Rifling through military history

John 'Taffy' Southcott with one of the Lee Enfield rifles
John 'Taffy' Southcott with one of the Lee Enfield rifles

MILITARY fans and history buffs can find out all about the fascinating background of a now-obsolete weapon that was used throughout historic wars.

An intriguing talk and demonstration on Lee Enfield rifles will take place at the Heugh Battery Museum, on Hartlepool’s Headland.

It will be given by the venue’s chairman John “Taffy” Southcott, from 7pm tomorrow, with doors opening at 6.30pm.

The rifle was used in various conflicts including the Boer War, the two World Wars and the Korean War, until it became obsolute in 1956.

Mr Southcott said: “The Lee Enfield was the only rifle which was issued to everybody in the Army.

“There’s not many about now and it was in service for nearly 100 years.

“As far as the Army was concerned, it was a very important rifle and was used by everyone in the Commonwealth – the New Zealanders, the Australians, in South Africa, Canada and by the Indian Army.

“The talk will appeal to military fans and historians, as well as anyone with even a passing interest in the First World War in particular.”

The Lee Enfield rifle was invented by James Paris Lee, in Enfield, Middlesex, and there will be six on display during the event, where the public will get an opportunity to handle them.

They will be able to find out about the background of the weapon, how they developed and difficulties in using them, including their heaviness as they weighed nine pounds.

The talk is one of a series of eight lectures over the coming weeks, all held on a Tuesday evening at the museum.

Featured topics will include the Bombardment of Hartlepool, modern firearms and military vehicles.

Entry to Tuesday’s talk will be £2.50 on the door and there will be refreshments and a bar available.

For more information, call the museum on (01429) 270746.