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18th September 2003Martini-Henry markings
By David Glynne Fox
Hi All,
I recently bought a Mk11 Martini Henry rifle which was upgraded from a Mk1 and dated 1874. It is in excellent condition and appparently came from the prop suppliers who supplied the Martinis for the film Zulu. Obviously, I have no way of knowing whether or not it was used in the film or, for that matter, the real thing. My question to our learned enthusiasts concerns some of the markings on this firearm.
The first question concerns the initials DP which the rifle carries. I know from the Martini links page on this site that this means "drill purposes," but was the rifle stamped with these initials at manufacture, or as I suspect, at a later stage of proofing or some such inspection? Is there any chance this firearm saw action anywhere or was it always a drill specimen? These initials appear in two or three places on both wood and metal. Also on the barrel on the raised section forward of the breech, the initials DP have been overstamped with the numerals 24. Now I know what you are thinking, and even I smiled a bit when I saw them, 24th Regiment, Wow!! But I am not so naive as to assume that this rifle had anything whatsoever to do with this illustrious regiment. But my second question is, what do these numerals refer to? The rifle has the usual offset 11 below the BSA markings and below that is stamped the figure two for seond class, if that helps at all. On the side of the breech is an engraved number which I assume is the props number as it is not in the usual stamping marks.
I would appreciate any help in this matter. Many thanks.David
DateReplies
19th September 2003dave
Dave.
its not the real thing. The 24th Regiment Stamp was put there so someone who like you say Naive would bye it.
Never mind hang it on your wall.
20th September 2003Bill Power
David,1st things 1st! DO NOT FIRE this rifle!!! Depending on when it was DP'ed,the barrel might have cuts or drilling into the bore[hidden by the forearm wood]! Have you taken it apart? Very educational! If this was, actually,2nd Class, this was not issued to the British Army,as it did not Gauge with the Inspectors[Doesn't mean it was unsafe-just there might've been problems with interchangeability in the field], A BSA 1874 MkI???!! Only Enfield made MkI's,as far as as I am aware[not very aware,says he, reaching, fumbling for Skennerton's Opus]! The issue marks are stamped on the wood of the Buttstock,also the Makers Roundel! Also,the Mk & class! That "raised section" is the Knoxform",named after-guess who-that allowed Armourers to replace a shot out barrel.the rest of the action being the most robust single shot action ever,60,000 CPU! It was DP'ed on later inspection,by Inspector 24! If rust was detected,* was stamped on the Knoxform for chamber,on the barrel for bore rust! Any future info/questions,E-mail!
























20th September 2003David Glynne Fox
Thanks Dave and Bill. I am grateful for the information. I have no plans to fire it and certainly not after Bills comments. I would in any case have approached experts like some of the Die Hards or 1879 group first. It definately states B.S.A & M Co below the V r mark and crown. Below this is the date 1874, below this a small crown and arrow mark and below this the offcentred 11, below this the figure 2. The roundel on the butt is very difficult to decipher, but definately has a crown with arrow mark below and WD below that. It has proofmarks on the breech and knoxform and other odd marks elsewhere, including a number of small WD signs and crowns. I only bought it because I wanted to add a MH to my Zulu War collection and it is a rather nice weapon, useful for display purposes. Thank you both again so much for the information.
Regards
dave
20th September 2003David Glynne Fox
Thanks Dave and Bill. I am grateful for the information. I have no plans to fire it and certainly not after Bills comments. I would in any case have approached experts like some of the Die Hards or 1879 group first. It definately states B.S.A & M Co below the V r mark and crown. Below this is the date 1874, below this a small crown and arrow mark and below this the offcentred 11, below this the figure 2. The roundel on the butt is very difficult to decipher, but definately has a crown with arrow mark below and WD below that. It has proofmarks on the breech and knoxform and other odd marks elsewhere, including a number of small WD signs and crowns. I only bought it because I wanted to add a MH to my Zulu War collection and it is a rather nice weapon, useful for display purposes. Thank you both again so much for the information.
Regards
dave
21st September 2003John Sukey
A couple of things. First, the reason that II is offset is the fact that at one time it was an issue arm. The second l was added later when it was downgraded. while still serviceable, it was not for issue to the regular army.
Second, D.P. markings can also mean that it was relegated to that use because it was no longer a current issue firearm. Saying that, I would have it disassembled and checked for any defect. If there was none, such as a hole drilled on the underside of the barrel or a saw cut, I would have no qualms on shooting the thing. As a matter of fact, I have a D.P. marked Martini Enfield carbine that has nothing wrong with it and I DO shoot it.
21st September 2003David Glynne Fox
Hi John,
Thanks for your posting, very helpful. As both you and Bill state, I really do need to remove the barrel for inspection. It would be nice to know that it may still be serviceable, but as I do not plan to use it, I am not too worried. It is however, nice to know that at the early stages of its career it would have been an issue arm to the regular army. If only these weapons could speak!! It is great to know that your carbine is still useable. Thanks again for your time and help.
Regards
David
22nd September 2003neil aspinshaw
David
did you buy this from the (now burned down Motorcycle museum) arms fair last week?.
If it was the same weopon I also had a good look at it. I must confess I did not notice the 24 marking, then again unit or regimental markings would most usually appear on a brass roundel disc on the butt if at all.
My Martini has stamps and marks all over it, jason who runs the MH website liked on this site tells me they are often rack numbers.
Daves remark is also a little off the the mark, If it was the gun I saw it had nothing to imply or even suppose it was a 24th reg gun, merely a link with the film so ignore his comment. I viewed seven different MH's of various dates at the show, all I would say were fairly good. Didn't manage to pick up an original bayonet what I went for though!.
In light of the staggering prices now being charged you made a good purchase as the prices have gone barmy.
22nd September 2003John Sukey
Dave, if you haven't done so already, go to www.martinihenry.com.
It shows how to field strip and REASSEMBLE the rifle without being reduced to a babbling idiot trying to put it back together. Plus a LOT of other information! I hope you meant that you were going to remove the forend, NOT the barrel for inspection
24th September 2003David Glynne Fox
Hi Neil and John,
Many thanks for your words of advice. Yes neil, I did buy it from the Motorcycle Museum arms fair. What a shame about the venue. The 24 mark on it is almost certainly a rack number, nice to dream though. I have wanted a M-H for some time now and one of Zulu War period. This specimen fulfills the requirements, whether or not it was used in the actual conflict. I should imagine there is no way of ever knowing where the rifle served, if anywhere, but it looks nice and I like it. If I had waited much longer I would be into even more money for as you say, the prices have gone barmy. It wasn't that long ago that you could pick one up for £500, this one cost me £950. Thank you all for your comments, they have been most helpful.
Regards
David
25th September 2003Barry Iacoppi N.Z.
Gentleman. Below is an old posting I made. In light of what is written above some of you may find this of interest.
Gentleman. I have just been sent the following. It is from
Martin Everett
Curator
Museum of The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot)
It is The Roll of C Company 2/24th with rifle numbers (rack?) attached.
Martin tells me that that C.company were not at Rorke’s Drift or Isandhwana.
However those of you with MKI and IIs might want to compare the rack numbers on your rifles with this list. No doubt rack numbers were repeated many times throughout the British army but a match will be of tantalising interest.
My thanks to Martin.

Regtt Rank & Names Religion No of
No Rifle

1477 QMS Gormley M RC
2371 ORC Burrows W CE
847 CSgt Taylor W CE 821
2117 Sgt Daly E RC 9
1518 “ Hicks G CE 10
2409 “ Roper C CE 11
2089 “ Rouston W CE 29
1841 LSgt Supple W RC 770
2452 Cpl Bassage J CE 175
981 “ Donoghue I RC 564
1068 “ Mitchin W CE 711
937 “ Smithers W 515
638 Dmr Healey T RC
1939 ” Sweeney W RC
958 LCpl Adams E CE 209
1194 Pte Anderson P CE 713
2387 Bailey G CE 11
145 Pte BananH CE 313
1398 “ Barton I CE 55
925 “ Bell G P 563
474 “ Benford C CE
1693 “ Berry J CE 834
1468 “ Blakemore A CE 205
69 “ BoydT P 278
57 “ Bradley A RC 114
1264 “ Brady J RC 716
2546 “ Brice H CE 241
1194/9 ? “ Butler F CE
738 “ Campion J RC 434
1343 “ Cannon R CE 146
752 “ Carlton E CE 207
1265 “ Clarke J CE 721
1361 “ Clements W CE 200
2111 “ Conboy E CE 206
1965 Pte Connell I RC 402
2384 “ Cope F CE 204
573 “ Crundell W H CE 289
1555 “ Davis J RC 132
1069 “ Davis T CE 213
833 “ Davis W CE 155
1385 “ Davis W CE 211
1200 “ Davenport J CE
2352 “ Delahunty P CE 183
1517 “ DelaneyG CE 194
2128 “ Duffey T RC 186
40 “ Edwards T CE 166
2129 “ Farrell J RC 190
1982 “ Finlayson J P 250
1675 “ Fitzgerald J RC 20
1196 “ Gibbons W RC 714
1703 “ Goulding P RC 163
864 Pte Grey P P 11
977 “ Harrington J RC 566
1424 “ Harrison W? RC 192
1447 “ Hayes R CE 184
2496 “ Holmes G CE 195
1640 “ Horrigan J RC
1633 “ Houseman T CE 196
896 “ Hulse J CE
1354 “ Hynes J RC l91
1244 “ Ife J CE 718
1353 “ James D W 188
322 “ Jenkinson W W 340
928 “ Jones A CE 560
1746 “ Jones A CE 499
1253 “ Jones C W 674
1672 “ Jones P CE 663
1426 “ Jordan W RC 567
832 Pte Kelly A RC 174
1764 “ Kenny T RC 378
980 “ Landrey L RC 568
1434 “ Lane J RC 292
391 “ Langridge G CE 408
1425 “ Lawton J RC 193
1773 “ Lea J E CE 523
985 “ Leon E CE 570
1499 “ Lewis H CE 210
984 “ Lloyd J CE 573
2394 “ Lyons M RC 170
1129 “ Mahoney J CE 60
1145 “ McDonald W RC 22
83 “ McGowan L RC 165
1198 “ McNally J RC 168
1523 “ McWhinny A RC 237
1327 “ Maggs CH CE 214
1071 Pte Mead R RC 706
1613 “ Mellsop J A CE 524
986 “ Moore W CE 12
1606 “ Morgan H CE 70
1493 “ Morgan J CE
1515 “ Morgan J CE 160
1222 “ Mullens T? RC 34
661 “ Mullens W RC
1498 “ Murray E RC 167
706 “ Mussen R CE 179
2079 “ O’Brien M RC 288
2018 “ O’Dea P RC 291
4072 “ O’Donoghue L RC 719
1263 “ Parker W CE 712
1399 “ Parry S CE 709
1552 “ Pender J RC 99
32 “ Perks G CE 136
1509 Pte Petters W CE 31
1269 “ Pitts W CE 169
1455 “ Power J RC 74
2055 “ Reeves J CE
924 “ Rosser D RC 720
1401 “ Rowden W CE 562
709 “ Ruffles W CE 60
2029 “ Rajan T RC 190
429 “ Sally P RC
1267 “ Sharpe M W 722
1329 “ Small W CE 177
1359 “ Smart J CE 171
1195 “ Smythe R CE 180
486 “ Steventon W CE 182
4 “ Tarrants H CE 113
820 “ Thompson W CE 77
1491 “ Thornton T CE 162
523 “ Tomkins W CE 44
1792 Pte Toomey T RC 172
1356 “ Trotter J CE 565
15 “ Vernon F CE 100
1351 “ Wearn W CE 164
1669 “ Wells H CE 13
979 “ Williams H P CE 561
1070 “ Worgan H CE 173



28th September 2003Adrian Whiting
David,

The BSA company were contracted to supply both MkI 2nd pattern and MkI 3rd pattern MH rifles, (MkIs were made only made by RSAF Enfield, BSA and LSA).

The "class" marking - "2" - was most likely applied at a later refurbishment, which is what the roundel on the butt is likely to indicate. The "DP" - drill purpose - marking is then most likely contemporary with the application of the class marking, although not all second class arms were automatically relegated to drill purposes. Second Class arms were also available for Militia service.

It is possible that the Class marking was applied when the rifle was converted from MkI to MkII, but unlikely. The conversion was regarded more as an upgrade, and would have been a potential waste of parts if the resultant arm was second class.

However the butt roundel, as a refurbishment marking, also means that the rifle was a service arm for some while prior to refurbishment.

Battalion ownership markings were stamped into the right hand side of the butt, and are usually worn away. Rack numbers were meant to run sequentially from "1" for each battalion, so the same rack number could appear in each battalion. The list above seems a good example of how the system in practice didn't mean that numbers would then be sequential in any one company, nor would the rack number accord with the soldiers' own service number.

Since you describe the "24" as overlaying the "DP" I would think it an unofficial addition. As a safety related marking "DP" would not be likely to be overstamped by an Inspector of Arms.

Bill is absolutely right in advocating that weapons of this description are not fired without considerable examination by a suitably qualified gunsmith first. At the very least I would expect the rifle to need reproofing - something we have to contend with in the Diehards from time to time.

Many DP arms were saw cut across the barrel, and I have seen some with the cut refilled - again potentially very dangerous if fired.

In the UK, even firing a blank charge would mean that the firer would need to comply with firearms legislation in respect of firearms certification.

I hope this helps,

Adrian
30th September 2003David Glynne Fox
Hi Adrian,
Thank you for the information. This answers a few questions. It is nice to know that it was a service arm prior to refurbishment. I haven'y yet field stripped it to check for saw cuts etc, but intend to shortly. Many thanks again to all who have helped in this fascinating little study. I have learnt a lot thanks to you all.
Regards
David
28th October 2003William Morrill
Be carefull with the forearm - it's fragile. I just got a Mark II (ex-Nepalese) from IMA last week, and when I stripped it the plug-like bit of the forearm was stuck in the recess in the front of the receiver. A piece of said plug-like bit broke off when I became over-enthusiastic. Glued back in nicely, though.

Anybody know where I can find a good Mark II forearm, by the way? Mine has a chunk of wood gone on the left side of the Knoxform.
25th March 2005Hal Conick
I'am seeking a zulu war period mark 2 to purchase, any advise on a seller and fair price? Should I buy a bayonet along with the rife?
thanks
Hal
25th March 2005Barry Taylor
I have a very similar weapon to the one described above. It's a converted Mk 1 with a second class stamp and DP markings. According to the brass roundel it was last issued to the South Staffs. This too saw action in the film Zulu as I purchased it directly from Bapty, the armourers for the film. They still have a quantity, both decommissioned and fully working, that they are selling to individuals (not dealers) at reasonable prices. They also have bayonets and other bits and pieces available.

Cheers

Barry
26th March 2005Alan Critchley
Hal,
have you tried this site?

http://www.rorkesdriftvc.com/marketplace.php