Ian Skennerton and Brian Labudda. Australian SMLE variations: Factory production, parts identification lists, conversion notes, disassembly parts drawings bayonets and accessories.
This treatise, No 19 in the Small Arms Identification Series, is another windfall for collectors of Australian made Lee-Enfields, as it provides a rationale and much needed guide on the subject. The Lithgow Small Arms Factory has a proud record of serving Australia in two world wars and the Korean War and its story is briefly but ably told here. As well, its far from insignificant range of sporting rifle products is touched upon. However, the main theme of the book, are the SMLE variations and these are treated thoroughly. A collection of such items would be a desirable heritage entity in itself. Information on other items that never went into production, such as the RAAF pilot survival rifle in .22 rim fire make interesting reading, as do various other test rifles that were not proceeded with.
The many drawings and photographs are helpful in sorting out what was what and how it differed from standard British practice. Photographs of the Lithgow factory and photos of the feeder factories at Bathurst, Orange, Forbes and Wellington (NSW) are especially interesting. For collectors, the sections on serial numbers and markings (factory, annexe and inspection) will prove helpful in identifying and validating claims about a particular weapon. The section on bayonets and accessories features official drawings of the Owen Mk 1/1 bayonet (with 8 inch blade) as made from a Pattern 07 bayonet, and the parachutist machete bayonet.
In short then, this book is full of information, some of it surprising, that every serious collector of Australian SMLEs needs.
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|Date:||Sep 1, 2004|
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