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Commander Crawford Caffin, R.N
H.M.S. Natal, aboard which the prisoner Cetshwayo was transported from Port Natal to Capetown. Caffin had joint charge of the King with Captain Ruscombe Poole, R.A. (Isandula Collection)
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 The Martini Henry

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Posts : 1605
Join date : 2009-09-21

PostSubject: The Martini Henry   Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:21 pm

What was the useable life expectancy of the Martini Henry rifle during the Zulu War?
Taking into account the environment. There was obviously the basic field strip and cleaning process carried out by the Soldier to who it was issued, But what about the working parts of the rifle. Were repairs carried out in South Africa? Or were the weapon’s returned to the armouries in England.

And what f the Rifle was damage due to neglect was the repair pay for by the individual concerned, or was a punishment inflicted or both.

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PostSubject: martini - henry   Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:34 am

hi dave.
Sounds like one for Neil , I am sure he will have the answers.
cheers 90th.
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Neil Aspinshaw


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PostSubject: Re: The Martini Henry   Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:21 pm

Each Rifle was given a rack number, which was then issued to the individual soldier as his own charge, woe betide any dirt or corrosion.

If you look at my posting on 6th December , I illustrated the tools and Jags supplied to maintain the gun, each private had this this kit to look after his teenie.

ONly the armourer sgt would be able to take the gun down to parts for maintainance.

The life expactancy was approx 10 years, whence the guns would be second classed, and sold out of service to Millitia and colonial troops, the rifle was thus marked. Enclosed is a picture of a BSA Mk1 upgrade, the 2 under the view mark shows its downgrade
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The next image is of a Mk1/2 upgrade, showing its service history.
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You can make out the 2 MF (2nd Muster Fusiliers) service marking and the rack number, then the 2nd class downgrade, the date of the downgrade 11/1894 and then the Clearing arsenal (Allalhabad) markings, then the Gurkha issue. This rifle was an Enfield dated 1873.... 21 years in service of the empire..some going

Last edited by Neil Aspinshaw on Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Martini Henry   Tue Feb 09, 2010 10:01 pm

BSA Mark IV's

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Neil Aspinshaw


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PostSubject: Re: The Martini Henry   Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:23 am


An interesting beast the BSA Mk1V, It shouldn't really exist, In 1890 BSA took a contract to suppy 9500 MK1V rifles. Enfield had carried out new build and conversions of the 56,000 Enfield Martinis A & B patterns, and the new production of the 40,000 C patterns from parts in 1887-1889 pruduction year. In the even the order was cancelled, however, BSA must have continued to supply replacement parts up to and including 1897 as I have recorded examples with those dates.

Why should this be?, well, there is no doubt BSA were issued unproofed parts and spares from Enfield as thier production was now to the Lee metford. Testimony to this is the fact that this gun has both Enfield on BSA proofed parts on it. So its Spares and replacements, plus repaired guns which carry the BSA Mark.

The question is did BSA actually make an sell Mk1V's, conceivably yes, but from parts, as theys would have had to re-tool to make very few peices.
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