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Here is my Deactivated WW1 Lewis Gun, this particular version was made for the Belgian Army, under contract from the Birmingham Small Arms Company (B.S.A.) in Birmingham, England. Although the Belgians did have a factory (Armes Automatiques Lewis Company at Liege) they did not make very many as most of Belgium was overrun by the Germans. The British could make 6 Lewis guns for the time and cost of making a single Vickers Machine gun. B.S.A. produced a total of 145,397 Lewis guns during World War I. The sling is a modern reproduction as real slings are extremely hard to come by.  Original slings had the padding made from asbestos, so this one has a synthetic padded area that simulates the look. 

This weapon weighed in at 28 pounds and a fully loaded 47-round magazine was 4 pounds. Still a relatively light weapon compared to the static mounted machine guns like the U.S. made vickers (M1915) which weighed 42 pounds for the gun and another 56 pounds for the tripod. Maxim Machine guns weighed about 75 pounds as well. The big advantage of this weapon was its portability, it could be operated by a single soldier, and keep up with the infantry advances. These light machine guns were prized by the Germans who often would capture them and use them against the Allies. 

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7 minutes ago, kenny andrew said:

It is indeed 14-18, my Great Uncle was a Lewis gunner during WW1 and he used it to full effect, welcome to the forum  :thumbsup:

I have often longed to have had a relative to research who served during the Great War. What regiment did he serve in?

I am proud owner of a set of medals for a private in the Seaforths 1/6th, the diary's  and fascinating research undertaken has made him a kind of relative, very rewarding.

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It's great doing the research, I agree, you really feel that you know them, especially as I only knew one of my uncles, the other two passed away before I could meet them. My uncle Tom was in the Royal Scots Fusiliers,  he was in command of a Lewis gun section. I always feel I am banging on about him on the forum,  as he won the VC, but I think he deserves a mention again being a Lewis gunner.   

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His last visit to the UK in 1968 for the The VC and GC Association in London, along side the two other winners of the VC from Carluke, William Angus VC and Donald Cameron VC. This was the last time my mother saw him as he passed away the following year.    

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I always feel I am banging on about him on the forum,  as he won the VC, but I think he deserves a mention again being a Lewis gunner.   

 

An incredible story and thank-you for sharing, would be amazing to see his V.C, do you know of its whereabouts and have you attempted to trace it? 

That is something to be very proud of and i would certainly keep banging on about it, continually  !

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Thanks Guys, Yes he was a very brave man, his medals are displayed at the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum in Glasgow. My Aunt and my Grandmother presented the medals to the City of Glasgow in 1972. The Lord Provost of Glasgow had lunch with them and it was a very special day. Here is a picture of his medals from Museum, the V.C. here is a copy as they keep the original in the safe. Here is also a  painting of my Uncle with his Lewis gun by the artist Duncan Brown, he was kind enough to visit us in the shop when he heard I was one of the few relatives still living in Scotland. He has painted all 14 winners of the V.C. from Lanarkshire. Apparently there are more V.C.'s in Lanarkshire per square mile than anywhere else in the world, as Duncan said, there must be something in the water.   

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Medal entitlement of:
Company Sergeant Major Thomas CALDWELL
12th Bn, Royal Scots Fusiliers
Victoria Cross
1914 - 15 Star
British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )
King George VI Coronation Medal ( 1937 )
Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal ( 1953 )

(Picture - Thomas Stewart)

Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum
518 Sauchiehall Street
Glasgow
G2 3LW

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  • 4 months later...

Here are what as known as "Lewis Buckets" they are cloth carriers for the Lewis magazines introduced in 1915. These carriers held 4 magazines and weighed in at 36 pounds. They are extremely rare today. 

(photo source, internet)

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This is the metal transit chest used for the above mentioned magazine carriers. These are still fairly common, I see a lot of these for sale by UK vendors. Although finding ones with the leather handles intact is getting hard. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Found these images online, first is of the Lewis gun on the Vickers tripod, which most likely made is a much more stable firing platform. Second picture is the more common application, front line use. Note the lack of the carrying handle. You can make out the bipod ring on the barrel. The soldier holding the weapon is most likely not the shooter as he is wearing rifle ammunition pouches. Most likely he is posing with the gun. 

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  • 2 months later...

The Lewis gun did see action in the second war as well. Here are a pair of Finish troops with versions of the Lewis guns, weapons such as these and others like the BAR and Chauchat made their way to aid the Finns in the war against the Communists. 

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  • 1 month later...

Stunning absolutely stunning.  Top of my wish list. Made in my city Birmingham England. Here's a really nice copy of the BSA factory produced manual Circa 1915 that I have in my collection.

 

 

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I also have these. Both Savage Arms factory manuals. Both Circa 1915/18.

 

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  • 2 months later...

Another interesting image of the Lewis gun, this time with US forces in Siberia. The 31st and 27th Infantry Regiments were there from 1918-1920 along with several other nations. 

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The Lewis gun also achieved notoriety in Hollywood as well. In the scene below you can clearly see it, although it was attempted to disguise the weapon by adding bits of kit to hide its appearance, but it is quite recognizable. As is the MG34 and Sterling SMG behind it.

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That's a really good spot. I've always been aware of Han Solo's Mauser & the Sterling's but I've never clocked the Lewis or MG34 (42 53 ?) but it's obvious what they are. Also worthy of note is the main bodies of the Imperial Walkers (ATATs) were actually made from Sturmpanzerwagen model kits.

 

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Here is a nice image of USMC troops working on a Lewis gun blindfolded.  The soldiers are wearing the Pattern 1917 tunic, which has 4 pockets, 2 on the breast and 2 lower ones, the previous model the  P1912 only had 2 breast pockets. Note, the soldiers seem to be wearing a variety of waist belts, some cloth, some leather. Most USMC troops wore army uniforms while in action in France, so this may be a stateside training site.

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