December 7th, 1941.
Not only did a dastardly enemy sneak attack us on a peaceful Sunday morning in Hawaii, but the same little bastards launched a war of aggression against our allies in the South Pacific, specifically Britain, Australia and the Netherlands. We quickly combined our Asian Theater assets with theirs and formed the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command, or ABDA, but it was too little, too late, and the combined navies and air arms of all four nations were quickly and totally destroyed in a matter of weeks. ABDA formally ceased to exist on March 1st, 1942. This was two weeks after the British suffered their greatest defeat in World War Two when Singapore fell to the Japs on February 15. On February 19th, The Japs surprised everyone again with a heavy bombing campaign against the port city of Darwin, Australia, something else that the allied powers thought would never happen.
And it would get worse. Bataan and Corregidor were still on the horizon.
A rifle that might have been there was this one that I shot today.
A closer look at it's stampings tells a bit more.
The middle marking there is a crown over "GR" over two crossed keys over a "p". This was a British military acceptance stamp that the rifle likely got at the factory originally. Like the receiver marking above, it says that this rifle belongs to King George. Just below that though is a "D" with a broad arrow in the middle. THAT is an Australian Department of Defense acceptance stamp. Clearly this rifle is well-traveled.
Australia's Third Military District (Victoria). (That's what the "3" means.)
The rifle is in great shape, appearance-wise. It's only real flaw is this damaged handguard that I am having difficulty finding a replacement for.
The bore was another matter. The rifle had been stored dirty and fouled for years, if not decades. I spent an hour scrubbing it the night before and got a lot of gunk out, but it was still pretty bad this morning. Hopefully some shooting will help with that.
As you can see the front sight was drifted to sight it and it has been marked to indicate where it should be. Not even close to centered, but hey--it's sighted.
Two World Wars. Maybe Korea. Who knows the real history of this rifle. What I do know now is that it's mine for the time being and it shoots well enough that I'd fight with it if I had to. And that's good enough for me.