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Just received a 1942 dated leather 1907 bayonet frog made in South Africa and it got me to thinking.


Seems the British Empire had weapons producing facilities in just about all of its colonial holdings. But what about South Africa or Kenya? Why did they not establish any in Africa?

Were there any attempts to?
 

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Weren’t the only pre WWII production facilities outside of England at Ishapore and Lithgow?
 

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Ian Skennerton has a list of Indian and Sub-Continent Manufacturers in The Broad Arrow, Mk2, pgs. 64/65.
Not small arms, but the East India Company had many Arsenals and Manufactories for Ordnance and Gunpowder, some of which continued in use following the Mutiny.
There is a book on the subject by Brig. H A Young, who was Director of Ordnance Factories, 1917 - 1920.
 

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Generally speaking:

South Africa did have some manufacturing capability, but they produced rather little & quality was rough. Their bayonets & web equipment are on the crude side of things.

Hopefully one of our South African members can chime in & elaborate.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Generally speaking:

South Africa did have some manufacturing capability, but they produced rather little & quality was rough. Their bayonets & web equipment are on the crude side of things.

Hopefully one of our South African members can chime in & elaborate.

I just received a 1942 dated leather frog for the 07 bayonet made by Frasier & Son, Cape Town . Were these frogs only used in South Africa?

Did South Africa produce the 07 bayonet?
 

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Yes. South Africa produced their own versions of the 1907. They also produced their own Pattern 13's. A little more rough, and a slightly shorter blade. Only ever had one in hand and it was 50 miles of bad road dragged rough. I should have paid the $35 but it was BAD. Changed my mind in less than a minute but the next guy pounced as soon as I walked away.
Until recently 'Old Smithy' had been the only one to display them online.
Then more recently someone else (forgot who at the moment) showed off a nice looking pair. One was AECO and the other was SAR if memory serves.
 

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^^^^ I think @Terrylee has those.
3783525


3783526


3783527


South African WW II Production.
1) Bayonets: Pat. 1888 by South African Railways, Pat. 1907s by SAR and Associated Engineers Company, Pat 1913 by AECo.
2) Typical scabbard markings by SAR
3) South African conversion of Long Lee into SMLE configuration: The "No. 1 Converted". 4250 produced and primarily used as training rifles.
Much else produced including spares, light artillery and even armoured cars.
 

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Excellent! Say his name three times and he appears!
Thank you Terry.
That's probably the part of your collection I'm the most envious of  :)

Who did the conversion on the rifle?
 

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The Ross Rifle factory was in Quebec City. Not sure if it counts though as it was commercial.
 

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The Ross Rifle factory was in Quebec City. Not sure if it counts though as it was commercial.
Excellent! Say his name three times and he appears!
Thank you Terry.
That's probably the part of your collection I'm the most envious of  :)

Who did the conversion on the rifle?
JB, The conversions were performed by the military. Where, the archival documents I've found do not state. Actually, the conversions were relatively simple. The barrels and forends were in stock and of British manufacture. So far as I can establish, South African parts were mainly the swivels and nose caps. South Africa did produce SMLE barrels, but by then the "No.1 Converted" conversions had ceased..
 

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Thanks again. Another favor to ask if you're able?
Regarding the nature and intent of the OP, was there ever an official ordnance facility in ZA while under the Crown? Or was the structure only military workshops and contracted private enterprise?
 

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Thanks again. Another favor to ask if you're able?
Regarding the nature and intent of the OP, was there ever an official ordnance facility in ZA while under the Crown? Or was the structure only military workshops and contracted private enterprise?
Depends upon what you consider as being "Under the Crown". As a general principle the government contracted production out to private concerns but it also made extensive use of government departments which had the necessary engineering facilities. The South African Railways is probably the prime example, where railway workshops in various cities were utilised. I did once come across a reference to what possibly sounded like a government factory. But, if so, it appears to have been small and short-lived.
 
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