MS4A

LANCHESTER SETS

The Lanchester sub-machine gun entered service with the Royal Navy in 1942, a direct copy of the German MP28/11 this expensive and popular weapon with a wooden stock remained in Naval service until 1972.

The CPO shown below wears number ten whites and the 1908 pattern Lanchester set which seems to have remained in use for longer in the Mediterranean Fleet, total rounds carried in magazines in pouches were 300.

The first Naval issue to commissioned officers of Army style white tropical helmets was in 1885 (with medium blue puggarees) replaced from 1906 by a standard white Wolseley with a thin line of navy blue showing above a white puggaree (hat band) the ratings sun helmet introduced in 1921 was of a pattern unique to the Royal Navy, C.P.O.s and P.O.s sported a pewter cap badge whilst jacks wore a normal ships tally, by 1940 C.P.O.s and P.O.s were wearing single pin brass badges that in a later two pronged version became beret badges (from 1945) and jacks wore a blue painted P.O. type badge in place of the tally, both types of tropical helmet were discarded by 1955.

The second C.P.O. wears the British Army 37 pattern khaki battledress, all Naval personnel so attired were deemed to be sailors dressed as soldiers and as such were not under the normal Naval dress regulations, they were permitted to wear any badges subject to the approval of their own commanding officers which explains the use of gold Naval badges on khaki BDs sometimes seen in wartime photographs (although Lord Mountbatten's office issued directives on where the badges of combined operations personnel should be placed) the 1937 pattern Lanchester set is worn and as can be seen the ammunition pouches were uncomfortably high, Royal Naval Beachmasters working ashore sometimes had their own rating equipped with a Lanchester assigned as a bodyguard, both round and tombstone shaped combined ops badges were seen together in the same Naval units.

Not worn here the WW2 economy version of the C.P.O. cap badge featured hollow leaves and a stitched crown whilst the Royal Canadian Naval version was pressed metal.

Some 10,000 Lanchesters entered Naval service from 1942 and were fitted to accept the 1907 pattern SMLE bayonet some of which were produced to a Naval contract in a darkened metal finish, the 9mm pistol bullet magazine loaded from the side allowing the Lanchester to be fired laying down.

The long ammunition pouches were each able to carry three 50 round magazines and came as a pair with the right hand pouch fitted with a pocket for a rarely used magazine re-loading tool, due to the large quantity of 08 webbing still in R.N. service the first production run of pouches manufactured in late 1941 were for the 1908 pattern webbing despite the fact that the Royal Navy had already switched to the 37 pattern webbing.

The standard 08 pattern belt, braces and bayonet frog made up the set.

From 1942 all of the ammunition pouches were made for the more modern 1937 pattern webbing, hastily made most examples show large crude black manufacturing guidelines, all the previous 08 pouches were returned and refitted for further use on the 37 pattern webbing, my 1941dated examples still had a row of stitches in place from an earlier 08 belt attachment.

The standard 37 pattern belt, braces and bayonet frog made up the set.

 

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