made him leave it in the wash-house.

Tom

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You had to take your rifle home on leave in the early part of WW2 too.

In the event of an invasion you had to report to your local police station, with your rifle.

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In research for my book I came across a report in a local (County Mayo) newspaper of an attempted robbery of a soldiers rifle while he was home on leave from France, :blink:

The two masked thieves, threatened the women of the house with a hand-gun and told them they knew a rifle was in the house, apparently the soldier was not in the house at the time, and the rifle was upstairs in the wardrobe.

The defience and screams of the women scared the thieves away, but subsequently two local lads were arrested and sent to trial, and eventualy convicted (apparently identified by their voices known to the women of the house. The soldier was a member of the Connaught Rangers home on leave, the date when the incident happened on was the 13th October, 1917.

Another reason for a British soldier carrying arms would be in connection with the I.R.A operating in the country, British soldiers even of Irish origin could be seen as fair game.

Kevin :D

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This is one of my great uncles (EYR) home on leave

The little boy in the photo was my uncle, who remembered playing with bullets (according to my cousin, his daughter) when the boys came home on leave!

carney2.jpg

Caryl

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Caryl

What a fantastic photo

And yes agree with all - they did take their rifles on leave.

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Guest KevinEndon

A far flung relative went home on leave with his gun and bullets and his mother told him to get the bullets out the house where he said they were safe as they were blanks and threw one on the fire. The casing exploded on the fire hitting the relative in the leg with a bit of shrapnel. You couldn't dream it up could you.

Why he had blanks I do not know maybe a pal could tell us.

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This is one of my great uncles (EYR) home on leave

The little boy in the photo was my uncle, who remembered playing with bullets (according to my cousin, his daughter) when the boys came home on leave!

carney2.jpg

Caryl

Caryl

Note that his rifle is a very early RIFLE SHORT MAGAZINE LEE ENFIELD .303" MK1 of 1905 vintage with the original magazine cut off for single round firing. (The rear sight is the give away)

This is much earlier than the usual No1 Mk 111 or Mk 111*

It was not uncommon for troops to be issued with the earlier weapons, for instance the 7th northumberland Fusiliers were not issued with the short rifle until Sept 1916, prior to that they had the Long Lee Enfield of 1899.

Just a small point about your picture. :blink:

Guy

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Caryl

Note that his rifle is a very early RIFLE SHORT MAGAZINE LEE ENFIELD .303" MK1 of 1905 vintage with the original magazine cut off for single round firing. (The rear sight is the give away)

This is much earlier than the usual No1 Mk 111 or Mk 111*

It was not uncommon for troops to be issued with the earlier weapons, for instance the 7th northumberland Fusiliers were not issued with the short rifle until Sept 1916, prior to that they had the Long Lee Enfield of 1899.

You are correct ... if the rifles with the "old" regiments were serviceable there was no need to retire them. That rifle would have been sighted and proved for the older round nose MkVI ammo, but would readily have fired the higher velocity MkVII.

Naturally, "new" army units would have been issued with rifles straight from the factories.

There is plenty of evidence of troops at Gallipoli armed with Long Toms. My guess is these units were probably based in India.

But getting back to the subject at hand, sort of, my father was in the Citizen's Military Forces (Militia) in the early 1960s in Melbourne Australia, and every soldier took their rifle home. On parade nights he used to board a tram with his No1 MkIII* SMLE to travel to the drill hall a few suburbs away and no-one batted an eyelid!

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We had a thread on this in relation to soldiers from Irish Regiments last year. How do you post a link?

Steve

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Guy

Thanks for the extra information Most interesting. I did ask about the rifle early on in my forum time and the replies were similar to yours.

The little boy in the photo above was born in 1912, looks to be about three yrs old there. There is a baby in the whole photo and this was my aunt was born in December 1914, she looks maybe a year old, so the photo may have been taken abt 1915 or 1916

(always useful to have children in photos to work out the approx year)

My great uncles were soldiers in the regular army prior to the Great War, so this may explain why he had one of the earlier versions?

Caryl

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I don't think it was 'some units' - just that regulations changed over time and later in the war all ammunition had to be handed in.

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Guy

Thanks for the extra information Most interesting. I did ask about the rifle early on in my forum time and the replies were similar to yours.

The little boy in the photo above was born in 1912, looks to be about three yrs old there. There is a baby in the whole photo and this was my aunt was born in December 1914, she looks maybe a year old, so the photo may have been taken abt 1915 or 1916

(always useful to have children in photos to work out the approx year)

My great uncles were soldiers in the regular army prior to the Great War, so this may explain why he had one of the earlier versions?

Caryl

He had a minimum of 12 years Good Conduct, judging by the three GC chevrons left cuff. Super picture.

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He had a minimum of 12 years Good Conduct, judging by the three GC chevrons left cuff. Super picture.

Thanks Grumpy. I'll add that to the caption under his photo on the page, plus the extra info on the rifle provided by the others. He enlisted in 1902 as a young boy

Caryl

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That rifle would have been sighted and proved for the older round nose MkVI ammo, but would readily have fired the higher velocity MkVII.

It looks as if it also has the magazine designed for Mk.VI ball, so might've given trouble feeding Mk.VII...

(graps anorak and runs for door... :D )

Regards,

MikB

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Does anybody know what the legal situation was for an officer returning from the war with a pistol?

Could he keep it? Or did he need a license?

Guy

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post-16150-1170456947.jpg

Here is a picture of my Great Grandfather.

It was taken 'at home' with his wife, children, and gun. The little boy in the front is my grandfather.

I believe that it was taken in July or August 1914, just before he left for France.

Davecoin.

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Does anybody know what the legal situation was for an officer returning from the war with a pistol?

Could he keep it? Or did he need a license?

Guy

Hallo Guy,

Do you mean his British issued pistol, private purchase pistol or war booty German pistols / revolvers etc...????

Kevin :D

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