EmergencY use? EY or E.Y. Stamping


Folks especially those with an interest in Lee Enfields or more to the point anyone with access to the List of Changes or the Rifle Subcommitee minutes of the Small Arms review commitee may be able to answer precisely why some rifles were stamped EY or E.Y. on the barrel and Knox form and ayt what point this was approved, the criteria for downgrading and when the practise ceased to be done. I would also like to know if it was similar to a BLR/BER tag being attached to my SLR?
Answers on a postcard please. No seriously I am curious and also sure that the reasoning behind it will be documented somewhere!
Dont bother with Skennertons LES etc as I have those and Edward Yule is out as rifles not wire wrapped are thus marked!
EY seems to have started in about 1912; I suspect the Army had a big stock-take during the changeover from the No1 Mk1*** to the No1 MkIII (which entered volume production in 1907).

EY rifles from that period seem to have worn boltways as the only real criteria. Some EY rifles seem to be fine apart from worn or corded bores. Possibly, they had run down production of new Mk1 barrels, so this is what caused the rifles to be placed into reserve.

Many pre-WW1 EY rifles later became GF grenade rifles during the war, so its common th find "EY" overstamped with "GF" as well. Later, many of these rifles then were selected for "DP"! I have one poor old No1 Mk1*** which is EY/GF/DP and then smoothbored! Interestingly, this rifle, which is all-matching, appears to be perfectly within spec for a normal service rifle.

I think many perfectly good rifles were EY'd simply because they were old models.


Thanks 4(T) I knew a brown jacket would come up with some decent info, I need the likes of General Melchett a true spotter to read trough his LOC and see if there are any published criteria.
Blimey Ugs, not sure if I can spare the time to read through LOC's. :)

Give me a clue what sort of year and I'll do my best.

I have a deac SMLE stamped EY but also has the double WD arrows indicating it was "sold out of service". 1911 Mk III converted to III*. No GF or DP stamps on it though. Woodwork looks to have been replaced.

Incidently that actual rifle can be seen in the superb just piblished Dorling Kindersley book - "Soldier" in the WW1 section. ;) Some descriptions are slightly incorrect.


Go on you know you want to. I have heard it would be as 4(T) said sometime around 1912. Whether this is recorded then or later to tidy up I couldnt say!
Does anybody have any information about how this extended to other weapons?

I have a 1915 manufactured Vickers MG that has a EY plate on it and it is the only non-rifle I have seen with such a thing. I know they were sometimes labelled against overhead fire (the safety margins being too variable with worn weapons) but never seen this on the whole gun (only on the barrels).


My Sht Le Mk I *** (1905) has a burnished area just forward of the reciever top which I'm sure was stamped EY at some stage, there is also a repair (hole plugged) where a bolt went through the woodwork indicating that it was used as a grenade rifle at some stage in its life.
Yes I do shoot it; I purchased it at the Trafalgar Meeting seven years ago for £350, which I hasten to add was a lot of money for one in those days. It seemed the money because the dealer said it had a new South African barrel which is not quite true because whilst all the new barrels at that time were from South Africa I understand they all originated from BSA in Brum.
Anyway the new barrel was not quite what it seemed, a closer inspection a couple of years after I had bought it revealed that the barrel was originally the property of Fianna Fail!
And also had the original serial number struck through, no matter it shot well and I enjoyed using it in the ATSC smellie meetings which seem to be in abayance these days.
The cynic in me says that it was tarted up to sell, I would rather have had the EY left on the front of the reciever (if indeed that is what the burnished area is hiding) to show the full history of a rifle made 102 years ago.

I have now fitted a Parker plus 5 sight to it which folds neatly out of the way alongside the reciever and now shoot SR"b" with it in the HBSA "Ommundsen" match and also LERA's "Major Reynolds" match.
This poor old thing is EY'd/GF'd/ DP'd/ Ishy'd and smoothbored.

Funnily enough, it is all-matching (inc sight, barrel, woodwork, etc) and has very tight headspace on what is presumably its original bolthead (albeit lost its sliding charger bridge).

Someone took off the wire wrap a very long time ago, as the scarring on the wood has almost faded away altogether. It evidently had been used as someone's target rifle, as it had a target swivel and an extended rear triggerguard screw that would have been there for a PH5A.

Just goes to show that "EY" rifles were not necessarily junkers.



So was it smoothbored or worn out? I have seen a couple at auctions that defied accurate description.
During the Malaya conflict the No1 Mk111* with Grenade cup was issued as there was no launcher attachment for the No.5 rifle or even the No4 at the time. Launching the 36 grenade. This is from a regimental history. Whether or not they were wire wrapped I suppose we could find out but if this was roughly the last time then 50 years is plenty of time for the wire wraps to fade though I suspect the mk1 in the picture went out of service by 1945 at the latest, 1918 at the earliest.


Below is allegedly an instruction to Armourers frm the 1943 LoCs.

So it definetly was recorded as to usage, just need to find recorded criteria and when it started if recorded at all!

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