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Thread: Lee Metford-lee Speed with Bore war history?

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    Really Senior Member superbee's Avatar
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    Lee Metford-lee Speed with Bore war history?

    Just picked up a rifle that has been on my list for years.A early Lee Metforrd-Lee Speed.
    It may have a Canadian Bore war connection.The tag attached says Paardeberg Drift.
    I'm assuming it was captured in one of the first Canadian victories in the war.
    Anybody have more info?Serial # is 34xx

    Battle of Paardeberg - Veterans Affairs Canada




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    Make that Boer war...

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    Really Senior Member superbee's Avatar
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    Thread Starter
    Tried to correct spelling error, but you can't edit your post after it is posted.

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    Really Senior Member Daan Kemp's Avatar
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    Very nice condition for a Boer War capture.

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    Contributing Member smle addict's Avatar
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    Beautiful rifle!

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    Really Senior Member Mk VII's Avatar
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    The surrender at Paardeberg of over 5,000 Boers who, under Cronjé's uninspiring leadership, had allowed themselves to be trapped on the river, was one of the first pieces of good news from South Africa in what had, up to then, been an almost unrelieved series of disasters.

    As it appears to be a commercial rifle one assumes it was a clandestine purchase or a previous capture from Imperial troops.

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    Really Senior Member RobD's Avatar
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    Lovely rifle.
    The Boers did have Lee Speeds captured from Jameson raiders, these are thought to be in the 1000 - 2000 serial number range.
    Rob

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    Advisory Panel Surpmil's Avatar
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    Personally I would want to see close ups of the tag.
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

    "None need deceive a people determined to deceive themselves."

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    Advisory Panel Surpmil's Avatar
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    Superbee, if you want a definitive answer, swab out the cracks and crevices with some Q-Tips dipped in alcohol, put the Q-Tips in ziplock bags and send off to the botany department at Memorial and see if they can find any South African pollens on them. If so, you'll know the rifle really was in S.A., and the Paardeburg story becomes more likely.
    "Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." W.L.S.C..

    "None need deceive a people determined to deceive themselves."

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    Really Senior Member RobD's Avatar
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    I think there are a few potential reasons to be slightly sceptical that this rifle came from Paardeberg.
    - I would not expect Boers to be carrying .303s in Feb 1900. At this stage of the South African War, the Boers were well equipped with Mausers and Mauser ammunition, and their back-ups were abundant Guedes and Martinis. The switch to carrying .303s came after the capitals had fallen and Boer ammunition wagons were scarce.
    - Boer-associated Lee Speeds are unusual [with the exception of the Jameson Raid rifles, which as I mentioned have serial nos. in the 1000 - 2000 range], one would have to come up with a plausible reason how a Boer came to carry one. Boer-captured-recaptured MLMs and MLEs are not unusual.
    - The condition of the Lee Speed shown is absolutely beautiful - better than one would expect with that story.
    - The tag and its string don't look especially old, though a close up would be useful.
    - Paardeberg Drift was the site of the Canadianicon camp - the Boer lager was 5 miles away from the drift, known simply as Paardeberg.

    For interest I attach a picture of the Boer lager to give an idea of the conditions. I have arrowed some spent RFA 15 pr shells.
    I also attach 2 pictures of piles of Boer rifles captured at Paardeberg.




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