BSA Long Lee 1902 / VSM CLLE Conversion 1911
EY during WW1
To probably 99% of most people took at this photo it is just another pre 1916 No1 Mklll but looks don't tell the whole truth. The rifle started off as a very late production BSA Long Lee Mk1* .303 and was manufactured in 1902 , in fact it was the last year that BSA would ever manufactured any Long Lee Enfields.
In 1902 BSA like all British Small Arms factories it was tooling up for the New British Service rifle, the Short Magazine Lee Enfield was under way, the No1 Mk1.
This new British service rifle was due to go in production in mid 1903 so BSA was tooling up and all production of now 'dated' Long Lee was being run down and in late 1902 all production was ceased.
This rifle entered service in 1902 but was back again two years late in 1904 for work and then back again in 1905 for more work (date stamps on receiver 04 ,05 ).
By 1907 the New Short Magazine Lee Enfield No1 Mk1 that only a few years earlier had been the Long Lee's replacement was itself being replaced by the No1 Mklll.
It was decided in 1907 that all old Service rifle would be upgraded to the new Mklll spec and this upgrade program lasted about five years. There were the usual small arms companies that won the conversion work but also Vickers .
Vickers Son & Maxim was a very large machine gun company suppling belt feed machine guns to the British Army, but machine guns in the highest levels of the British Army were not taken seriously at all.
Vickers was granted a very small number of old Service rifles to convert to charger Loading and this rifle in 1911 was converted at Vickers Son & Maxim (VSM) to a charger loader.
Now it is very hard to prove that any Service rifle from either side actually saw the western Front, it is highy possible that any rifle made pre 1914 was on the western front but how can you prove it !
Unless that rifle was documented in some way , there is no way of proving it unless you have EY Stamped on the receiver in fact that is the only way. This rifle has EY Stamped on the receiver . For many years gun dealers would wipe off any EY ( Emergency Use Only) as if it was a cancer. This rifle was used by sentry's as the butt shows repairs to the butt. This is common as Sentry's would slam down the rifle when a officer approached them and stand to attention.
EY was stamped on rifles that were either shot-out or had a problem that the field armour could not readly repair this is not to say they were dangerous ( like a DP stamp is ). Sometimes rifle were collected from the battle field damaged but servicible and would be stamped EY.
EY stamped rifles were only used on the western Front never anywere else, this rifle was repaired and after ww1 had ended, was put into storage . In 1932 this rifle was rebarrel with a new barrel.
The trail go cold after 1932 and at sometime the rifle was sold out of service.
This rifle has common numbers, bolt, noise cap and rear sight. The barrel is in very good condition and has seen very little use, the bolt is smooth. The rifle does group well.
The wood is in Service condition but for a rifle in its 117 year not bad at all, we have never seen a VSM Marked Lee Enfield before and has real historic value.