Rifles used by ANZAC troops at Gallipoli

A 1914/15 issue No1 Mk3. I want something just like what my great grandfather would have had in his hands on the morning of the 25th, not just something “representative”.

I hate to be that guy who corrects people and I really am not trying to be annoying but the ANZACs who landed at Gallipoli didn’t have SMLEs. Almost none made it to Australian troops by that time as British troops were being prioritised.

Your great grandfather would have been carrying a MLE (Long Tom) on the 25th and then been issued a SMLE at a later date, if at all. A lot of Australian troops used Long Toms until they were deployed to the Western Front. That’s how my 1916 BSA made it into Australian hands.

Hi @Nomis, I knew he wouldn’t have had a Lithgow, but almost certainly a BSA built rifle. He was part of the initial covering force in the 10th battalion 3rd brigade, and was amongst the very first on the beach. Thats the first time I’ve heard that he wouldn’t have had a No1 Mk3 in his hands until he got to France?

@Nomis. Somehow I can’t imagine there would be burnt SMLE rifles in the ANZAC ordinance depot if they weren’t being issued to ANZACs?

Just looking at pics online from the day of the landings and I can only make out no.1’s.

I may be mistaken but I was taught at uni that the SMLE largely started to get into Australian hands during the Gallipoli campaign but was largely absent at the beginning of it.

I’ll have to do some research. I apologise if I was incorrect.

There were quite a few of the SMLE Mk I and II rifles at Gallipoli from what I gather - Lawrence of Arabia’s rifle is an SMLE Mk II that was a battlefield pick-up which made its way to one of the Arab leaders who respected Lawrence and presented it to him as a gift in 1916. Lawrence makes reference in his biography to there being a lot of these old “relics of the Gallipoli campaign” floating around the Arab world at the time, with the clear implication they were older/obsolete rifles, not the current-issue Mk III.

I like being wrong, because it means I have learnt something…

Keep in mind that just because something was described as a “a relic of the Gallipolli campaign” does not automatically imply that the comment definitively refers to earlier models than the No1 mk3. The Ottoman empire wouldn’t have been issuing these rifles to their troops, such that any rifles that were picked up from the battlefields after we left could be considered “relics” irrespective of model.

Recovery of a rifle from the peninsula that was an earlier model than a No1 Mk3 also doesn’t automatically imply that it was issued to ANZAC’s. We weren’t the only ones there…

I just happen to be working at Adelaide uni today, and dropped into the library where they have an extensive collection of books on the Gallipolli campaign. Plenty of photos of ANZACs with No1 Mk3 from day 1…

I have a 1916 Lithgow No1Mk3 but no idea of its wartime use. I assume it was used in both wars. I got it from the deceased estate of one of the members in our Rifle club. In the butt of the rifle is the piece of paper from the government sale to him and the conditions.


Ok, looks like I stand corrected. I may have been getting confused between No1s and Lithgow No1s.

As you said, at least I’ve learnt something.