Ammunition Identification

maninblack

LE
Book Reviewer
#1
Going through a bag of pointless crap recovered over the years I found the ammunition shown in this picture. The rounds are bigger than .303 but significantly smaller than .50, they date from WW1 or just before and were found by the hundred scattered inside a wreck from 1917. For sizing purposes I have photographed them next to a 20mm case.

The point that I found very interesting is that they are almost shoulderless. On the bottom they are marked "R L" with the crow's foot/arrow between the two letters.

Has anyone got a clue what calibre they are, what weapon they were for?
 

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Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#2
martini henri or fusil gras maybe - 19th century tech,
 
#4
According to my ancient and handwritten list of headstamp codes R(crowsfoot)L stood for Royal Laboratories if thats any help. I haven't got a clue about the intended weapon though, sorry
31A
 

maninblack

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
I don't have a set of callipers here but I measured with a decent metal ruler and got a width of 12mm or 7/16ths of an inch.

The total length of the cartridge and head is 85mm 3 and 3/8th of an inch
 
#7
Best guess without the measurements- 11.43 x55R Turkish also known as .45 Turkish Peabody-Martini cartridge.
 
#11
According to my ancient and handwritten list of headstamp codes R(crowsfoot)L stood for Royal Laboratories if thats any help. I haven't got a clue about the intended weapon though, sorry
31A
With it being military ammunition try looking for basestamps.

The Royal Laboratory is Woolwich.
 

maninblack

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
It was HMS Sapper, a WW1 armed trawler lost off The Owers near Selsey in unknown circumstances. Looking at the damage amidships she could have hit a large mine but more probably been torpedoed. The bows and stern are intact, the mid area is shredded except for the hull frames.
 
#16
Is it possible to find it's port of embarkation and it's final destination?
 

maninblack

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
She was based in Portsmouth and did convoy escort over a wide area from Wexford to France.

HMS Sapper, trawler - British warships of World War 1

I know the RN were issued second line weapons from old stock so Martini Henry would make sense. A heavier calibre could have been used for shooting mines.

When I found the ammunition someone said it looked Turkish and I remember seeing similar ammunition in Gallipoli in the mid 80s when I was there.

It is certainly of British manufacture as it has the crow's foot mark.
 
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