Wartime Ammunition

by Ken Bowker

At a shore site in Glenuig, Moidart, we discovered two WW2 .303 rifle cartridge cases. The cases were next to each other but fired from two different rifles (the marks from the firing pins are different). The codes on each case are the same, however: K^F VII 6-39 ('^' represents the W.D. ordnance arrow, but in this case it sits above the letter I). This translates as manufactured in June 1939 at the Indian Government Ammunition Factory at Kirkee, near Poonah, India, and was a 174 grain pointed Mark VII bullet, the standard one used during WW2. (http://enfieldking.tripod.com/enfieldking/id12.html, accessed 3rd August 2015).

This was a military-restricted area during World War 2 for Special Forces training (see http://moidart.org.uk/wartime/wartime.htm), and snipers' positions are not uncommon in odd places; using these existing cairns as cover for trainees coming ashore here would be plausible.

.303 cartridge case #1

A clip of .303 bullets

.303 cartridge case #2

On the other hand, one local person has said "Well, everybody around here had a .03 after the war."

However, this find confirms that the UK was short of bullets at some time during the war and imported them from India. The standard British infantry rifle from the 1890s until the early 1960s was the Lee-Enfield .303.