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Markings

Serial Numbers

The serial number of a gun was allocated by the manufacturer to individually identify the gun so that a record could be kept of it throughout its life and service. Generally the number is stamped or inscribed on the top of the water jacket (or cooling jacket in the case of aircraft guns). Other places noticed on some examples are on the base of the cross-piece, the bottom slide, the top cover (front and back) and the mounting blocks.

Serial number shown on top of waterjacket. H 5529.

Serial number shown on base of cross-piece. L 677.

Serial number shown on feedblock. K 878.

Serial number shown on feedblock 8304.

The two serial numbers which are marked as being on feedblocks, were in fact on the same feedblock which indicates that the feedblock was first part of the 'K' series guns but when mass re-furbishment of guns took place, it was reallocated to a gun with serial number '8304' which would indicate it was an Australian-manufactured gun.

In order to identify the approximate period of the manufacture of a gun, it is possible to use the serial number prefix (i.e. the letter). This may also give an indication of the location of manufacture - although some other information is needed to provide certainty. The following table will be of use.
Serial Number prefixes
Prefix Type Period Location Built
A Mk. I 1916 - 1918 Vickers Armstrongs Erith, Kent, UK
Mk. II 1918 - 1919 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
Mk. V 1935 - 1941 Small Arms Factory, Lithgow, Australia
M1918 1917 - 1918 Colt PFA Mfg Co, Hartford, Conneticut, USA
M/939 1939 Fabrico de Braco de Prata, Portugal
Commercial 1932 - 1933 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
B Mk. I 1917 - 1918 Vickers Armstrongs Erith, Kent, UK
Mk. I 1944 - 1945 Small Arms Factory, Lithgow, Australia
Commercial 1933 - 1934 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
C Mk. I 1916 - 1918 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
Commercial 1935 - 1936 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
D Mk. I 1918 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
Commercial 1936 - 1937 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
E Commercial 1937 - 1938 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
ET Mk. I c.1942 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
F Mk. I 1918 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
Commercial 1939 - Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
G Mk. I 1918 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
.5-inch Mk. I
.5-inch Mk. II
.5-inch Mk. IV
.5-inch Mk. V
1932 - 1940 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
H Mk. I 1918 - 1919 Vickers Armstrongs Erith, Kent, UK
IK Mk. I c.1942 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
K Mk. I 1918 - 1919 Vickers Armstrongs Erith, Kent, UK
L Mk. I 1911 - 1916 Vickers Armstrongs Erith, Kent, UK
N M/930 1930 Fabrico de Braco de Prata, Portugal
Nepalese Special 1936 Colt PFA Mfg Co, Hartford, Conneticut, USA
S .5-inch Mk. III 1932 - 1945 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
T Mk. XXI 1941 - 1944 Small Arms Factory, Lithgow, Australia
V Mk. I 1939 - 1944 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
W Mk. I 1939 - 1944 Vickers Armstrongs Crayford, Kent, UK
M1915 1915 - 1918 Colt PFA Mfg Co, Hartford, Conneticut, USA
Mk. I 1933 - 1945 Small Arms Factory, Lithgow, Australia
Commercial 1920 - 1931 Vickers Armstrongs Erith, Kent, UK


Sources

  • Goldsmith, 1994
  • Skennerton, 1988; 1997
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