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 Zulu War Martini Henrys.

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Spudee



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PostSubject: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Mon Jan 09, 2017 2:55 am

Having just acquired a very nice Mk.III MH, I have become interested in the fate of rifles used during the campaign, particularly those used at RD and Isandlwana. Have any verified Martini Henrys surfaced since then and what has happened to them? Thank you.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:06 pm

Neil Anspenshaw hopefully would be able to answer your question. Hopefully he'll see your post.
I would imagine most of the rifles were carried off by the victors.
Good question actually I wonder if there was a record of the rifles that were issued to the men at Isandlwana.
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90th

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PostSubject: Zulu War Martini Henry's   Sun Jan 15, 2017 12:25 am

Hi Spudee
A quick answer , some recovered at other battles such as Kambula & Gingindlovhu , I also seem to remember reading that many were handed in after the Battle of Ulundi when the war was over . some , no doubt , were kept by their finders . The one's that did make it back into British hands were more than likely just re-issued , as littlehand has posted , the resident expert here , and anywhere on the MH , Neil Aspinshaw , will hopefully fill in the blanks , he has a book coming out , or is it out ? , very well detailed on all things relating to the MH , I'm thinking it will be a must have for you , along with many others on here . I saw your other post about No 3 Column , this has been discussed many times over the years here , you would be best served checking all the threads , and you will ,  in time , find the answers you are looking for , and a lot , lot more .
Cheers
90th agree Shocked
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terrylee

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:28 am

Details of this rifle have been previously posted.  It is a Martini Henry Mk.I dated 1872 and was recovered in Zululand in about 1971.  It is marked to the 80th Regiment.

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barry

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PostSubject: Recovering lost weapons   Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:01 am

Hi All,

I may add that post the AZW it was of great concern to the Colonial authorities the number of weapons captured from the British and floating around Zululand.  This added to those older technology weapons supplied by the gun runners exacerbated the situation.
It thus automatically followed that the NMP were tasked with recovering these weapons at every opportunity, a task which continued for decades. I would venture to guess that the majority were recovered and returned to their units. Whilst doing all this, the NMP identified and closed down a very intrepid Zulu merchandiser who they found in central Zululand who had a vast store of MH ammunition and was selling rounds at extortionist prices to all who wanted them.

regards

barry
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Spudee



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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:28 am

Thanks for the replies.  I would imagine it would have been quite a job tracking the British weapons captured by the Zulus during the war.  And given the time since, I would presume that records relating to the issue and reissue of the firearms have long since disappeared. I wonder if any of these are still about and in the hands of collectors?  Thank you 90th regarding my question about the standard of Chelmsford's troops.  I had presumed that it might have already been discussed but it is difficult to read everything on this forum.


Last edited by Spudee on Mon Jan 16, 2017 3:54 am; edited 1 time in total
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90th

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PostSubject: Zulu War Martini Henry's   Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:54 am

Hi Spudee
No Worries , It's certainly difficult to read the previous posts there are probably 60,000 of them Shocked , but as I said , there is much detail covered in them , take your time to Navigate through the threads , you'll be pleasantly surprised by what you come across , there are a quite a few learned people on here that have been contributing for years ! . Slow and steady wins the race ! Salute agree , even though its not a race you know what I mean Very Happy
Cheers 90th Very Happy
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ADMIN

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:10 pm

75741 Posts to be precise! agree
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90th

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PostSubject: Zulu War Martini Henry's   Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:01 pm

Now it's 75742 Pete ! hahahahahaha Joker Joker No No
90th

ps . When you coming to Zululand !
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:12 pm

Bit late on this one, but the only recorded and unofficial documentation of the rifles carried at Isandlwana is in the diary of Cpl John Bassage which was found on the battlefield and it lists the rifle number of the rifles carried in his company. As Bassage was out wth Chelmsford on the day with his own company, those rifles can actually be discounted as a potential capture by the Zulu's.

As Terrylee says, the only rifle that could be classed as as close to "authentic" is a MkI 3rd pattern, originally belonging to the 80th foot, that originated from the Kwazulu Natal area. Fact is was a MkI 3rd pattern is entirely correct for the period, as most upgrades to MkII did not take place until 1880 so it never came back to England to have the upgrade, so evidence is very much in it favour. But still not 100% conclusive.

As most MkI rifles were upgraded to MkII, and re-marked as a result of the Childers reforms of 1881-2 it is now almost impossible, unless it was like the MkI.. unearthed in a hut, to prove its lineage. As hundreds of thousands were used as mother rifles from 1891 into Martini Henry MkII Artillery carbines, Martini Metford and Enfield Carbines and latterly Martini Enfield MkII rifles, their past has sadly been obliterated. so the chance to locating original rifles, with their original regimental marking, and proof indeed that it wasn't in a store somewhere at the time from the period is nil.

The question I get asked is were the all the rifles collected?, well as in the case of the MkI obviously not, but as even the rifles used at Rorkes Drift were never even kept for prosperity, an arm lost/captured, but maybe recovered in the post war sweeps would simply be sent to the RSARF at Birmingham, cleaned up and sent from anywhere from Nepal to Nova Scotia without a second thought.
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Spudee



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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Tue Feb 21, 2017 11:29 pm

Thanks Neil for your comprehensive reply. Obviously needs superseded history back in the day. But wouldn't it be wonderful to own a legitimate ZW MH?
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:23 am

Neil
Any thoughts? This was 'found' near Rorkes Drift, the safety isn't one Ive seen before.
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Regards
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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:54 am

Swinburn Henry as issued to the Natal Volunteers during the Zulu War.  If a carbine could have seen active service with a mounted unit.  If a rifle, would more likely have served with town guards.  

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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:57 am

Thanks Terrylee judging from the barrel length a carbine. I believe from the owner it was unearthed in the RD vicinity.

Regards
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barry

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PostSubject: SH Carbine   Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:16 am

Hi Frank,

Thanks for that picture. Was there a serial number of any type anywhere on the metal ?.
It so, it could be possibly be traced. The NMP lost 33 of those on 22/01/79.
However I see that the white ants have had a field day and  judging by the screw heads the latter day  Zulu gun smith was only equipped with an axe.
A nice rebuilding job for someone with a lot of time.  For display purposes only  however.

regards

barry
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Frank Allewell

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:17 pm

Hi Barry
As you see it Barry, it is pretty well rusted. There hasn't been any attempt yet to see if there is any serial numbers. hopefully a start will shortly be made.

Cheers
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nthornton1979

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:05 pm

'[Hook] was a good shot, and was fortunate in having a splendid Martini, a very light weapon, then numbered 152, and with it he picked off several savages, opening at 600 yards.'

Also....

'Again and again did No. 152 dart out its tongue of flame; cartridge flew back, to be replaced by others; the ground was littered with brown ammunition paper....'



If anyone has 'number 152' then you can add a couple of zeros to its price.

Neil
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90th

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PostSubject: Zulu War Martini Henry's   Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:27 am

True Neil . it'd be like winning the Lottery ! .
90th
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Bromhead1879



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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:26 pm

where on the gun would someone find such a number? The stock or receiver? Is that number Hook's roster number?
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barry

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PostSubject: Weapon serial nos   Wed Mar 01, 2017 7:21 am

Hi Bromhead,

In answer to your questions.
The weapons manufactures normally marked the metal components of their weapon with their serial nos., ie the barrel and/or the receiver. It can be easily seen that any numbers stamped into wood would not have much longevity and could be defaced too easily.

regards

barry
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nitro450

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:19 am

Most rack numbers were stamped into the butt plate tang, some numbers were also deeply stamped into the right hand side of the butt itself. You would be surprised how clear they are after many years of hard use. Most of the ones you see that have diminished have been removed on purpose. You can also see the Enfield and BSA circular makers stamps on that side of the butt on old MH rifles and carbines.Peter.
Nitro450. Salute
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Bromhead1879



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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:24 pm

So again my question, is Hook's number as mentioned above (152)  a roster number that would have been stamped on his rifle? Or was the rifle factory serial number logged in is paybook? IF the answer is his roster number, where on the rifle would that number be struck? Not sure what a rack number is.
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Bromhead1879



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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Sat Mar 04, 2017 3:38 pm

after closer examination of my MH, the stock is a replacement. Stamped 1883 and rifle is a BSA MK I 1876. Bummer!
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yulzari

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:11 pm

Just to add that armoury refurbishments involved removing good parts from scrap weapons and replacing bad parts from new or good removed parts so your MH may have parts from another version altogether. eg stock or breech block. I have just seen a MkIV ex Enfield Martini .402 breech block in a MkI updated to MkII and refurbished in 1905 in India.
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nitro450

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Sat Mar 04, 2017 11:17 pm

My experience while in the Army was that each member had his own rifle allocated to him and it was his responsibility for it's maintenance. In our case it was the last four numbers of the serial No. However from my examination of old military rifles, in earlier times they were given a number often with a letter which was stamped on the butt plate tang or the stock. This was the rack number for storage purposes and to identify each weapon as issued to a member of a Unit. I have seen this in cadet corps, gaols and police units. Salute
Nitro450.
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Bromhead1879



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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:57 pm

Thank you Nitro and Yulzari. I'm catching on!
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Neil Aspinshaw

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:39 pm

Nitro
Martinis were not stamped on the butt tang and I have never recorded any, apart from rifles from the Afghan or Kabul Arsenal,Or in the case of Nepal the trigger guard. Ordnance marks were to be on the right face of the butt stock. there was a standard marking stamp, supplied from Enfield for this which measured 7/64" and was supplied from the RSAF, in sets of A-Z, 0-9, full stop, dash and slash.

The method only changed from this with the adoption of the brass disc method regimental markings of 1892.commonly found in .303, but rarely apart from later issue IC1's .450's.

Some dominion forces, notably Canada, marked militia codes on the left face, Southern Australia & Western had a penchant to mark their Martini arms on the right forward receiver face, Some South African unit King Williamstown and Cape Government on the receiver bridge or knocks form.
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littlehand

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PostSubject: Re: Zulu War Martini Henrys.   Tue Mar 14, 2017 9:23 pm



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