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  1. #1
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    Default Fritz's FF marked Enfield sticky

    How common or uncommon are these Fianna Fail rifles? The one on the trader is pretty nice and hasn't sold yet. Gosh people are getting $400 for pretty common rifles these days.
    1. Were they purchased or issued to the Irish Free State? When?
    2. Were they FTR'd prior to transfer or did the Irish renumber them?
    3. How many rifles were involved?
    Since there is zero in Skennerton about them, where is the history behind these guns? Regards, Rick.
    Last edited by limpetmine; 08-19-2013 at 09:07 AM.

  2. #2
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    Not terribly rare..."scarce-ish" might be apt. I'd bet Fritz has more precise numbers, at least on how many the Irish army started with.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  3. #3
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    Sakorick

    I assume you have read some of the old threads, which should have answered most of your questions. If you have more, let me know, there is additional information that has come to light over the last few years. By the bye, I post as Frederick303 over on the Military Surplus Collectors forum, some of the info is posted there.

  4. #4
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    Hello Fritz. I still found no answers to my basic questions. I understand you have some 80 of them in your data base. Are there any similarities? It looks like they are mostly BSA'a that I assume were reworked and issued between 1936 and 1938? Thanks for the work you have done one these. Perhaps you could summarize your findings and any conclusions you may have drawn. I was amazed that there is a SSA with the FF mark....pretty low odds I would say! Regards, Rick.

  5. #5
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    Satorick:

    I have published the findings before, you can do a detailed search of the forum, but here goes a rough answer to the three posted questions:

    1) The transfer. They were transferred to the Irish Free State between September of 1921 and July 1925. That of course excludes the quantities of SMLE rifles that the Irish had taken of the British RIC , occupation troops and smuggled into Ireland.

    2) They were re-marked by the British at Enfield lock. This occurred because at the time of the formation the Irish Free State was still supplying arms to the IRA in Northern Ireland and the MOD wanted to be able to trace any arm supplied to the Free State. That is why the script is larger then normal and of a different font.

    3) Because of t he fact the rifles sent were for the most part reworked rifles, SSA rifles are by no means uncommon in the Irish lot. Of the 103 MK III and MK III* rifles in my data base, 9 are SSA and two are NRF rifles.

    4) Quantities: the records are a wee bit sketchy on captured arms here but this is about as best as one can do:

    In the 1925 arms census that occurred after the Irish civil war, the total number of arms retained was something like 42,500. Of that something on the order of 9,800 were SMLE MKI*** rifles and the remainder were SMLE Mk III and MKIII# rifles. Of that quantity ~ 4,800 to under 6000 have the origional serial numbers, indicating these arms were smuggled in, captured or taken off of the British troops as they withdrew. The quantity of SMLE MK II and MK II* rifles supplied to the Irish free stare with new serial numbers are at least 27,500. Of the transferred arms about 300~400 are known to have been lost in the first battle of the civil war at the Dublin court, where they were burned.

  6. #6
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    A quick add on question here Fritz...I'd be interested to know how many of the rifles in your sample have both been renumbered, and have the FF mark. The FF mark as an Irish government property mark wouldn't have come into being before circa 1936 when DeValera's Fianna Fail party gained power. During the civil war they were the anti-treaty side, and thus not very likely to receive aid from the Brits. I've got a renumbered (ER) MkI***, and a renumbered (V prefix, IIRC) MkIII* in my collection. Neither have the FF stamp.

    Be interesting to find out if the FF marked rifles came into Irish service later than the civil war era military aid.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  7. #7
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    Thank you for your outstanding recap. If I come across any of these I will be sure to pass the data along. The letter prefix seems odd....how many were there? Regards, Rick.

  8. #8
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    I have the answers to that question, but it would take a wee bit of time to write up. If you are really interested I will write it up this weekend. Be aware that some of the answer I have is supposition, as I have not gone to the archives and tried to pry out the answer.

  9. #9
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    both questions

  10. #10
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    I'd be very interested in seeing what you have.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhead75 View Post
    I'd be very interested in seeing what you have.
    Me too! This is great stuff. Regards, Rick.

  12. #12
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    Mine has a 1927 dated barrel IIRC and what looks like an incomplete Enfield Lock stamp dated '45. Mine is FF marked under the handguard like the one on the trader.
    Damn the expense, use your turn signals today... and as a special favour, try doing it before you have two wheels in the next lane.

  13. #13
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    Fritz,
    if you are still interested in adding to your data base I have one to add. If memory serves mine has a 20's barrel with ff on Knox.
    Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Father Dougal McGuire View Post
    Fritz,
    if you are still interested in adding to your data base I have one to add. If memory serves mine has a 20's barrel with ff on Knox.
    Cheers
    I have one as well, a 1916 BSA.

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    Irish also received a big batch of SMLE's in c.1942 from Brits to repel possible Nazi landings. Once again, usual mix of manufacturers, all marked 'FF' marking on barrel shank or receiver ring. Believe the 'FF' dates to this time period.

    "Never retreat alone, shoot without an object or lay down your gun until the last extremity"
    Private James Collins at King's Mountain, 1780

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbarossa View Post
    Irish also received a big batch of SMLE's in c.1942 from Brits to repel possible Nazi landings. Once again, usual mix of manufacturers, all marked 'FF' marking on barrel shank or receiver ring. Believe the 'FF' dates to this time period.
    My feelings on the matter as well.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  17. #17
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    Gents, I would like all the data you can supply on your rifles.

    Feel free to post or to send me a private Email.

    To do the write up on a fairly complete SMLE Irish history between 1925 and 1987 will take a wee bit more time; it might be a few days before I put it all together in a readable form. Much of the conventional wisdom on this topic is flat out wrong.
    Barbarossa,

    After you told me about this 1941~42 lot, I did a research project and was able to get the official figures from the Irish Archives. The short answer is that England did not supply any complete SMLE rifles at all during the 1939 to 1945 though they promised 30,000 in 1940. Of that figure 20,000 were supplied in the form of US M1917 rifles in the fall of 1940. At that time England said they would supply a further 10,000 Lee Enfield rifles when supplies allowed. Of the remaining 10,000 no actual complete rifles were supplied in so far as the official records, but considerable stocks of spare parts were supplied to allow unserviceable rifles to be brought up to serviceable form in the winter of 1941. Specific items known to be supplied were:

    Forends (No 1 MK III, Beech and walnut, Enfield manufacture)
    Safeties
    Spare bolt bodies
    Spare bolt heads
    Firing springs
    Grenade launchers (cup type)
    Varied screw part numbers

    Now there might have been supplied a quantity of barreled actions to the Irish from re-barreled Enfield or BSA stock, but because of the way the Irish records were maintained this is not in any way clear. Why is might be will be clearer when I put of the rest of the data I have.

  18. #18
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    Fritz

    I think you might to on to something here. The British might very well supplied stripped SMLE barrelled actions as this was the way they were issued to their own armorers during WWII, for them to cannibalize parts from existing unserviceable rifles. This would account the large number of these Irish rifles I have examined with a mix of beech and walnut furniture. Shared common factors also include post WWI rebarrel dates (late 30's through 1942 approx.) and the 'FF' marking on the breech and no special 'Irish' serial number like the earlier rifles. 'FF' markings appear to be UNDER the blue and not stamped through an existing finish meaning the rifle already had the marking when reworked and were then reblued.

    Thanks for the info!

    "Never retreat alone, shoot without an object or lay down your gun until the last extremity"
    Private James Collins at King's Mountain, 1780

  19. #19
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    Not on to something, this is from the official records on items supplied to Ireland during the Emergency. The list is not complete as far as individual parts supplied, but it is very clear that no complete rifles were supplied after the 20,000 M1917 rifles.
    The complete write up is coming.

  20. #20
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    The Irish SMLE story, part 1, 1919 to 1925
    By Frederick R Salberta

    In order to give a detailed answer to the questions asked in this thread, one has to go back to just prior the start of the Irish civil war.

    The Free State army was organized on 16 January 1921, after the signing of the peace treaty. Independence was formally declared on 3 May 1921

    The first 100 SMLE MK III rifles were sent to Ireland provisional troops in early February of 1921. Shipments halted briefly in March due to IRA seizure of English supplied arms, to be resumed after April 16th. There was also the suspicion (subsequently verified) that Michael Collins was supplying IRA units in Northern Ireland with U.K. supplied arms to use against the RUC and Ulster “Specials”. The UK took a dim view of this. It was after this break that the supplied rifles have new unique serial numbers applied and the old serial numbers lined out. This work was all done, in so far as examination of rifles markings allow, at Enfield Lock.

    Between January 16 and June of 1922 England provided the Irish Free State with 11,900 rifles, 4200 revolvers and 79 machine guns.

    By June of 1922 the opposing IRA forces had only 6,780 rifles and a small number of machineguns, the remaining arms being made up of shotguns (between 3,000 and 6,000). Of the rifle, only a subset were Enfield rifles, a few Model 71 Mausers and many 98 Mausers being among the arms used by the IRA (as well as Mauser model 95 rifles, Gras and level rifles and pretty much anything that the IRA could smuggle in). A sizeable quantity of GEW 1898 rifles were imported into Waterford in March of 1922. It is likely that there were at 1500 to 2000 Gew 98 rifles based on that incident and arms brought in by returning soldiers from WWI. The source of ant-treaty IRA SMLE rifles were three fold, some were smuggled in between 1918 and 1922, about 3,000 were taken off of retreating British troops (which were told not to provoke any incident) or taken off of newly created free state forces that did not resist in Cork county. The last source was those rifles captured in fighting from either the RIC or the other British forces during the war of independence. The exact numbers of Enfields in the above figures of 6,780 is unknown, but it is likely on the order of 3,500~to just under 4,000 rifles.

    Up to September of 1922 England provided The Irish Free State (pro treaty IRA) with 27,400 rifles, 6,606 revolvers and 249 machine guns.

    By August of 1922 20,060 of the rifles were distributed to troops, the remainders were in stores. By the end of the 1922, most all stocks of rifles had been issued out. The Free State started asking for more rifles from the UK.

    In between the fall of 1922 and the end of 1923 some quantity of arms were turned over to the Free State so it could fight the IRA in the civil war. Numbers of rifles delivered unknown but a review of the pictures of Free state troops, published figures of rifles stocks and serial number studies indicate that about 10,000 SMLE MK I*** rifles were delivered at this time, along with a small stock of SMLE MK III rifles (or the SMLE rifles had been supplied after September of 1922 and before the spring of 1923). All had new serial numbers applied. The deliveries did include 9-18 pounders and limited stocks of shells, as well as numbers of Morris armoured cars. It is most likely that Enfield rifles were in these shipments in or around mid 1923, June of 1923 being the best guess, based on the various parliamentary commentaries that have come to light. It would seem after this event that no further rifles were supplied by Great Britain, as it was seen that the Irish Free State was going to be able to subdue the Anti-treaty faction.

    When the IRA went underground in 1924, they told their man to dump or stash their arms, as to be caught with arms by that time was a death sentence. Free State army captured many of the arms used by the IRA by 1925, by digging them up or searching building, tip-offs on the location, or torture to procure the location. Most were in poor condition. After the end of the Irish Civil war large quantities of captured arms were dumped in the Irish Sea. Documented arms were captured pistols and revolvers of non-standard pattern (not .455 cal). Though not documented, the lack of any sales records indicate Mauser rifles and other odd ball arms were destroyed at this time (other than a small numbers retained for various purposes). It would seem that the Irish Free State sought to only retain those arms that were SMLE pattern, though there were small stocks of CLLE and possibly Ross rifles retained.

    Of the 27,500 renumbered SMLE rifles supplied to the Irish army, approximately 500 were supplied to the IRA in exchange for unmarked rifles by in July 1922. Of these 500 rifles ~300 to 400 were destroyed in the siege of the Dublin court house. In addition a small number of unmarked SMLE rifles had been provided early in 1921, between 100 and 1000 rifles before the new serial numbers were applied.

    In 1925 the Irish Free State Army had 42,500 rifles on hand, of which only 8,000 were considered first line (serviceable). This number includes all of the rifles turned in or captured by the army in the civil war, many of which were not Lee Enfield pattern rifles. Also supposedly used were limited numbers of Ross Mk III rifles, (as it is known that at least 21 were captured by the IRA between 1919 and 1921) though no pictures exist or any surplus sales record.

    Given the known facts we can estimate the Irish Free states stock of arms in 1925, as follows:

    SMLE MK III/III* with new added serial numbers ~26,800 to 27,200
    SMLE MK III with existing serial numbers ~5,600 to 5,900
    SMLE MK I***, second line condition: ~9,800 to 9,900
    Ross rifles, RIC carbines, Mausers retained ~100 rifles
    Total stocks ~42,500

    Serial numbers: So now you are wondering, what about the newly applied serial numbers. What were they? Well here is the code, published for the first time:

    The new SMLE MK III serial numbers started with N1 , went to the N999, then to O1000 to O1999, then P2000 to P2999 and so on until you get to M25000. Now when they got to M25999, instead of using a new letter they just continued the series up to around M27500. The serial number sampled to date range from N17 to M27489, so there may be some numbers above that have not been found yet. That is the key to identifying an Irish SMLE MKIII or III* that was OFFICALLY supplied to the Irish free state by the British in 1921 to 1923 time frame. Not the FF stamp, which comes later. Some quantities of rifles, between 100 and most likely under 1000 were also supplied with the original serial numbers intact between February of 1921 and March of 1921.

    Now the code for the SMLE MK I***: There are 3 serial ranges, ER, CR and G. ER rifles are in original SMLE MK I*** shape (many ex navy rifles) CR rifles have had the MK I*** forend inletted for the MK III rear handguard, have a MK III rear sight on the existing MK I rear sight base and have a MK III or MK I modified to MK II shape rear handguard. G refers to rifles that were wire wrapped for grenade launching use. Here the official records do not exist for how many were sent out but it would seem based on the current research that ~10,000 or just short of that were sent over around June of 1923. That is by no means exact, but the best guess working with the data that does exist.

    The serial number ranges found to date in a sample size of 172 rifles is as follows:
    ER rifles, ER 1 to 9600
    CR rifles CR 1 to 4060
    G rifles G1 to G2185 (supposedly seen up to G 3000, no actual samples documented)

    Now an observant chap will note this adds up to more than 10,000 rifles. From taking the serial numbers and running them through a bit of statistical analysis, it would seem the serial numbers were run concurrent, rather than in sequence. That is the serial numbers started with 1 and run through 9600, with the CR and ER rifles being mixed in. It would seem the first 400 of the G rifles had only the G serial number applied, there was no lined out ER number as one finds post G538. So if this analysis is correct (and ultimately the larger the sample size gets the easier it will be to prove or disprove this hypothesis) the serial numbers run as follows:

    1-9600 ER and CR prefixes, no over lapping numbers (less one or two mistakes, none seen to date). The numbers seem to run in blocks, such as there are very few low number CR rifles under CR 478, where as there are a lot of ER numbers in this range. The same pattern seems to exist up to about serial number 4060, after which no CR serial numbers show up. The G numbers run from G1 (which was actually a NRF MK III* rifle) to G377 with the possibility of this number running as high as G 650. Between G652 and G2185 the rifles seem to have been reworked later as the ER numbers are canceled out and a new G number applied. Simply stated the data base of G marked rifles is only 28 in number, too few to allow a better estimation.

    The above is based on published sources and examination of rifles in the data base I have been building. As of today it includes over 1250 arms, with 1124 of them being Enfields. Of that figure, 103 are SMLE MK III, 172 are SMLE MK I*** and 82 are RIC carbines. Other than the theory about the SMLE MKI*** rifles serial number ranges and assignment everything above can be traced back to a written source and is not conjecture.

    If folks are interested I can also put down what occurred in the interwar period and the WWII to post war period, through the final disposition of rifles. The research is by no means complete so some of what would be written in this interval would be conjecture based on evidence collected to date.

  21. #21
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    Well done!
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  22. #22
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    Jrhead 75

    Thanks, you and many others here, including Barbarossa have helped me with this research over the past 3 to 4 years. You in particular were the first person to clue me in on post WWII SMLE barrels and started me down the path to figuring out that connection and where that work was done.
    Slight plug here, the more samples folks share with me data on their respective rifles the better the final published data will be.

  23. #23
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    This is good stuff and I know you have spent many hours on the project. Sound logic and empirical evidence....what more could anyone ask? Great job. You might want to add what details you are looking for in the reports....markings, cartouches and condition come to mind. Regards, Rick.

  24. #24
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    Re-posted from Lee Enfield Forum. Some other background for members who may want to learn more about rifles with this marking ...

    Member Ingstrt published in an old thread from 2009 (click here) a pic of his 1916 Enfield Mk III which has the Irish Free State marking (Fianna Fiel) marked on top of the knox form and receiver, as well as FB23 (Firth Brown steel batch number).



    Although not a SMLE, the FF marking also appeared on other rifles. If you check the MKL and with thanks to Advisory Panel members Lance and Wheaty, there's an entry in the England section complete with a 182 picture photo montage.

    No.3 MkI* (T) Rifle (BSA Scope) (click here)
    c/w matching Model 1918 (3x) Scope Serial #226763 (Mfg by B.S.A Guns)

    This is one of only 79 rifles converted by B.S.A Guns, contracted between July 27, 1935 and completed by Dec 9, 1938. The scope and rifle are "all matching" with "all correct" fonts and markings for collector comparisons.

    All those specimens noted from the B.S.A. contract have had the Irish Free State marking (Fianna Fiel) on the back of the left rear telescope mount, so it would appear that these sniper rifles were assembled for an Irish contract.

    Irish Free State marking (Fianna Fiel)


    (Click PIC to Enlarge)(Click PIC to Enlarge)


    Regards,
    Doug

  25. #25
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    At the Kamloops gun show in 2012, I bought this 1916 BSA No.1 Mk. III* and found the FF under the rear handguard. Here are some of the many pictures I took:





















    On that last one, that Firth Brown number is 53. I have more pics if needed.
    I picked this up for $250, and it included a Pattern 1907 bayonet. A steal of a deal. I hope this helps...

  26. #26
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    Thanks Steve, I already had your rifle in the data base. I think you sent me the data last year.

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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz View Post
    Thanks Steve, I already had your rifle in the data base. I think you sent me the data last year.
    Oops, etc.
    Ah well, it's always nice to look at Enfields.

  28. #28
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    Great research! I am looking forward to Part 2.

    Regards

    AlanD
    Sydney

  29. #29
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    Lets not forget that german submarine sunk off the Irish coast with 98 mausers they were going to supply to the IRA. It is said you can still see a bit of it sticking out of the water at low tide

  30. #30
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    Default SMLE Enfield Mk III* 1916 FF rifle

    Hello,

    I am Jason from Florida. While in Arizona, I purchased this Mk III* Enfield and have been learning more about it.

    Enfield 1916 with Serial number K 23963. That number matches on receiver/barrel, back of bolt handle, bayonet lug on nose cap as well as inside
    the forestock. I was wondering why I had such a completely matching rifle. I had read in another reference book by Charles Stratten, that Enfield factory rifles on had 4 digit serial numbers. So why in mine 5 digits. Now I know why!

    The rifle shoots very well and I have added a PH5a receiver sight to it.

    Since you seem to be keeping a database, please include my rifle.

    Thanks,
    Jason
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 100_2470.jpg   100_2479.jpg   100_2504.jpg   100_2500.jpg   100_2478.jpg   100_2501.jpg  

    100_2487.jpg   100_2483.jpg   100_2538.jpg   100_2536.jpg   100_2539.jpg  

  31. #31
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    Excellent thread, very interesting & great information Fritz your work is very much appreciated.

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    Default Fianna Fáil predates DeValera's political party of that name

    Quote Originally Posted by jrhead75 View Post
    A quick add on question here Fritz...I'd be interested to know how many of the rifles in your sample have both been renumbered, and have the FF mark. The FF mark as an Irish government property mark wouldn't have come into being before circa 1936 when DeValera's Fianna Fail party gained power. During the civil war they were the anti-treaty side, and thus not very likely to receive aid from the Brits. I've got a renumbered (ER) MkI***, and a renumbered (V prefix, IIRC) MkIII* in my collection. Neither have the FF stamp.

    Be interesting to find out if the FF marked rifles came into Irish service later than the civil war era military aid.

    The Fianna Fáil "FF" seal was used by Irish nationalist forces from at least 1913. A cap badge with "FF" superposed on an 8-pointed star, similar to the current one worn by all ranks in the Irish Arny, was worn during the 1916 Easter Rising and by some forces during the 1919-1921 War of Independence, and it was adopted by the Free State's National Army before the outbreak of the Civil War.

    I don't know when rifles were first stamped with the "FF" but at least some vehicles, such as the armored trucks used to move field guns, were painted with the elaborate "FF cap badge" emblem at the time of the assault on the Four Courts. During the amphibious assault on Cork an armored car with the "FF cap badge" insignia was landed to support the infantry.

  33. #33
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    Right...but which side used it during the civil war?
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  34. #34
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    A few folks have asked me about rarity. Here is the best information I can provide at this time, based on the various source material and survey information I have. If you have questions on any particular rifle variant, ask and I can go into the information in a bit more depth.

    As always, anyone with a rifle who would care to share the info with me would be a big help.


    Here is the data:

    Statistical analysis 1,149 Irish Enfield rifles in database

    Northern Irish Enfields
    Survey: Percentage totals

    UDF Martini Enfields 14/11,415 0.123 %

    UDF Lee Enfields 1/ 164 0.609 %

    RIC Snider-Enfield Carbines 1/14,968 0.00%

    RIC Martini-Henry Carbines 13/9889 0.1%

    RIC Lee Enfield Carbines 84/~4,700 1.79 %

    RUC/special B SMLE MK III 1/114 ????%
    RUC/Special B No 4 Mk II 1/??? ????%

    RUC Enforcer 21/21 100.0%

    Irish Free State Enfields

    MK I***
    ER rifles 101/9600 1.05 %
    ER, if overlapping 101/5850 1.73 %
    CR rifles 65/3750 1.73 %
    G only marked rifles 7/ 435 1.61 %
    G /ER marked rifles 28/1750 1.60 %
    29/2185 1.32 %

    ER/CR/G rifles MK I*** 173/4105 (sold) 4.21 %

    Irish SMLE rifles 106/31,169 0.340 %

    .22 AM prefix SMLE rifles 49/ 889 5.51 %
    49/ 990 4.94 %

    P14 (T) rifles 6(7) /112 5.36%

    No 4 PF Pre Irish 45/ 12,026 0.37 %
    45/ 3,250 1.38 %
    No 4 PF Irish contract 301/ 31,552 0.95 %
    No 4 UF-A sequence 332/ 21,114 1.57 %

    No 4 MK II rifles, total. 677/49,000 1.38%

    Relative rarity of each rifle:
    Most rare to most common (where an estimate can be made)


    1) RUC Enforcer rifles 21 (none or very few in US of A)

    2) P14 (T) 112

    3) .303 UDF Martini rifles 200 ~ 400 (Less than 1/4th in US)

    4) G marked SMLE MK I ~ 220 to 500, ~½ non sported, 1/3 wire wrapped

    5) AM marked .22 Cal SMLE ~889; 98% (or more) correct

    6) CR Marked SMLE MK I*** 1,450~1,575 rifles, ½ fully correct

    7) ER marked SMLE MK I*** 2,250~2,380 rifles, ½ fully correct

    8) RIC Carbines 2400~4950 carbines; 96 percent or more correct

    9) Irish Free State SMLE rifles ~31,500; 60% or more correct

    10 Irish Free State No 4 MK II ~49,000, 99 percent (or more) correct

    Break down:
    ~1,000 to 4,000 Pre-Irish serial series
    ~31,500 PF 309xxx to PF 340xxx
    ~14,500 to 17,000 UF 55 A152 to UF 55 A21266

    Notes:

    RIC Snider Enfield carbine: Only one found (with certainty) in study, it is known that 14,968 were returned to stores in 1899, final fate unknown.

    RIC Martini Henry Carbine: No estimate can be made on surviving RIC Martini Henry rifles, the best guess is that most were broken down and converted to .22 rifles in the 1906 to 1925 time period, or sent to Sudan in 1939 time frame

    M1917 rifles: while 19,692 were sold into the US of A, there is no known method of determining if any particular M1917 rifle went to Ireland without a Irish shamrock certificate

    UF55 A152~A21266: Not all rifles in this serial range came from Ireland; many sourced directly from the UK. No way of identifying a rifle sourced from Ireland.

  35. #35
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    Well the formating sucks, but hopefully the information is readable.

  36. #36
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    here's my two. One is all matching, the other all MM. Still, thye are stamped "FF". I'm half Irish with an Irish last name so I have to own these, BB
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails FF Rifles 004.JPG   FF Rifles 003.JPG   FF Rifles 002.JPG   FF Rifles 001.JPG  

  37. #37
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    Let me guess:

    The Q 5352 rifle is the mix master (did I get the serial number right?). It would also guess the barrel date to be 1938 and there is another FF in a circle located on the left side of the barrel reinforce.

    coudl you let me know what the barrel date is on the J22894?

  38. #38
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    Hmmm...now you have me wondering whether I ever gave you my RIC carbine data. I'll have to check the number when I get home.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  39. #39

  40. #40
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    Where is the barrel date?? BB
    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz View Post
    Let me guess:

    The Q 5352 rifle is the mix master (did I get the serial number right?). It would also guess the barrel date to be 1938 and there is another FF in a circle located on the left side of the barrel reinforce.

    coudl you let me know what the barrel date is on the J22894?

  41. #41
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    Barrel Date is '38 , BB
    Quote Originally Posted by GUNBB View Post
    Where is the barrel date?? BB

  42. #42
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    Here is my RIC Carbine , BB
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails RIC Carbine 001.JPG   RIC Carbine 002.JPG   RIC Carbine 003.JPG   RIC Carbine 004.JPG   RIC Carbine 005.JPG   RIC Carbine 006.JPG  


  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhead75 View Post
    Right...but which side used it during the civil war?

    During the Civil War the "FF" markings were used by the National Army, AKA the "Free State Army."

    While both the National Army and the anti-Treaty (Republican) IRA claimed the same name and heritage --- both referred to themselves as the Óglaigh na hÉireann for example --- there did not seem to be much use if any of the "FF" markings by the anti-Treaty IRA.

    Photos, such as the iconic picture of Michael Collins in uniform at Arthur Griffith's funeral, show he and the other National Army officers and other ranks wearing the "FF" cap badge. For example:

    http://multitext.ucc.ie/images/thumbnails/1975.jpg

    While the National Army attempted to field troops in a standard uniform --- albeit handicapped by the tremendous expansion in numbers that occurred during the Civil War --- the anti-Treaty IRA forces were rarely seen in uniforms. Even at the beginning of hostilities, as at the Four Courts and other fighting in Dublin, when the anti-Treaty IRA was still at least in theory part of the Irish Provisional Government's armed forces, photos of the fighting show them in civilian clothing with no obvious insignia. This was likely due both to the lack of an organized supply service, and also to the guerrilla nature of much of the fighting they engaged in.

  44. #44
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    Good stuff...thanks for posting it. But the original question still remains...when did the 'FF' start being used as an Irish government property mark on LE rifles? It doesn't show up on any of the rifles that I've seen that can be assumed as British military aid to the pro-treaty forces (the renumbered rifles), but seems to be restricted to the period between the FF (the political party)'s rise to power in the '30s to the beginning of the republic (has anyone seen an Irish No4 with it?). That's all strictly personal observation, any proof one way or the other would be great to see.
    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --- Samuel Adams

  45. #45
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    Great question, I too would like to know, Thanks, BB
    Quote Originally Posted by jrhead75 View Post
    Good stuff...thanks for posting it. But the original question still remains...when did the 'FF' start being used as an Irish government property mark on LE rifles? It doesn't show up on any of the rifles that I've seen that can be assumed as British military aid to the pro-treaty forces (the renumbered rifles), but seems to be restricted to the period between the FF (the political party)'s rise to power in the '30s to the beginning of the republic (has anyone seen an Irish No4 with it?). That's all strictly personal observation, any proof one way or the other would be great to see.

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