A Registered

Charity No. 277168

The Infantry and

Small Arms School Corps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FN MAG L7 (GPMG) -

" You gets just what you pays for..."

 

 

 

THE SUB-MACHINE GUN & LIGHT MACHINE GUN ROOM

 
 

 

Passing from the pistol room you enter the machine gun theatre.
As its name implies, this room contains the Infantry's magnificent collection of sub and light machine guns. Pride of place must be shared between the collections Sten and Bren guns.

 

We are indeed proud to hold in trust the first ever Sten gun, serial number T-40/1 indicating its originator, Harold Turpin, the year, 1940 and the serial number 1. This particular gun was actually made by Harold Turpin at the Philips Radio works at Perivale during December 1940/January 1941. There follows the complete series from the Singer Sewing Machines production Mk1 version to the last silenced Mk6. Also included is a prototype Mk4. It is a testimony to the mechanical acumen of Harold Turpin and Reginald Shepherd that the last Sten guns (the silenced Mk2S and 6) did not leave British Army service until 1972. So much for the old chestnut that 'they were rubbish!'

 

Also on show is the complete series of Patchett/Sterling sub-machine guns from the earliest prototype to the last military L34 silenced gun. Staying with sub-machine guns sees what is believed to be the first Thompson gun, purchased from the USA for £45, up-front, in gold (as our currency was virtually worthless in 1940). This Thompson gun was used by the Small Arms School to evaluate the training programme for the remaining 299,999 that had been ordered. Alas, of the 299,999 ordered, some 200,000 still lay at the bottom of the Atlantic. Also on display is one of the earliest Colt made guns. Such is the scarcity of these very earliest models that this gun is recorded at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington as of being of 'National Historic Interest'. This claim to fame has also been bestowed on the Reising SMG serial number 25 and .30inch calibre M1 carbine serial number 11.

 

But of national historic interest closer to home is the weapon collections magnificent Bren guns. Without doubt, the most famous gun ever to grace the ranks of the British Army and equally without doubt, the longest serving weapon in the British Army from its introduction in August 1938 until it was finally withdrawn in February 2000. The weapon collection holds BRNO ZGB prototype guns number 5 and 12. As testimony to its rugged inbuilt reliability, ZGB Bren number 11 fired 100,000 (yes, just say that again in case it slipped off the tongue a little too glibly "...one hundred thousand rounds" before it was accepted. 1938 Enfield production gun number A-1054 is on display together with Inglis-Canada Bren M-1180. Also displayed is a war production Mk2, and a Mk3 lightweight Bren. Lastly we have an early 7.62mm Ex10 E1 gun alongside the last L4 Bren withdrawn from UK Military service.

 

Stens, Sterlings, Thompsons and Brens are not all that take pride of place. Elsewhere in the hall are representative light machine guns from elsewhere in the world including the US Browning automatic rifles and the big M60. Another firm favourite is that big, bold and beefy FN MAG L7, known to all as the GPMG. This gun has been described as 'like shopping in Marks and Spencers - because you get just what you pay for!' The L7 was the most expensive gun trialled to replace the trusty Vickers between 1959 and 1962. It's rugged simplicity has seen it outlive the Bren and with 45 years service under its belt, looks as though it could outlive the Vickers with its in-service time-span.

 

 

 

Part of SMG & LMG Room display

One section of the display.


(Select the images for an enlarged photograph)

 

Another part of the Room

Another section of the display.

 

A well known SMG

One of many foreign SMGs on display

A well known SMG

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