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
In my collection I have a 'KNM' marked Thompson Recoil Tool which I bought a few years ago.
KNM Marked Stripping tool.jpg 74.65K 4 downloads
KNM Marked tool profile.jpg 51.07K 7 downloads
Here is a picture of a Norwegian Navy Transit chest that a colleague sent me.
TSMG Chest Norway 2018.jpg 83.66K 13 downloads
TSMG Chest Norway 2018 Inside.jpg 113.48K 32 downloads
Yes, the Germans left a lot of small arms in Norway in 1945.
1945 Captured weapons.JPG 58.36K 33 downloads
The furniture industry was making the chests, not gunmakers, who were given tasks more suitable to their talents.
Good point. Perhaps Coswell & Harrison obtained the chest complete with Thompson, post WW2, and they modified the gun to semi auto only. One of the Deactivated Thompsons in my collection is an early Model of 1928, which had been modified to semi auto only for civilian ownership and use, prior to the changes in the UK firearms act in 1988.
Edited by rpbcps, 05 May 2020 - 03:52 AM.