Malaya '48+: Photos & Weapon Analysis

Discussion in 'Malaya' started by Charley Fortnum, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Bought a small batch of photographs (for 99p). Sold as 'Gurkha officer's', but I have no special reason for believing that's true. All I have to go on in a inscription of 'Malaya 1948' on the group picture and a dedication of love from 'Bill' on one of the two single figure shots (same man? I'm erring towards 'not').

    My judgment says that the hat-badges in the third shot are Royal Signals (friends? relatives?), but I'd like a second opinion. Most of all, I'd like to confirm or deny that the last shot depicts Gurkhas and have a stab at the location (click to enlarge and do a kukri hunt with me--I see only two bayonets).

    My gut feeling is that the fancy edifice in the background of the second shot could be in Singapore--opinions?

    Scan_20180618 (6).jpg Scan_20180618 (3).jpg Scan_20180618 (5).jpg
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  2. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    On the declaration of the Emergency in June 1948, the following units were on hand.

    Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 23.51.17.png

    I'm going with one of the two battalions of the Malay Regiment, which conveniently puts that last picture in North Sub-District.

    Off to check the shape of their cap badges.
    ozzy16 and CL1 like this.
  3. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    Enfield 5s!!
  4. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Forgive my dimness, but is this remarkable in some way I haven't grasped? Or are you just hinting at their notoriety?

    That probably makes those Number 5 Bayonets being carried, correct?
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
  5. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    I just like them. I think they are one of the two best looking military rifles ever.
    The other one is the .30-40 Krag carbine. They both look like hunting rifles.


    Were No 5s ever used in Europe?
    CL1 likes this.
  6. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Dave55 likes this.
  7. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    From what I've read that might be an apt comparison; apparently they were somewhat overpowered for purpose with a brutal kick.
  8. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    You are right, Charley. Terrific muzzle flash too since the ammo wasn't designed for short barrels.
    Here's my No 5 that I got about 25 years ago. I'd love a Krag carbine but they are very rare and expensive

    Attached Files:

    • No 5.jpg
      No 5.jpg
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    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  9. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Very nice.

    As you have the real thing, what's your opinion on this controversy about the difficulty of keeping them sighted correctly?
  10. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    I have only fired it once so I can't really comment on it. The older I get the more I enjoy .22s for actual shooting :)
    I think it might be typical of light barreled rifles which tend to change their point of impact as the barrel heats up after repeated firing.
    The No 5 has groves cut into the receiver ring to save weight so that can't help. I know about them because that is one of the ways to spot an authentic No 5 from fakes. I took the hand guard off of mine before I bought it to check for them.

    So called featherweight barrels aren't an issue in big game rifles since hopefully they will only be fired once or twice before they cool down again.
    Charley Fortnum likes this.
  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi CF,

    Second photo is almost definitely Bombay. Many of my Chindit 1 soldiers had their photos taken outside the same building in November 1942. Check out this thread for hopefully confirmation:

    Going to Mumbai
  12. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    That's great--I'm not yet sure what that enables me to deduce, but it's another nudge.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  13. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    I'm convinced that's the same building--I can't find any points of discrepancy at all.

    Very well done, Steve.
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  14. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Thanks CF,

    As I said, it appears in many photos of my boys, Bombay was extremely popular with soldiers on leave in India, not least possibly because they knew thats where they might return home from.
  15. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    So given that there were not many rank and file knocking around Bombay after independence, that will be earlier than the Malaya 1948 photo. I'm thinking this man could be from one of the units that liberated Malaya and stayed on into the Emergency.
  16. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I would say that's right. The photo is almost certainly from the WW2 years in my opinion.
  17. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    This may be of interest (great channel from which I have learnt a lot):

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  18. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    Here's another nice image of The No.5 ("Jungle Carbine") in Malaya, 1950. I think it shows well how much length you've lost in human terms--it looks really rather delicate.

    Malaya 1950.jpg

    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
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  19. Charley Fortnum

    Charley Fortnum Dreaming of Red Eagles

    On the subject of rifles, there's an interesting report I've been looking at:

    WO 291/1729: Weapon analysis of patrols and ambushes (1953)

    It praises the M1/M2 as outstanding weapons, most often carried by the lead man in a patrol, but includes this telling section which might accurately be titled 'They Don't Get Back Up'

    Screen Shot 2018-10-14 at 20.31.20.png

    TTH likes this.
  20. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA

    I think the shotgun info above is a little misleading. I'm pretty sure the 140 ft. lbs is for a single 00 buckshot pellet, which is about the same as a .32 ACP pistol round, but there were about eight of them in each round. It does say "one SG shot" but it might have been helpful to also say "x 8"

    I like how it shows how powerful the .30 carbine was relative to 9mm.

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