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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 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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Edited by Gildwiller1918
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Wow ! - That is a thing of beauty. Envious, not in the slightest 😉

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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:

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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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Very nice! It is good that you are keeping that history alive. 

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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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An absolutely incredible piece of history & a wonderful story, really appreciate you sharing ! 

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