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#1 Rohan

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 03:39 AM

I have had passed down to me a brass shell casing. It came from my Great Grandmother, whose eldest son, (Sgt) Thomas Henry Alexander of the Canterbury Regiment, NZ Expeditionary Force, was killed in Northern France in 1916, having earlier served at Gallipoli. I assume that the shell casing may have been brought back to NZ and passed on to the family.


The base has on the outer 'ring' "1917" - it also has " 26 12-17", the letters "FVO" and " 18 PR" with a roman "II" beneath it.. The letters "C F" appear to be stamped above the date (1917)


The inner ring has "S.H. & S" (which I take to be a reference to Samuel Heath and Sons), and also "4/27 LOT" with two arrows underneath. There are some other markings including "No 1" with "II" underneath and another small arrow.


I would be very grateful for any advice at all on this - it is highly valued (for family reasons) and I am sure that there is an interesting story behind it - knowing more about what it actually is would be interesting.

Thanks.

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#2 TonyE

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:51 AM

Unfortunately I cannot read all the detail in your picture, but from what you say I can tell you the folowing.

It is an 18 Pounder Mark II case, the standard round of the Royal Field Artillery, made as can be seen in 1917 and filled on 26 December 1917 (No Boxing Day holidays then). It has been filled once with a Full charge of Cordite (CF) but I do not know the manufacturer FVO. It may be Canadian, is there a stamp of a "C" with an arrow inside?

The primer (which you refer to as the inner ring) is the standard No.1 Mark II primer and made as you surmise by Samual Heath & Sons of Leopold Street, Birmingham. The "4/27" is odd, as I am sure the case has not been reloaded in 1927. Can you post a better picture of the primer please?

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#3 johnreed

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 11:46 AM

If you can rub some chalk over the base of the cartridge to infill the stampings it will make it easier ti identify. Also rephotograph the base and post. Image size 650 pixels.

John

#4 johnreed

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 03:24 PM

Tony
The 18 Pr was in service up to 1938 I believe, so it was quite feasible to have a primer manufactured an filled in 1927.

John

#5 TonyE

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 06:52 PM

I appreciate that John, but since the shell case supposedly came back to NZ in the Great War (according to the OP) I assume he was not a time traveller!

Also, since the case is 1917, if it was re-loaded in 1927 I would expect a second "F" on the filling stamp and also a new date of loading. Everything about the headstamp says it was only loaded once.

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#6 johnreed

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:06 PM

There could have been a missfire they carry 4 spare onh the limber just in case of that happening.

John

#7 Siege Gunner

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:32 PM

The family member was killed before the shell was made, so the case could potentially have been acquired by the family some considerable time after the War. Could it perhaps have been refilled with a saluting charge, fitted with a 1927-made primer, fired at a commemorative event of some kind and then given to the family?

Interesting to hear that the 18pdrs were retired in 1938, John. What became of them then? Given that the BEF came back from France without its artillery in 1940 and there was then a danger of invasion, they would presumably have been useful as a stopgap, at least for home defence.

#8 johnreed

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:33 PM

Hi Tony

New Zealand never saw the Mark 4 18-pr, but had to put up with the older Marks 1 and 2 until the early years of World War 2. NZEF Gunners will remember training on them until 1941. They had been fitted with pneumatic wheels for mechanical draught, but otherwise were identical to the guns their fathers had manned in World War 1

John

#9 johnreed

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 07:48 PM

Inn 1938 whenh the rearmament of nthy Field Force was decided upon nin 1936, there were in the hands of the Regular and Territorial Armies approximately a,400 18-pounders available for conversion. This gun gave a range of 11,00 nyards at an elevation 37.5 degrees.

John