• 1916 ShtLE (Short Lee-Enfield) No.1 MkIII* Sniper Rifle

    1916 ShtLE (Short Lee-Enfield) No.1 MkIII* Sniper Rifle
    c/w Winchester A5 (5 Power) Offset Scope
    (Mfg by RSAF Enfield)


    (Click PIC to Enlarge)

    (Click PIC to Enlarge)


    Caliber: ....................... .303 in., Mk VII Ammo
    Rifling & Twist: .............. 5 Groove, Enfield, Left Hand Twist
    Barrel Length: ............... 25.2 in (640 mm)
    Overall Length: ............. 44.5 in (1130 mm)
    Weight: ........................ 9.3lb.(4.2 kg) (unloaded)
    Magazine Capacity: ....... 10 rounds (magazine loaded)
    Converted by: ............... Whitehead Bros.
    Approval Date: .............. May 4th, 1915
    Scope: .......................... Winchester A5 (5 Power) (British Military War Dept Marked)
    Qty Mfg: ....................... 907

    Source: ....................... The Lee-Enfield Story by Ian Skennerton (1993) - ISBN: 185367138X

    Canadian Collector Market Value Estimate: $


    1916 ShtLE No.1 MkIII* Sniper Rifle
    This item has been reviewed by members of the Milsurps Advisory Panel.
    (240 picture virtual tour)
    Observations:
    Note: Pics of rifle provided courtesy of MILSURPS.COM member ~Angel~.


    Check for "all matching" serial numbers underneath the forestock, on the nose cap, rear sight, receiver, barrel and bolt handle. The rifle shown in the virtual tour is correctly serial number matched and in addition, is equipped with the correct Winchester (5 power) offset telescope marked with the "British Broad Arrow" and inspector's stamps, indicating acceptance for military service. Also shown is the original A5 scope case, also correctly marked with the "British Broad Arrow" and inspector's stamps. These conversions were carried out by Whitehead Bros. company and they did a total of 907 rifles.


    Collector's Comments and Feedback:

    1. The rifle itself displayed in our on-line photo pictorial came from the estate of the late Hon. Robert Bonner, LL.B. (September 10, 1920 — August 12, 2005).


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    Bonner was a Canadian lawyer, politician, and corporate executive. He pursued his career working in the British Columbia government and in B.C.-based companies.

    Bonner was born and raised in Vancouver, and served with the Seaforth Highlanders in Italy in the Second World War. Upon his return to Canada, Bonner took a law degree from the University of British Columbia in 1948, and joined a practice in Vancouver. Active in politics from an early age, Bonner became a supporter and confidant of W.A.C. Bennett, who would go on to lead the Social Credit Party to victory in the 1952 provincial election. To the surprise of many, Bennett appointed the unelected, 32 year-old Bonner as the province's Attorney General — the youngest in B.C.'s history. Bonner would be elected to represent the riding of Vancouver-Point Grey in the provincial election of 1953, which was also the first Social Credit majority government in the province. He would retain the position of Attorney General for the next sixteen years, quickly becoming one of the most powerful ministers and closest advisors to Bennett in the Socreds' long spell of governance.

    Bonner left provincial politics in 1968 to become vice-president of MacMillan Bloedel, a Vancouver-based logging and lumber company. He would later go on to become the firm's president and chief executive officer. Bonner left Mac Blo in 1976 to become chairman of BC Hydro, the provincial crown corporation responsible for producing and supplying hydroelectric power. He retired from that position in 1985.

    Bonner died in Vancouver in 2005.
    (Feedback by "Badger")


    2. Note the large dent shown in the side of the forestock in a few of the pics of the photo virtual tour. At first glance it appears to be wood damage from some kind of impact, when it reality, it actually indicates that the stock of this rifle was from old supplies that had already been cut-out, in preparation for installing the front volley sight. By the time this rifle had been manufactured in 1916, the use of front and rear volley sights on No.1 rifles had been discontinued. (Feedback by "Badger")


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    3. The Lee-Enfield Story by Ian Skennerton (1993) - ISBN: 185367138X is an excellent general reference book on the evolution of Lee-Enfield rifles, however, it doesn't go into great detail on their use as sniper rifles. Ian Skennerton published an earlier 266 page work in 1983 called The British Sniper (British & Commonwealth Sniping & Equipments 1915-1983) - ISBN 0 949749 03 6. For anyone wanting a lot more detail research with pictures covering the evolution of sniping, this is an excellent supplement to his later work. It is out of print, so I'd suggest you use a "Google" search on the title to see if you can find a copy from one of the rare used book sources on the Internet. I found my copy on eBay. ....... (Feedback by "Badger")

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    4. For anyone wanting to get a sense of what it was like to train and operate as a sniper during the Great War 1914-1918, a must read is Sniping in France 1914-18 (by Major H. Hesketh-Prichard DSO, MC.) (click here). This is a highly interesting read and discusses the use of tactics, equipment, training methods and the creating of the first official sniper training school for British forces. To realize that their engagement ranges for early SMILE and Pattern sniper rifles with Winchester A5, Aldis and Periscopic Prism scopes was between 200 and 400 meters (average distance between trenches) is fascinating, when we think about modern military sniper engagements today starting at 600 meters and going out to 2,000 meters with heavy caliber rifles. It is out of print, so I'd suggest you use a "Google" search on the title to see if you can find a copy from one of the rare used book sources on the Internet. I found my copy on Amazon.com. ....... (Feedback by "Badger")

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    5. The following is an excellent 110 page research article for anyone interested in sniping during the Great War. ..... (Feedback by "Badger")

    "Making Their Mark"
    Canadian Snipers and the Great War 1914-1918
    by Leslie P. Mepham (1997)




    (Click PIC to read and save Adobe PDF File)
    (Right Click on PIC and choose "Save Target As..." to download PDF file)


    6. With reference to the correct A5 Winchester scopes used on the No.1 MkIII* Sniper Rifle:

    In any of the books, to the best of my knowledge is that they fall into two distinct sub-groups in terms of markings: Many bear the EFD examiners marks as shown in other responses, but in my limited experience (I've owned about ten of these scopes over the years, & have corresponded with other collectors), if the examiners mark is present then the serial number of the rifle it was fitted to will not be marked on the scope tube. Other scopes, however, bear an obvious SMLE serial number engraved prominently onto the upper surface of the scope tube (but have no examiners mark or broad arrow on the rings). Often the paint has not survived over the years, but the serial number engraving was originally filled with red paint. I've never seen an A5 that bore both the examiners marks AND a SMLE serial no on the tube. They either seem to have one or the other. About ten years ago I wrote a little a article for Ian Skennerton's 'Collector' Magazine on WW1 British & Commonwealth sniping equipment. It is fairly basic, but is illustrated & still remains pertinent to the best of my knowledge. Please feel free to email me (click here) off forum if you think I may be able to help further. ATB .......
    (Feedback by "Roger Payne")
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 1916 ShtLE (Short Lee-Enfield) No.1 MkIII* Sniper Rifle started by Badger View original post
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. pcaru1's Avatar
      For anyone wanting to get a sense of what it was like to train and operate as a sniper during the Great War 1914-1918, a must read is Sniping in France 1914-18 by Major H. Hesketh-Prichard DSO, MC. ISBN: 1874622477.

      FYI. I don't know where I read it, maybe here?? maybe a WW1 website, but I read that book front to back without stopping. Great reading!
    1. Badger's Avatar
      Check the the above library entry and read Collector's Comments and Feedback item #4, then refer to Articles and Books (click here) section of the Knowledge Library.

      There's an excellent and complete digital copy of the book available for download.

      Sniping in France 1914-18 (by Major H. Hesketh-Prichard DSO, MC.) (click here)

      Regards,
      Doug
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