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Thread: L4A3 Bren serial numbers

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  1. #1
    Really Senior Member Longshaor's Avatar
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    L4A3 Bren serial numbers

    Hi All,

    Is there any sort of listing of the serial number range of L4A3 Bren guns? Even just knowing the serial number of the final L4A3 would be a huge help.

    Cheers!


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    Really Senior Member Brit plumber's Avatar
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    I've been collecting the Bren serial numbers for years now and the L4A3 is the hardest to find, so far I only know of 4 L4A3s, all 65 and 66 dated. I have no guns produced from 1962 to 68 so I would assume that this is when the A3 was in production. 1969 saw the L4A4 production restart. The last A3 number I know of is in the low UE66A7000 range but I would estimate final production to be in the 8-9000 range (Willing to be corrected if anyone knows better).

    ATB Chris.

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    I would go as far as to suggest that the L4A3's were not numbered so as to identify them, but in batches, as they came off the conversion line and I wouldn't mind betting even thsn, that there will be L4A4's dispersed within these blocks. That is, you could have up to UE65A 1234 being an A2, then 1235 to 400 (say...) as A3's with an odd A2 thrown in

    According to the documentation, not all L4A3's/A5's were converted to the Mk2/1 folding cocking handle spec either because the Navy parts list BR783 if I remember, shows both folding and fixed cocking handles. They are marked as alternatives. The Brens were converted from Ordnance stockpiles held at Thatcham, converted at Enfield then shipped to Donnington. Many hundreds of these were those traded IN from African countries when they were on our side of course........ in part exchange for rebuilt but as-new L4 guns. As a result, many of these were Mk1's and 2's fit only for scrap but the Mk3's were inspected and if possible, converted.

    There was a sequel to the Thatcham saga because as they were being cut up for scrap, they were sold off to a scrap yard in Binfield. Someone there looking for some car bits noticed a xxxxing great pile of Brens and Brownings (as this was during the M1919 to L3A4 conversion programme too.....) and immediately reported it to the cops. They turned up and had the lot brought in and tried to make up a serviceable one. But, alas, the welders there were a bit more switched on than that and the 'guns' were returned to the scrap man.

    I never saw an A3 or 5 in Army service but the Navy ones that trickled through Bovington and Aldershot were A3's and when/if barrels were shot out (not often with the Navy.....), converted to A5 with a single barrel.

    Where were we..........? I think I was distracted.............

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    Really Senior Member Longshaor's Avatar
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    Ah, so they're not sequential. This is going to make it more difficult...

    Thanks for the info guys!

    ---------- Post added at 04:48 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:44 PM ----------

    Probably a daft question (I'm good for those), but how would the SPARE barrel issued with an A3 be serialled?

    Cheers!

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    Really Senior Member Brit plumber's Avatar
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    Howdy Peter,

    Heres some info I've gatherd from my serial number lists, the Last L4A4 prior to L4A3 production is in the UE61A14400 range and the next number I have is a L4A3 in the UE65A5000 range and the last is in the UE66A7000 range. The L4A4 started again in 1969 with UE69A15000 ish so it would appear the L4A3 had its own serial number range starting at A1, I could be wrong, to be sure, I could do with some more A3 numbers, it seams only the late A3s survived, possibly because they were the newest?

    Any thoughts?

    ATB Chris.

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    Thoughts about L4 serial numbering............... It shows that the guns were indeed converted in substantial batches. Generally speaking, the guns were all numbered sequentially and from the logical and logistical point of view, it would almost be inconceivable that the numbering would start again for the A3 series. It would mean that there could be two 'identical' guns floating around with identical serial numbers. I say 'identical' guns because to the quartermaster, they were just Bren Guns................ A Bren is a Bren is a Bren. After all, if they could confuse a No2 revolver (the old .380" No2 pistol) with a No2 Pistol (the Browning 9mm pistol, then they could confuse anything..............)

    And just in case you think that this would be unlikely, then consider the Marines in Borneo who had Navy guns and Army guns at the same time. Now it's not so improbable!

    These are just a few thoughts. To the factory, converting a Mk2 body was no different to converting a Mk3 body, in fact identical jigs were used and the datums were the (if I remember now...........) the recessed rail for the piston extension slide, the rearmost surface of the ejector opening and the ejector retaining pin axis.

    It needs more Mk3's but, alas, where are they now......................

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    Really Senior Member Kev G's Avatar
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    BP my L4A3 for your list is UE65 A4515.

    Peter did the serial numbers on L4A1's take over where the 1950's MK3 .303 UE A prefix serial number range finished ?

    ATB Kevin
    Last edited by Kev G; 07-22-2010 at 09:33 AM.

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    Contributing Member nzl1a1collector's Avatar
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    Talking of L4A1's are there many of them around? I think one would go nicely with my X8 rifle

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    There were certainly L4A6's around until the 80's. They are the single chrome lined barrel version of the old A1. There were certainly sufficient to warrant a new run of the complicated and very fiddly ejector blocks manufactured.

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    Really Senior Member Longshaor's Avatar
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    Peter,

    I'm trying to wrap my mind around how the serial numbering system worked. I understand the "UE61" is the country, factory & year of manufacture & the subsiquent "A-whatever" is the actual serial number, but how were the numbers themselves assigned? Was each factory given a set number range based on their contracted output?

    Cheers!

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