It is a widely held belief that Winchester and Remington arms were the ones on issue. Later, 1942 to 1943, this is quite correct. However, for those of us fascinated by the "early stages", ie. mid 1940 onwards, we were having a dreadful fight to get anything that fired. Little known is the fact that several police forces who had collected licensed rifles, pistols and revolvers from shooting clubs either hired fishing boats to dump them in deep water or, in the case of Leeds City police, rowing out to the middle of Roundhay Park lake and dumping them there ! Reason ? Handing arms out to these people without a Firearms Certificate ? Certainly not. So, the BEF returned to this country, 340,000 were brought back, 320,000 decided to leave their rifles and other arms behind plus of course, wheeled, tracked vehicles, artillery, stores and heavy small arms. On our own, under threat of invasion any minute by Germany who had marched accross europe un-opposed before coming here.
So what about .22" arms before America got into gear much later. I have a .22" BSA martini Mod.12 that belonged to a relative in the BRO. It was his before the war and used for target shooting. Its 29" barrel has been cut back to 19" and a true silencer threaded onto the muzzle (5/8"x22 TPI)foreward of a Thompson 1921 foresight and band. The silencer had the usual baffles and spacers but the rear and the front of the tube had rubber discs, not washers. These solid discs were pierced by the bullet to trap gas inside the tube. The rifle is scoped with a German sniper scope from a Gew 98 sniper rifle from the Great War. Lee Enfield sling swivels are fitted to the left of the stock and the forend. It retains a leather sling normal issue to the Home Guard. Rapid loader blocks left and right of the body and screwed to the rear of the body is a BSA aperture sight. The whole assembly is marked with broad arrows and government view marks and the butt has a brass butt marking disc. The whole is very well made I believe by Linsley Bros. of Leeds. They did much "contract" work during the war. He retained his rifle afterwards but because it was no longer able to compete in target use, it was retained by him as a collectors item. It is now unfortunately, deactivated but this allows the arm to be viewed by visitors to the BROM without legal complications.
I should be most interested to read anyone elses thoughts and comments about all BRO arms in these early and desperate times.
Hi Richard, Charlie Mason had a BSA Model 12 but it had no scope or muffler. BSA sleeved a mumber of Martini rifles and a Somerset patrol had one of these In his book "Britush Small Arms of World War Two" Ian Skennerton lists the War Office contracts for 22 rifles giving all the makes, numbers ordered and the suppliers. Bob