1966; arms drill

Published in Issue 3 (May/June 2015), Letters, Volume 23

Sir,—In the course of last issue’s Platform piece (‘Who fears to speak of 1916?’, HI 23.2, March/April 2015) Brian Hanley mentions the 50th anniversary in 1966. Things were not quite as peaceful as they seemed to the general public then. I was privileged to march in the Easter Sunday parade in Dublin as acting adjutant of the 7th Bn. FCA.

All NCOs carried Gustaf sub-machine-guns, as was usual. What was unusual was that the magazines were loaded. This was because it was feared that the marching troops might be attacked by some lunatic republican group, such as that which blew up Nelson’s Pillar a month earlier.

On another military note, the back cover has an advert promoting the Irish National Library’s exhibition ‘WWI Ireland’. It has a picture of a British soldier in WWI uniform with arms at the slope. I presume it is from a recruiting poster of the time. Whoever the artist was, he evidently knew little or nothing about the short magazine Mk III Lee Enfield rifle, which was the standard infantry weapon of the British Army in those days, or arms drill either. The rifle is shown the wrong way round, with the sling, magazine and trigger mechanism facing to the right instead of to the left. Furthermore, the bolt is incorrect, as the knob and lever should be on the right and not the left of the weapon.—Yours etc.,

South Africa


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