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Thread: How rare is a matching No1 MkI Non Irish Contract

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  1. #11
    Really Senior Member Daan Kemp's Avatar
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    Doubt if there are any or more in South Africa. Most of the rifles were commandeered in both world wars to serve in the military or just to prevent rebellion. So they would have been absorbed in the army and updated, refurbished, etc discarded, used up, etc. TerryLee and RobD would know more.

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    Senior Member Terrylee's Avatar
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    The early SMLEs in South Africa? They are around. Just not particularly common. Here are three which originated locally: T to B, Mk I, Mk I* and II*. Interestingly, the Mk I* is Marked to the Natal Light Horse and thus probably saw service in GSWA.
    Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	S.M.L.E.s Mks.I, I st and II st.jpg‎
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    Senior Member capt14k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terrylee View Post
    The early SMLEs in South Africa? They are around. Just not particularly common. Here are three which originated locally: T to B, Mk I, Mk I* and II*. Interestingly, the Mk I* is Marked to the Natal Light Horse and thus probably saw service in GSWA.
    Very nice group of rifles. I also wondered if there was any No1 MkII variants out there.

    I know someone who has imported Colonial Mausers from South Africa that he purchased via online auction. I have imported from Finlandicon, Germanyicon, and Canadaicon. It sounds like South Africa is just as easy if not easier to import from. I will keep an eye on the auctions. Any site in particular I should be looking at? Any help is appreciated.


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    Really Senior Member Daan Kemp's Avatar
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    The Britishicon Army MUST have left thousands of Lee's in Africa as a whole, what with all the campaigns it was engaged in before WW1.
    These early examples, heavily marked with some really interesting Regimental marks must be worth a few bob these days!
    I know the Kenyan ones were marked Royal Kenyan Colonial Police as I saw one when I was out there in January as I visited a Tea Plantation still owned by a Brit in the hills and on her wall was a Lee with that stamped. Even the toilet door had an authentic SPECIAL BRANCH sign on it, as her father was the Deputy Police Commissioner at the time of the Mau Mau uprising.
    The others in Africa are the Kings African Rifles and the Royal West African Frontier Focre and loads of others, presumably with their initials stamped on the weapons.

    'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA

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    Senior Member Terrylee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terrylee View Post
    The early SMLEs in South Africa? They are around. Just not particularly common. Here are three which originated locally: T to B, Mk I, Mk I* and II*. Interestingly, the Mk I* is Marked to the Natal Light Horse and thus probably saw service in GSWA.
    The regimental markings on the three rifles concerned: Royal Dragoons, Natal Light Horse & South Stafordshires.
    Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	Marking Discs S.M.L.E.s Mk I, I Str & II Str.jpg‎
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    Really Senior Member Strangely Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gil Boyd View Post
    The Britishicon Army MUST have left thousands of Lee's in Africa as a whole, what with all the campaigns it was engaged in before WW1.
    These early examples, heavily marked with some really interesting Regimental marks must be worth a few bob these days!
    I know the Kenyan ones were marked Royal Kenyan Colonial Police as I saw one when I was out there in January as I visited a Tea Plantation still owned by a Brit in the hills and on her wall was a Lee with that stamped. Even the toilet door had an authentic SPECIAL BRANCH sign on it, as her father was the Deputy Police Commissioner at the time of the Mau Mau uprising.
    The others in Africa are the Kings African Rifles and the Royal West African Frontier Focre and loads of others, presumably with their initials stamped on the weapons.
    It went on further afield as well.
    My brother whilst serving in Hong Kong was asked to put a No.4 on his FAC that was stamped R.H.K.D.F. (Royal Hong Kong Defence Force). The battery armoury it was chained up in had no idea how it got there or who it belonged to; it wasn't even on the armoury register.

    A foot note:
    A few years later whilst working in Africa Sussex police wrote to my brother and said they were revoking his FAC because he wasn't using his rifles, he asked the RFD who was storing them to send them off for auction....the No.4 went for £14!
    Mick

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    Now that must have been a few years ago. Even a shot out one would make £100
    'Tonight my men and I have been through hell and back again, but the look on your faces when we let you out of the hall - we'd do it all again tomorrow.' Major Chris Keeble's words to Goose Green villagers on 29th May 1982 - 2 PARA

  12. #19
    Member AD-4NA's Avatar
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    Well the Irish batch did originally only come to the USAicon as far as I've read, but that was not the question. In all my auction and listings watching in the USA I've only noticed a couple come up for sale that were not Irish.

    I have cogitated about the Irish MkI's a bit and decided I really like them even aside from the Irish legacy. Whether you like the Irish heritage or not or are a purist they are special in one way in that they were Britishicon WWI rifles and then were Irish WWII rifles that were actually used. I would guess most other MkI's were personal rifles, or scrap or broken up, or in stores for World War II, except for that one found in Normandy, but the Irish MkI rifles where in active use during the war and that makes them kind of neat for me.

  13. #20
    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    RCS: Henry Lawson wrote a poem about how every man should keep a rifle behind the door.

    I think you are over-achieving just a tad, both in quantity and "style".

    Nice set!.

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