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Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk. III* SMLE Bolt Action Rifle

Date: c 1918
Overall: 175 x 1130 x 210 mm, 0.15 kg
Medium: Australian coachwood, brass, steel
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Russell Hamer
Object Name: Rifle
Object No: 00018323
Place Manufactured:Lithgow

User Terms

    This is a Short Magazine Lee Enfield Mk. III* SMLE bolt action rifle, a wartime variant of the widely used Lee Enfield bolt action rifle. It was produced in 1918 at the Lithgow Small Arms Factory, NSW. In the 1950s this rifle was used by R E Hamer, a member of the Royal Australian Navy Rifle Club. After his discharge, he purchased it from the Navy.
    SignificanceThis rifle is one of many examples produced at the Lithgow Small Arms Factory, the Commonwealth's first major arms manufacturing facility. Its continued use by Australia's naval forces is testament to the longevity of these firearms.
    HistoryWith the foundation of the Commonwealth in 1901, Australian military and naval forces were centralised. Shortly after Federation, attention turned to the local production of firearms. In 1908, Lithgow was selected as the site for an Australian firearms factory. This decision was confirmed during Lord Kitchener's visit the following year. Production began at Lithgow in 1912. By March 1914 production was 'in full swing', and by the end of the war 1,600 rifles were being produced each week. Many rifles were sent to Europe for British and French use. The Mark III* was a wartime model, which differed from the standard Mark III rifle, lacking long range sights, and various other minor features.

    Between the wars, Lithgow produced a range of domestic goods, and civilian rifles, before returning to wartime production in 1939.

    This rifle was owned by Russell E Hamer, who served in the Royal Navy from 1947 to 1955, the last three years on loan to the Royal Australian Navy. Hamer was a leading air mechanic (airframes) and served in the RAN aircraft carrier HMAS MELBOURNE. Hamer belonged to the HMAS NIRIMBA Rifle Club, which he joined in 1954, and was a member of the Naval Rifle Team.

    Additional Titles

    Primary title: .303 LEE ENFIELD RIFLE

    Web title: Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk. III* SMLE Bolt Action Rifle

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