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Thompson Guns in British & Aussie Service


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#21 m3bobby

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 09:07 AM

The thing with Commonwealth countries is, they tend to follow in the footsteps of the British way of doing things. It made sense as they would logically be fighting along side each other and be supplied by common supply chains. Theres bound to be an EMER for modifying the grip and sling swivel as the checkering is more than just a one off and anything more than a one off would usually be authorised.
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#22 GeeRam

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Posted 02 May 2020 - 01:29 PM

I am led to believe they were used by commonwealth forces, not just British army, during the Burma campaign to assist with grip in wet muddy jungle conditions

Stay safe
Richard

 

So not in the ETO?

 

Most unlikely...given outside of those guns issued to HG units, the predominate use of the Thompson by the British in the ETO was by the Commando's.

I've talked to many Bitish Army WW2 vets over the years back in the 80's and 90's, including Burma, ETO and North Africa, and it does seem to have been a Far East theatre of ops only in-field mod, from those that remembered seeing it.

 

My late production AO-prefix M1928A1 is a British/Commonwealth issue gun, with relocated sling swivels and checkering on the foregrip. From looking through the Iannamico books I think it was actually an Australian issued gun?


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#23 GeeRam

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Posted 02 May 2020 - 01:38 PM

The checkering on the foregrip of my AO prefix M1928A1.

 

 

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#24 rpbcps

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 06:08 AM

The example in my collection is one of the later US1928A1’s to be produced during WW2 by Savage, so it comes with the smooth barrel and 2nd version of the Lyman fixed aperture rear ‘L’ sight, marked with the company name only.

 

As well as the checked horizontal fore grip, and relocated sling attachments, it also has early a ‘REME’ workshop modified stock, with two screws added for reinforcement against cracking. This was a typical Commonwealth modification introduced prior to ‘cross bolt’ upgrade.

 

Attached File  541933 Foregrip.JPG   155.5K   11 downloads

 

Attached File  S 541933 LS XX Mag.JPG   153.5K   19 downloads

 

Also a picture of British forces on exercise, one of the Thompsons with the Breech cover still in place.

 

Attached File  British forces exercise.jpg   50.93K   21 downloads

 

Stay safe

Richard


Edited by rpbcps, 04 May 2020 - 06:12 AM.

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#25 GeeRam

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 07:08 AM

Sounds similar to mine, apart from mine being an AO made one, and mine doesn't have the REME stock mod, and having what I think is the Aussie marks.

 

 

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#26 rpbcps

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 09:51 AM

Sounds similar to mine, apart from mine being an AO made one, and mine doesn't have the REME stock mod, and having what I think is the Aussie marks.

 

Indeed nice piece, appears to have seen less wear and tear than mine.

 

As for the markings, I am no expert, but according to Ian Skennertons Small arms identification series No.17, '.45 Thompson Sub-Machine Gun', Australian owned weapons were stamped DD (Defence Department) and AF (Royal Australian Air Force).

 

That is not to say Frank Iannamico is incorrect, I have a copy of his American Thunder, which I often refer to. I have found in the past that there is sometimes conflicting information in different reference books and also new information being discovered, which older publications did not have access too, when they were published. 

 

Stay safe

Richard


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#27 Bridgeport28A1

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 09:52 AM

Sounds similar to mine, apart from mine being an AO made one, and mine doesn't have the REME stock mod, and having what I think is the Aussie marks.

 

Is the E A S broad arrow stamp the Aussie marking?

 

I have a M1 butt stock with "Britiish" modifications the same stamping.

 

mAQYZM3l.jpg

6F91uXXl.jpg

2dUjJEkl.jpg


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#28 GeeRam

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 11:31 AM

I bought this M1928A1 back in 1991/2 ish, and the dealer I bought it from said it was one of a batch that came out of an armoury disposal in India 6 months or so earlier, which included some early dated Bren’s as well.

 

Clearly it’s a British/Commonwealth issued gun, but other than AO acceptance mark, and these marks, the only other stamps are the sold out of service double arrow mark alongside a P on top of the barrel joint, as shown attached, but I’ve always wondered why there are no British marks though in all this time.

I’m aware of the D^D mark normally associated with Aussie stuff, and the N^Z mark for New Zealand as well etc.

 

I’ve just been doing a bit of digging, and found a post on another board about 5 years ago, from a Canadian asking about an identical mark to the butt stock posted above by Bridgeport28A1 above, stamped on the side of the stock of a Mannlicher 88/90 rifle he owns. He had been advised by another Canadian, that it was Indian. An Australian poster also suggested it was also a pre-1947 Indian acceptance mark, especially as a lot of Italian East African rifles captured by the British & Commonwealth armies in Ethiopia in 1941 were shipped to India. The mark is apparently typical of Indian Service markings.

 

So, the story told by the dealer nearly 30 years might have correct, but I’m still puzzled that my gun has no other markings showing British or other Commonwealth acceptance marks BEFORE it might have been handed over to the Indians, unless it was issued direct to an Indian Regt in Burma/Far East when new in WW2?

 

All alternative theories happily considered  :happy:

 

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#29 rpbcps

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 12:00 PM

I bought this M1928A1 back in 1991/2 ish, and the dealer I bought it from said it was one of a batch that came out of an armoury disposal in India 6 months or so earlier, which included some early dated Bren’s as well.

 

Clearly it’s a British/Commonwealth issued gun, but other than AO acceptance mark, and these marks, the only other stamps are the sold out of service double arrow mark alongside a P on top of the barrel joint, as shown attached, but I’ve always wondered why there are no British marks though in all this time.

I’m aware of the D^D mark normally associated with Aussie stuff, and the N^Z mark for New Zealand as well etc.

 

I’ve just been doing a bit of digging, and found a post on another board about 5 years ago, from a Canadian asking about an identical mark to the butt stock posted above by Bridgeport28A1 above, stamped on the side of the stock of a Mannlicher 88/90 rifle he owns. He had been advised by another Canadian, that it was Indian. An Australian poster also suggested it was also a pre-1947 Indian acceptance mark, especially as a lot of Italian East African rifles captured by the British & Commonwealth armies in Ethiopia in 1941 were shipped to India. The mark is apparently typical of Indian Service markings.

 

So, the story told by the dealer nearly 30 years might have correct, but I’m still puzzled that my gun has no other markings showing British or other Commonwealth acceptance marks BEFORE it might have been handed over to the Indians, unless it was issued direct to an Indian Regt in Burma/Far East when new in WW2?

 

All alternative theories happily considered  :happy:

 

That is really interesting information, an Indian issued TSMG? Maybe the acceptance was made when the weapons arrived in India and therefore did not require British markings?

 

In the past I read that the proposed distribution of the initial 100,000 TSMGs ordered by the British included 5,000 TSMGs for India.

On file I have a picture of a TSMG transit chest which is marked as being shipped from Indian, (Karachi, which was India at the time), during WW2. 

Attached File  Box 100.jpg   209.99K   17 downloads

 

Not in Burma, but Indian troops, one armed with a TSMG, in Italy 1943.

Attached File  Sikh Troops Itlay 1943.jpg   35.47K   14 downloads

 

and finally, an M1A1 which also has its foregrip checked.

Attached File  M1A1.jpg   38.27K   10 downloads

 

Stay safe

Richard


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#30 DZelenka

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 01:28 PM

I bought this M1928A1 back in 1991/2 ish, and the dealer I bought it from said it was one of a batch that came out of an armoury disposal in India 6 months or so earlier, which included some early dated Bren’s as well.

 

Clearly it’s a British/Commonwealth issued gun, but other than AO acceptance mark, and these marks, the only other stamps are the sold out of service double arrow mark alongside a P on top of the barrel joint, as shown attached, but I’ve always wondered why there are no British marks though in all this time.

I’m aware of the D^D mark normally associated with Aussie stuff, and the N^Z mark for New Zealand as well etc.

 

I’ve just been doing a bit of digging, and found a post on another board about 5 years ago, from a Canadian asking about an identical mark to the butt stock posted above by Bridgeport28A1 above, stamped on the side of the stock of a Mannlicher 88/90 rifle he owns. He had been advised by another Canadian, that it was Indian. An Australian poster also suggested it was also a pre-1947 Indian acceptance mark, especially as a lot of Italian East African rifles captured by the British & Commonwealth armies in Ethiopia in 1941 were shipped to India. The mark is apparently typical of Indian Service markings.

 

So, the story told by the dealer nearly 30 years might have correct, but I’m still puzzled that my gun has no other markings showing British or other Commonwealth acceptance marks BEFORE it might have been handed over to the Indians, unless it was issued direct to an Indian Regt in Burma/Far East when new in WW2?

 

All alternative theories happily considered  :happy:

Is you 1928A1 an Auto Ordnance built gun?


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#31 GeeRam

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 01:54 PM

I bought this M1928A1 back in 1991/2 ish, and the dealer I bought it from said it was one of a batch that came out of an armoury disposal in India 6 months or so earlier, which included some early dated Bren’s as well.

 

Clearly it’s a British/Commonwealth issued gun, but other than AO acceptance mark, and these marks, the only other stamps are the sold out of service double arrow mark alongside a P on top of the barrel joint, as shown attached, but I’ve always wondered why there are no British marks though in all this time.

I’m aware of the D^D mark normally associated with Aussie stuff, and the N^Z mark for New Zealand as well etc.

 

I’ve just been doing a bit of digging, and found a post on another board about 5 years ago, from a Canadian asking about an identical mark to the butt stock posted above by Bridgeport28A1 above, stamped on the side of the stock of a Mannlicher 88/90 rifle he owns. He had been advised by another Canadian, that it was Indian. An Australian poster also suggested it was also a pre-1947 Indian acceptance mark, especially as a lot of Italian East African rifles captured by the British & Commonwealth armies in Ethiopia in 1941 were shipped to India. The mark is apparently typical of Indian Service markings.

 

So, the story told by the dealer nearly 30 years might have correct, but I’m still puzzled that my gun has no other markings showing British or other Commonwealth acceptance marks BEFORE it might have been handed over to the Indians, unless it was issued direct to an Indian Regt in Burma/Far East when new in WW2?

 

All alternative theories happily considered  :happy:

Is you 1928A1 an Auto Ordnance built gun?

Yes, it is.

Attached Files


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#32 GeeRam

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 02:09 PM

n file I have a picture of a TSMG transit chest which is marked as being shipped from Indian, (Karachi, which was India at the time), during WW2. 

attachicon.gif Box 100.jpg

 

That's obviously been remade out of a much older crate, looking at the stencil on the side implying it was dispatched from Cogswell & Harrison Cannon works in West London....!

Cogswell & Harrison still exist, and they are London's oldest surviving gunmaker's, dating back to 1770.

 

https://www.cogswellandharrison.com/

 

Interesting  :)


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#33 Bridgeport28A1

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 02:25 PM

So how does one get India from EAS? Did the British Government issue Thompson to India troops?
Or is it stamped EAS indicating service in India with British troops?
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#34 rpbcps

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 02:35 PM

n file I have a picture of a TSMG transit chest which is marked as being shipped from Indian, (Karachi, which was India at the time), during WW2. 

attachicon.gif Box 100.jpg

 

That's obviously been remade out of a much older crate, looking at the stencil on the side implying it was dispatched from Cogswell & Harrison Cannon works in West London....!

Cogswell & Harrison still exist, and they are London's oldest surviving gunmaker's, dating back to 1770.

 

https://www.cogswellandharrison.com/

 

Interesting  :)

 

Nope, I do not believe it was remade out of an original case, just painted over a number of times.

 

In 1940, when the British placed their order for Thompson sub machine guns, the weapons were planned to be distributed as unit weapons. At that time, unit weapons, such as Vickers machine guns, Lewis and Bren light machine gun, were all stored in transit chests, as they are nobody's personal responsibility and were issued to whoever ‘signed for them’, from the units armoury, with a set of ancillaries, (magazines, cleaning rod / kit, spares), which were required for the weapons.

 

Therefore, the War department arranged contracts for the manufacture of transit chests designed specifically for the Thompson, and the weapon serial number was pencilled inside the lid.

 

The chests were designed to hold not only the Thompson gun, but also three 50 round ‘L’ drums, five stick magazines, cleaning rod and spare parts kit.

 

There were several contractors producing these chests, so perhaps one was Cogswell & Harrison, a total of 63,051 Thompson transit chests were produced.

 

Thompson Model of 1928’s, were initially shipped abroad to India and Australia etc. in these transit chests. Indeed, some found their way to Norway and were still in use with the Norwegian Navy until around 1985, as were their Thompson 1928’s.

 

In June 1941 the decision was taken that the Thompson guns would be issued as a personal weapon and therefore the chests were no longer required, so the contracts were cut short. The War department then looked at converting the transit chests to hold box magazines and also 50 round ‘L’ drums, and drawings for the conversions exist.

 

I mentioned the transit chests in an article I wrote for the May issue of 'The Armourer' magazine on the Thompson Gun accessories.

 

Here is an old post about the chests, which you may find of interest:

http://www.machinegu...topic=11386&hl=

 

Post #18, in the above link, by Bridgeport28A1 has a link to YouTube and in the clip you can see the chests being loaded etc.

 

Stay safe

Richard


Edited by rpbcps, 04 May 2020 - 02:39 PM.

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#35 GeeRam

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 02:42 PM

So how does one get India from EAS? Did the British Government issue Thompson to India troops?
Or is it stamped EAS indicating service in India with British troops?

 

What exactly the letters mean is still a bit of a mystery.

But the markings on your stock are exactly the same stamping as seen on this guys Mannlicher 88/90 rifle stock, and as typically as seen on captured Italian rifles sent to India by the British in 1941 for second line Indian use during the war. 

 

Yes, Britain did issue Thompson's to Indian regiments fighting with the British Army in Italy, Africa and the Far East. They also likely handed over a lot of arms to India in 1947 on India's Independence that were sitting in British Army armouries when we pulled out.


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#36 rpbcps

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 02:45 PM

So how does one get India from EAS? Did the British Government issue Thompson to India troops?
Or is it stamped EAS indicating service in India with British troops?

 

I am not sure about the meaning of the initials, but the proposed distribution of the initial 100,000 TSMGs ordered by the British included 5,000 TSMGs for India.  

 

See photo above and also this one:

 

Attached File  Indian Troops with TSMGs.jpg   133.37K   12 downloads


Edited by rpbcps, 10 May 2020 - 10:25 AM.

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#37 GeeRam

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 03:06 PM

In 1940, when the British placed their order for Thompson sub machine guns, the weapons were planned to be distributed as unit weapons. At that time, unit weapons, such as Vickers machine guns, Lewis and Bren light machine gun, were all stored in transit chests, as they are nobody's personal responsibility and were issued to whoever ‘signed for them’, from the units armoury, with a set of ancillaries, (magazines, cleaning rod / kit, spares), which were required for the weapons.

 

Therefore, the War department arranged contracts for the manufacture of transit chests designed specifically for the Thompson, and the weapon serial number was pencilled inside the lid.

 

The chests were designed to hold not only the Thompson gun, but also three 50 round ‘L’ drums, five stick magazines, cleaning rod and spare parts kit.

 

There were several contractors producing these chests, so perhaps one was Cogswell & Harrison, a total of 63,051 Thompson transit chests were produced.

 

Thompson Model of 1928’s, were initially shipped abroad to India and Australia etc. in these transit chests. Indeed, some found their way to Norway and were still in use with the Norwegian Navy until around 1985, as were their Thompson 1928’s.

 

Yep, done in the same way for the same reasons, as the No.15 chest for the No.4(T) sniper rifles. Even use the same hinge and fastener design.

 

Yes, maybe Coswell & Harrison, as you say were one of the contractors, as they likely would have been involved in WD work in some capacity during the war, much as Holland & Holland were with the contract for the conversions of the No.4(T) sniper rifles. (one of my other major interests, as I own a mint live firing 4(T) with full chest and all contents.

 

Are you aware there is a guy in the UK that remakes the Thompson chests to that W^D spec?

 

Interesting about the Norwegian Navy and still having Thompson that late. I also have a slight interest in that, as my live firing K98 is an ex-Norwegian Navy rifle, allocated to the KNM from captured German stock at the end of WW2. Mine is doubly rare as by chance it was also, an original German Kriegsmarine issue K98, made in Jan 1940, so likely went to to Norway in April 1940 with the Kriegsmarine during the invasion of Norway. Most of the captured K98's were re-barreled in the mid 1950's to 30-06 to make use of free 30-06 ammo stocks being handed out by the USA, but the KNM retained all their K98's in original 7.92x57.

Seems the KNM preferred hanging onto the good old stuff  :D


Edited by GeeRam, 04 May 2020 - 03:07 PM.

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#38 Mk VII

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 03:16 PM

The furniture industry was making the chests, not gunmakers, who were given tasks more suitable to their talents. 


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#39 DZelenka

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Posted 04 May 2020 - 05:30 PM

 

I bought this M1928A1 back in 1991/2 ish, and the dealer I bought it from said it was one of a batch that came out of an armoury disposal in India 6 months or so earlier, which included some early dated Bren’s as well.

 

Clearly it’s a British/Commonwealth issued gun, but other than AO acceptance mark, and these marks, the only other stamps are the sold out of service double arrow mark alongside a P on top of the barrel joint, as shown attached, but I’ve always wondered why there are no British marks though in all this time.

I’m aware of the D^D mark normally associated with Aussie stuff, and the N^Z mark for New Zealand as well etc.

 

I’ve just been doing a bit of digging, and found a post on another board about 5 years ago, from a Canadian asking about an identical mark to the butt stock posted above by Bridgeport28A1 above, stamped on the side of the stock of a Mannlicher 88/90 rifle he owns. He had been advised by another Canadian, that it was Indian. An Australian poster also suggested it was also a pre-1947 Indian acceptance mark, especially as a lot of Italian East African rifles captured by the British & Commonwealth armies in Ethiopia in 1941 were shipped to India. The mark is apparently typical of Indian Service markings.

 

So, the story told by the dealer nearly 30 years might have correct, but I’m still puzzled that my gun has no other markings showing British or other Commonwealth acceptance marks BEFORE it might have been handed over to the Indians, unless it was issued direct to an Indian Regt in Burma/Far East when new in WW2?

 

All alternative theories happily considered  :happy:

Is you 1928A1 an Auto Ordnance built gun?

Yes, it is.

The Serif P proof mark on the barrel is the giveaway. Original Savage barrels are stamped with a Sans Serif P. By the way, your gun's sn is only 1850 away from My AO 28.


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#40 GeeRam

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Posted 05 May 2020 - 03:34 AM

The furniture industry was making the chests, not gunmakers, who were given tasks more suitable to their talents. 

 

True.

 

But, Cogswell & Harrison were one of the contractors for making the standard WW2 W^D binoculars. They also did a small contract run for the FS fighting knives, and perhaps are better known for making many of the bespoke and secretive clandestine equipment for the SOE.


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