1 Inch signal Cartridge

I need help to identify this 1" signal cartridge.
Supposed to be French but the case looks like a Mk 111 UK case with a 4 and
HRBCo overstamp. The primer is not the normal UK primer.
Brass 2 piece case with paper trimmed at mouth. 93mm brass. 9mm base.

Rim is half milled for white signal. All help is appreciated.

Hi Ron,

It was loaded by the Henry Rifled Barrel Engineering & Small Arms Co., Ltd. (formerly Henry Rifled Barrel Co.), at their signal factory located in Kent.



1 Like

Thank you Fede. I had not heard of this company before.

So, the notches in the rim indicate the type/colour of flare.
I have never seen this, but I remember reading it somewhere…
Might you telll me what were the other colour codes/notches?

British 1" signals are rim milled or notched as follows:
Red: Full rim is milled.
White: Half rim is milled.
Blue: Two quarters are milled.
Green: Rim is not milled.

This code is useful for night ID by feel. Some later shells are not marked this way.

I have many flare cartridges, mostly German, some I am not sure.
Figured the notches were for tactile ID.
Now I need to go pull all of them out and see what I actually have, I seem to think I have some with notches all around the rim.
Yay, another project to keep me busy!

This company had a later change of name to the Blenheim Engineering Co. - see attached letterhead, which states they are still making ammunition, fog signals and rockets.


1 Like

I found five of my six 1" Signal Cartridges, all Red. Number six is about twice as long… and ‘lost’.

The Aluminium casings are deteriorating, and there is some rust forming about the primers, any ideas about preservation?


Good question. I have had the wad crack on these USA cases but the aluminium never corroded. I think I would inert your samples.
Carefully remove the wad by cutting around the circumference. You may need to make another cork one and paint it red if too brittle.
Remove any internal wads and very carefully drill by hand the flare cylinder using 6mm, 12mm drills and larger about 6mm deep at a time and empty out any compound and brush off the drill bit. When thin you can peel the liner away from the case with long nose-bent pliers. The flare dust will not ignite if you go slowly and remove any drilling dust.

Wrap the case in cardboard and tape, plastic wrap to protect the print on the case before you start. I have inerted 20 flares with no problems in all colours.
Illumination is the worst one for going bad and the hardest compound to remove.

I would use hydrochloric acid on a cotton bud to clean the primer corrosion. Rub it for 10 seconds then wash off with warm water. Polish with 0000 steel wool. Keep off the aluminium. Neutralise the area with sodium bicarbonate (baking powder) solution, wash and dry with a hair dryer.
I use Wattyl brass /copper varnish to paint the cleaned primer and inside the cleaned case.
If you spray the outside of the case, do very fine coat over the print and let it dry. If too heavy the lettering will run and spoil. Then do another heavier coat of varnish.

I hope it is OK to mention my inerting method. If not please modify or delete. Ron.

Thanks, might try that.
But, I am not sure I want to deactivate them…

I would clean the primer as I mentioned and see if corrosion comes back.
As long as the wad area does not go damp or leak, just leave them and inspect often.

1 Like