Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Section for new members to introduce themselves and get tips and advice on how to get the best out of the forum.

Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Postby peter6 » 10 Jan 2018 17:36

Hi Everyone
Just recently joined and very pleased to be part of the 'Victorian Wars Forum'. I have a small collection of British Army obsolete weapons and accoutrements purchased over the last few years but have been a history and military enthusiast/reader all my life. I am recently retired early due to ill health and now hope to spend more time on my long time passion.
I am aware of many Canadian members and hope that someone may have some knowledge of the following weapon which I own.

- Martini Henry Mk.1 Second Pattern British Army Service Rifle.
- All designated components have the Matching Serial No: 5158.
- There is a painted number on the L/H Butt: 125. Possible armoury designation?
- Rifle is in very good condition. I have stripped fully and completed general servicing. Weapon has not been fired whilst in my care but appears fully functional and in condition to do so.

I believe this weapon may have been part of the order delivered to the Canadian Government which were not converted to Mk.2 status prior to the sale.

If anyone has any previous knowledge of this particular rifle I would be very interested to know.
Many thanks.

Peter
peter6
New Member
 
Posts: 13
Joined: 09 Sep 2017 11:15

Re: Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Postby NWMPMoose » 11 Jan 2018 08:05

Welcome to the forum, Peter!

As you called us Canadians out, I feel obligated to reply even if I don't have the answer you are looking for... Although I have a general knowledge of our various arms, I devote most my studies to fighting drills, campaign life during the Northwest Rebellion, and various Canadian units (10Btn RG, NWMP (which my username is not subtle about) and A Bty), so this is outside of my range. But, because this relates to the rebellion in some sense though, I can say you have the proper make we were using in Canada at that time, meaning it is possible that this could have been one of our early, unconverted orders.

2 100 Mk 1, second pattern, unconverted martini henry's (as you described yours) were received by the Dominion in 1874. Now, as I mentioned, small arms are relatively outside my range of research, so I don't know if the serial number was marked for being that number of rifle purchased in Canada, or that number of rifle made, period. So, I'm not sure if knowing there were 2 100 rifles purchased will be of any help in matching your serial number of 5158.

Anywho, this might be moreso what you're hoping for, I saw another thread which speaks on a similar topic, where Grant posted the following;

"Indeed, David Edgecombe, in his "Defending the Dominion: Canadian Military Rifles, 1855 - 1955", theorizes that all unaltered late second pattern Mark I rifles to be found today anywhere in the world are likely from the 1874 Canadian purchase ...."

As I'm sure you're aware, many members of the forum are extremely knowledgable of small arms, and tracking serial numbers. I hope what I've posted can be useful in some way until someone else can come along and answer you more directly.

Out of interest though, does your rifle have any DC or unit markings?
NWMPMoose
New Member
 
Posts: 30
Joined: 23 Oct 2017 23:49
Location: The Dominion of Canada

Re: Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Postby peter6 » 11 Jan 2018 19:41

Hi NW
Apologies as I don't have your name. Greatly appreciate your information and support regarding the MHR MK.1. Although I'm from Scotland my wife and I have spent quite a bit of time in Alberta and BC over the years and would move tomorrow if I could. Knowing a bit about the people and country was sure someone would respond to my request for information. I never intended to be a collector as was always much more interested in the man/men behind the rifle and bayonet standing with their backs to the colours. Just wanted to get a feel of what it was like but of course you cannot. Are you involved with re-enactment as mentioned drills and campaign life? I don't purchase anymore but now have time to do a bit of research on the items that I bought previously. Definitely in the right place at the right time to get this rifle as knew they were fairly rare but was unaware of the Canadian connection at the time. I'm planning to undertake study of the 'Red River' campaign and the 'Rebellion' as knew little previously except Wolseley's involvement in the first. There are no DC or Unit markings to be found on the rifle, only the Enfield Roundel and painted No:125 on the L/H butt which put an armoury rifle in my mind. It has had a few knocks so must have been out and about at some point but possibly only for training purposes? I believe the MK.1 had been superseded by time of the 'Rebellion so may not have seen service at that time'? Have tried to attach images of the rifle but unable to do so for some reason. I have another MHR Mk.4 which was issued to the 'Bechuanaland Protectorate/Police' so will undertake a separate post regarding that one as am trying to find out if it may have been in service at 'Mafeking' during the siege. For the moment though will continue with the MK.1 information gathering. Again many thanks for all your help and hope we can continue communications on the forum.
Best Regards
Peter
peter6
New Member
 
Posts: 13
Joined: 09 Sep 2017 11:15

Re: Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Postby NWMPMoose » 11 Jan 2018 20:49

Well I'm glad it sounds as though my answer may have been of some use, and I am glad to hear of your appreciation for my country! I've always been quite fond of Scotland, and have a large number of ancestors from there. Just keep in mind - plenty of land for sale out here! I can definitely relate as to your interests on the soldier, as opposed to his kit, though kit can prove fascinating in its own right.

I'm not involved in reenacting just yet. I've been intending to get started for some time now, but the population where I live is small by most standards, and there are no organised reenactment groups for several hundred kilometres around. Last month, I acquired the full dress uniform of the NWMP and intend to put it to good use, just have to find a smaller cartridge belt, and figure out what events would be interested in having me give some form of demonstration. Until then, I just keep researching, and practicing drills and whatnot - in fact I was just on my way to grab my snider and practice the bayonet exercise some more when I checked my phone and saw your reply!

I would certainly encourage your interest on both campaigns you mentioned, though in my opinion, the second is far more interesting and easier to come by information on.

Not all rifles of the original purchase had either DC or unit markings, many of which were stashed away in stores immediately, meaning it's still quite likely this was one of the 1874 purchase. The knocks could be from poor storage, training, competition shooting (main purpose of MH in Canada) some firearms enthusiast having a lot of fun, or if you're very lucky, active service.

You are correct to assume the Mk 1 had been all but replaced in the UK by 1885, but Canada has often been far behind in terms of equipment. To put this into prospective, during the rebellion, our standard issue rifle was the 3 band snider, with Mk 1 MHs being used by selected markmen of the 90th Btn, Winnipeg Rifles, and many speculate, 'C' Coy Infantry School Corps (though I haven't found much to confirm the latter). 10 000 MHs were ordered and received during the conflict, (mainly Mk IIIs) but not were not issued. Half were returned to the UK, and the rest were again placed in stores.

The only Victorian police force I could be of much help with, would be the Northwest Mounted Police, but by the Great Boer War, Canadian troops serving in South Africa had been entirely kitted with lee enfields, and I can only assume their counterparts were armed similarly with modern enfields and metfords. But, I won't say it's not possible your Mk IV had seen service there, because as I mentioned I'm not familiar with the Bechuanaland Protectorate whatsoever. Hopefully someone with more knowledge on them will hop on with a more accurate answer.

In the meantime, I look forward to continuing communications with you and I hope you'll enjoy your time here!
NWMPMoose
New Member
 
Posts: 30
Joined: 23 Oct 2017 23:49
Location: The Dominion of Canada

Re: Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Postby peter6 » 11 Jan 2018 23:26

Hi NW
Thanks again for your last post. It's very informative for me and most surprised that Sniders were still in use during the rebellion!! Sounds like you enjoy the ownership of one and also undertaking the drill for same. Not many people could show that nowadays. The three band version would be my choice also .Have you been to the old NWMP Post in Canmore? Miner's day parade? That could be a perfect outing for you to undertake a display and demonstration. Worth a thought if you haven't done so already but distance is always the issue. There's really no such thing as 'just down the road' for you. When time allows could you please advise best reading regarding the rebellion. Appreciated.
Best Regards
Peter
peter6
New Member
 
Posts: 13
Joined: 09 Sep 2017 11:15

Re: Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Postby NWMPMoose » 12 Jan 2018 00:02

Great to hear you found it informative! Interestingly enough, Canada was issued with sniders immediately when they came into service (in order to take care of the Fenian threat), but then were somewhat forgotten and for the most part we used them up until the boer war, when our troops were issued lee enfields for overseas service... Some units were stuck with the old snider until the first world war! Webbing, field pieces, uniforms and such were also relatively outdated more so less during peacetime, being upgraded by individual units only when called to war (with some exceptions).

I really do enjoy my snider, I actually got it at a gunshow while searching for a martini henry - which I found, but wound up getting the snider instead, which I do not regret whatsoever. There's a loose barrel band, and the slide for the sutherland sight is missing (which I've got one aligned to pick up shortly), but aside from that it's in fantastic condition, still in good working order too - just not incredibly accurate without the slide. I tried posting pictures on here, but I found the same issue you did when trying to post yours, it wouldn't work.

Unfortunately, I haven't been to Canmore, I live in Southwestern Manitoba, roughly 2 000km from Canmore, so as you mentioned "there's really no such this as just down the road". My family is from Alberta and so I've been out to a couple NWMP sites when time permitted, but haven't been out there since getting my new uniform. I do appreciate the suggestion though, and will hopefully move out to Alberta somepoint during my life where I might be able to volunteer at some of these sites. I found an organisation called the NWMPCA which might be a possibility for me to look into even when isolated from the group.

I know plenty of excellent reading material for you to look into, but rather than trying to think up however many I can in the next couple minutes, I'll try narrowing down what to post for the time being... Do you have anything in particular you're looking to learn about? Specific battles? A specific unit? A certain aspect of the campaign? Illustrations? Until you reply, I'll post a very good source here to tie you over for the time being - accessible online to make it even more convenient!

https://archive.org/stream/historyofnor ... 0/mode/2up
NWMPMoose
New Member
 
Posts: 30
Joined: 23 Oct 2017 23:49
Location: The Dominion of Canada

Re: Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Postby rd72 » 12 Jan 2018 01:15

HI Peter,
I'd add emphasis to NW's (through GrantR) mention of "Defending the Dominion" by Edgecombe. The best, "one stop shop" for Canadian service arms. It is an academic book but chalk full of descriptions, and more importantly, issue numbers, units and things similar. John Denner usually has them.
Cheers,
Rob
User avatar
rd72
Senior Member
 
Posts: 484
Joined: 28 Mar 2010 17:44

Re: Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Postby peter6 » 12 Jan 2018 16:40

Hi NW
Many thanks again for all the information and your Snider purchase experience. Armourers tended to used small lead strips between band and wood if unable to tighten on completely with barrel screw fully made up. When required I have carefully heated barrel band screws which were completely seized with good success and no damage to the fore stocks which I had fully protected. This avoided cost of genuine replacement parts rather than taking the junior hacksaw out!! Again if I could attach a photo you would see what I mean by the lead inserts.
I am very surprised how long the Sniders were in service with the Canadian military. I knew the British Army used Martinis and .303 variants up till the First World War but generally as training weapons. The Canadian Army's achievements over the years stand for themselves regardless of their weapons or kit.
Really appreciate the link for 'Rebellion' literature. I think at this time I need to know and understand the general background and causes before going into more specific and detailed reading so anything along that line that comes to mind would be great to know.
Best Regards
Peter

Hi Rob
Grateful thanks for this information. I'm looking for John Denner on line and hope they will ship to the UK if book is available. Nothing on Amazon at the moment and no overseas shipping for the Ebay option. Will let you know if this brings up anything in particular regarding on my Mk.1. Hope I can get some photos uploaded soon. Cant figure out what the problem is.
Best Regards
Peter
peter6
New Member
 
Posts: 13
Joined: 09 Sep 2017 11:15

Re: Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Postby NWMPMoose » 12 Jan 2018 17:54

Thank you Peter for the information regarding the barrel bands, that will certainly be something worth looking into! I can definitely see why you would be surprised at that! But once you're used to everything else being out of date also, news of the old rifles don't catch you off guard too much.

That would certainly be a good place to start, I believe the book I sent the link for has a couple chapters detailing some of the causes, though I'll try remembering which titles include more information on such. I will warn you though, most sources printed on the rebellion today, are extremely slanted against the government. Yes, it is important to understand both sides of the conflict, but as surprising as it may seem, older works tend to do a better job of giving both stories.

I'll start by just sending online sources, it's fairly cold here right now, so I'm not quite up for running around digging out various books of mine to see which ones best detail causes - I'll get to that once I've warmed up by the fire some...

With the link I sent you, (a history of the Northwest Rebellion of 1885) I would turn to the chapter titled "Prelude to Insurrection".

Trooper and Redskin, chapter IX;
https://archive.org/stream/trooperredsk ... 8/mode/2up

Though not accessible online (that I know of), and as I don't have ownership of this next work, rather than waiting to check my books to find which ones will best help you understand the causes, I'll list 'Prairie Fire' (part 1 - a spark) by Bob Beal and Rod McCleod here. I rented it from a library a while back and if I remember correctly it does speak on the causes again, but as I haven't yet bought it, I can't confirm.

A lot of information sort of blends as to where you got it, which is one thing I should probably take care to avoid while researching, so I'll actually remember what sources to turn to for specific details, rather than going "I know the answers, now where can I find them..."

If these don't hold you over, I'll look into my stash of books later today to find you some more, and look for more titles online available for purchase. When it comes to causes of the rebellion it comes down to an array of issues which I hope the works I selected will outline. It involved metis petitions, a Canadian railway, hunger on the prairie, Riel's personal greed, and the want for a nation without the 'white man'. I hope you'll enjoy these three, and if you want anymore, just let me know!
NWMPMoose
New Member
 
Posts: 30
Joined: 23 Oct 2017 23:49
Location: The Dominion of Canada

Re: Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Postby NWMPMoose » 12 Jan 2018 21:49

Dug some books out. Most focus on particular aspects of the campaign such as battles, tactics and whatnot with only a passing mention of the causes if any at all... Usually resources on the battle of Duck Lake provide a bit of a background, which you're bound to find easily enough online, (particularly in sources written about the NWMP) some books that do devote a bit of effort in mentioning the roots of the rebellion are;

Prairie Warships; River Navigation in the Northwest Rebellion - by Gordon E. Tolton
Pages 69-75

The Battle of Batoche; British Small Warfare and the Entrenched Metis - by Walter Hildebrandt
Pages 19-25

The Wild Ride; A History of the North West Mounted Police 1873-1904 - by Charles Wilkins
Pages 161-166

If you conduct much research online, keep in mind that some websites are far less than historically accurate... Take any official Canadian government sources, and school curriculum with a grain of salt. Luckily, some online sources will practically drown you in useful information, and take a good while to read, while others will be very simple, but leave you learning little. One example would be the following webpage which simply states in point form, notable events which occurred prior to, during, and following the rebellion, which are worth looking into at a greater extent;

https://library.usask.ca/northwest/back ... hronol.htm

Any more questions, and I'll be glad to help!
NWMPMoose
New Member
 
Posts: 30
Joined: 23 Oct 2017 23:49
Location: The Dominion of Canada

Re: Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Postby peter6 » 13 Jan 2018 11:45

Hi NW
Can't thank you enough for all the reading information. Will get started and hopefully can come back to you for any detail or clarifications. Looking forward to this new area of history that I am very unfamiliar with. Also the NWMP!
FYI. I have managed to locate a copy of 'Defending the Dominion' via Dave Hiorth of armyoutfitters.ca so will update if any further info on the Mk.1. Will place it under the relevant section from now on. The MHR Mk.4 marked for the 'Bechuanland Protectorate/Police" I will post on the 'Boer War' section probably next week seeking any personal or historical information on the rifle. Will stay in touch via the forum. All the best.
Peter
PS. After the MK.4 listing I have a MK.2 to tackle that has some information on it which may (probably very unlikely) link it to the 66th Foot. Maiwand!!
peter6
New Member
 
Posts: 13
Joined: 09 Sep 2017 11:15

Re: Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Postby NWMPMoose » 13 Jan 2018 17:24

Once again, I'm glad you're finding it useful! That sounds good to me, anything extra questions you have, I'm sure will be fun to answer! You'll find information on the NWMP, should you decide to pursue it further, extremely interesting, even when outside the scope of rebellion! If you need any information on them later on, I won't be able to resist lending you a hand. I'm glad you've managed to find a copy of 'Defending the Dominion'! I hope you'll get a lot of use out of it! Best of luck with finding the information you're after, and sorry I can't be of more help with your other two MHs. If you're ever in the 'Canada 1837-1901' section over the next few months, I'll quite likely be jumping onto your thread to try helping out, again, best of luck, and I'll see you around!
NWMPMoose
New Member
 
Posts: 30
Joined: 23 Oct 2017 23:49
Location: The Dominion of Canada

Re: Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Postby peter6 » 14 Jan 2018 16:18

Hi NW
At last managed to attach the photographs of MHR Mk.1. Another batch to follow.
Best Regards
Peter
Attachments
DSC00575.JPG
DSC00575.JPG (216.9 KiB) Viewed 120 times
DSC00574.JPG
DSC00574.JPG (188.01 KiB) Viewed 120 times
DSC00573.JPG
DSC00573.JPG (222.64 KiB) Viewed 120 times
DSC00572.JPG
DSC00572.JPG (223.26 KiB) Viewed 120 times
DSC00571.JPG
DSC00571.JPG (211.79 KiB) Viewed 120 times
peter6
New Member
 
Posts: 13
Joined: 09 Sep 2017 11:15

Re: Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Postby peter6 » 14 Jan 2018 16:22

Hi NW
Second batch of MHR Mk.1 photographs attached.
Best Regards
Peter
Attachments
DSC00579.JPG
DSC00579.JPG (138.52 KiB) Viewed 119 times
DSC00578.JPG
DSC00578.JPG (140.3 KiB) Viewed 119 times
DSC00577.JPG
DSC00577.JPG (180.83 KiB) Viewed 119 times
DSC00576.JPG
DSC00576.JPG (216.63 KiB) Viewed 119 times
peter6
New Member
 
Posts: 13
Joined: 09 Sep 2017 11:15

Re: Martini Henry Rifle Mk1. Second Pattern

Postby NWMPMoose » 14 Jan 2018 16:31

Great photos Peter! How did you manage to post them? I saw on another thread that you were told to shrink them smaller than 700 pixels... How do you go about doing that?
NWMPMoose
New Member
 
Posts: 30
Joined: 23 Oct 2017 23:49
Location: The Dominion of Canada

Next

Return to New Members

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests