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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 3 weeks ago #81987

  • Neville_C
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Webley Mark IV revolver and holster with markings for the 38th (High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire) Company, 10th Bn. Imperial Yeomanry. Backstrap stamped: "1/00 / I.Y.C / 18". Flap of holster stamped: "IMP.YEO / 18 / 38 COY."
"18" is the issue number of the handgun and matches the revolver to the holster. The January 1900 issue date corresponds exactly with the date of the formation of the Buckinghamshire Companies of the Imperial Yeomanry.

Frame stamped: "WEBLEY MARK IV PATENTS".
With various proof marks, etc: military proof mark - crown / "VR" / crossed pennants / "2P" (for each cylinder chamber and on barrel); Birmingham inspection mark - crown / "B9" (on frame & cylinder); serial number "78576" (on frame & cylinder); Nitro proof mark "NP 455 LP/08" (on underside of barrel); broad arrow "/|\" & "IV" (on trigger); Birmingham inspection mark - crown / "B 36" (on trigger guard).

The Mark IV was in production from 21 July 1899 to 9 December 1913, and the earliest and latest recorded examples have serial numbers 77503 & 130024 (1914-1918.invisionzone.com). According to www.classicfirearms.be , 36,756 Mark IVs were delivered between 1899 and 1904, giving an annual production for this period of c. 7,000. This estimate suggests a production date for this gun of mid-September 1899.

According to the Imperial Yeomanry Report (Cd.803. HMSO 1901), only three revolvers were issued to each I.Y. company: one for the farrier-sergeant, and one for each of the two buglers. No names can be found for the buglers of the 38th Company, but the farrier-sergeant was No. 4956 Samuel Joseph Eldridge of No. 3 Section. He came from Tring and died at Pretoria from enteric on 24th October 1900. Was this his revolver?








Dress Regulations for the Army, 1900, Plate 65

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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 3 weeks ago #81996

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Going back to the member of the Pretoria Commando, who's carrying a Mauser rifle and Webley revolver - interestingly, his Mauser still has the brass muzzle cover. The lack of springiness in these covers means they get loose and drop off, so they are seldom seen in photos later in the war, and originals are almost never found on Mausers in collections.
A pal of mine did find one, though, lying on his farm which is the site of the Pretoria Commando laager, near Bell's Koppie, outside Ladysmith. I wonder if it was this man's muzzle cover?
The colour photo I attach is of a new-old-stock muzzle cover for the Chilean Mauser, which is identical.



The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.
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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 3 weeks ago #81999

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The Martini-Henry equivalent ...
A gift from a late Ladysmith resident. Exact location of find unknown.

Note the serial number "460". I assume this would match the serial number of the rifle, in which case this belonged to one of the first batch purchased by the Z.A.R. that were delivered to the Central Magazine, Pretoria, on 30 July 1888 (Bester 2003, p. 141).





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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 3 weeks ago #82000

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This is my only example of a Mk IV Webley. It is named on the frame to C E Harston, E Co. Imp Yeo. 25463 Charles Edward Harston served with the 49th Company, 9th IY, from February 1901 to September 1902 and was discharged with the rank of sergeant. I can see nothing in his papers to suggest he was a farrier or bugler and had always presumed the gun was privately purchased and named. The serial no. on the frame is 91587.



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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 3 weeks ago #82001

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Dunnboer, that is fascinating.
In general, revolvers were issued to ranks like farriers who had the awful duty to shoot wounded horses. Officers and I imagine NCOs were able to carry revolvers in order to maintain discipline and fight at close range, but these were 'private purchase' arms. Firms like Army & Navy stores etc carried stocks of everything an officer needed, and I presume it applied to sergeants who wanted extra kit.
Now, a private purchase revolver looks almost exactly like an issued revolver, but on close inspection it will lack the markings W^D (where ^ stands in for a broad arrow). There will be a few other small markings which will differ.
Issued arms are also sometimes known as 'ordnance' arms.
From your photos, it seems yours is private purchase - I can't see the W^D stamps. Moreover, your man would have been disciplined if he'd named an 'issued' revolver, which was government property.
Boers were issued their arms as individuals, so they carved their names without hesitation.
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Small Arms and Ammunition 6 months 3 weeks ago #82002

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re: the Martini front sight protector: I could be wrong here, but the height of the nacelle which covers the foresight and the diameter of the tube both seem to indicate this is for a Martini Enfield rifle, not a Martini Henry. These were in .303 calibre and were used extensively in the siege and relief of Ladysmith by the Natal Volunteers and by colonial volunteer units like the ILH, BMI and TMI. They are excellent rifles, which use the Lee Enfield barrel and sights married to the foolproof Martini action.
The number 460 is, I think, the inventory or rack number, which would match that on the butt stock disc.
Drawings show Natal Volunteers in the siege, a foresight protector is visible on one of the two Martini Enfields they carry. You'll notice a brass disc or washer is soldered over the tip, they usually are missing, and yours is missing this washer.



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