Brits with Garands in Korea

Last evening I was watching a PBS feature on the Korean War. In it were two British soldiers equipped with Garand Rifles. I had not realized that Brits used Garands in Korea, but it would sure simplify the supply chain, including ammo? Perhaps these guys picked up US rifles and were actually issued something else.

TonyE or anyone. Was there British 30-06 from this period?

I wonder if any of the other Allied forces in Korea also used Garands and 30-06.


I have DAC 51 & K 54 AP, DAC 51 & K 53 ball & K 53 tracer in the drawers.

I suspect they were actually Canadians, not Brits.

My apologies for a rather rubbishy scan of a photocopy but it’s the best I have. This from a brochure by Thomas French & Sons (TF&S) sometime in the early 1950s


Lew - the Greeks and the Turks did. I don’t know about the Canadians. I have seen pictures of British troops with Rifle No. 4 (Enfield) .303, and with Bren Guns, so at least some of them used British weapons. I think there was some effort to have everyone with American small arms, for ammo interchangeability. The ROK troops used U.S. Arms.

The cited headstamps of Kynoch-produced .30 caliber cartridges suggests to me production for foreign customers rather than the British military services. Jack

England received quite a few (50,000??) lend lease Garands during the early years of the war. There’s no reason not to assume that they were still being used as late as the KW. I believe most (all) of them were eventually sold. As I understand, it’s now illegal to own a Garand in England???



As I understand, it’s now illegal to own a Garand in England???


Ownership of these has been prohibited since 1988 with the passing of the Firearms (Amendment) Act, 1988. This was the response to the Hungerford massacre in 1987 when an illegally owned M1 (and a legally owned Type 56) was used to kill a number of people in a town to the west of London.

The Act amended section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968, which section lists those weapons prohibited in private ownership by extending the prohibition to burst fire, semi-automatic and pump action rifles in a calibre greater than 0,22RF.


Interesting!!! The narrative indicated they were Brits, and their soft hats were clearly a regimental cap that looked vaguely familiar to me. I don’t know anything about the Canadian caps of the period so maybe they had regimental caps also.

Recently watched the series “Vietnam in HD” which was generally OK, but in one scene there was an F-16 dropping two bombs and the segment on Tet included a smallish piston engine aircraft circling over the ground in the distance, but it sure looked a lot like an ME-109 to me!!! So you can’t trust what you see on TV—what a shock!


The lend lease Garands provided circa 1942 were held in reserve for Home Guard use, due to their non-standard .30-06 caliber, and accordingly most had the red band around the upper part of the stock/handguard often with .30 or .300 stenciled there.

Virtually all of these were sold off as surplus circa 1960 in virtually unissued condition, so I do not believe those got issued and use in Korea or anywhere else. These were sold via Interarmco (Ye Olde Hunter), mail order dealers, and even retail outlets like Sears Roebuck at prices around $79.95.

(Of course, M1903 Springfields were $29.95 for low numbers or $39.95 for high numbers. M1917 Enfields were $29.95 and .303 SMLE Enfields were usually $9.95 for the No. 1 Mark III or $15.95 for the No. 4 Mark I, while Jungle Carbines ran $29.95-$39.95, so the Garands were pretty expensive compared to the other options.)

Many other used Garands are found with British proofs, but that reflects the fact that they were proofed in accordance with British law prior to being shipped out of Interarmco’s UK warehouses, not actual British military use. Interarmco purchased vast quantities of arms from all over the world, and much of their inventory passed through their UK warehouse.

There was a plan to equip the Cdn army with US small arms in the late 1940s and US M1s, BARs and 1919A4 MGs were acquired and Cdn manuals were published. When the army learned that the 30-06 was to be replaced the BARs and Garands were withdrawn and the 30-06 Brg served until c1970.
The first Cdn contingent for Korea initially trained with Garands etc but when it was decided to attach them to Commonwealth Div British pattern small arms were issued.
Cdn made 30-06 ammo post war was mainly for the Brg.

Lew - I suspect they are Canadians or perhaps belgians with British equipment. AFAIK all British troops in Korea were armed with .303 inch weapons, No.4 rifle, Bren and Vickers. That is not to say that there were not any units with Garands but I have not heard or it. Never say never though!

Jack - The Kynoch made .30 ammo was for the Brownings of the Royal Armoured Corps. They elected to stay with the .30 calibre Browning as their vehicle mounted MG and by the early 1950s American supplied WW2 ammo was running out. Kynoxh made .30 ball, tracer, drill and blank from about 1953 to the late 1960s. Radway Green also made substantial quantities during that time.

After the demise of Kynoch, ball and tracer was ordered from FN in Belgium. Eventually the RAC converted to the L7 GPMG.


Tony, that was my understanding which is why I was so surprised. Both had a round, flat soft cap, probably larger in diameter than their head, with a tassel on the top. There was just the quick mention and the two soldiers looked western European. Probably a shot of a couple of soldiers used out of context. Could have been a couple of Brits visiting a US Army unit and holding a couple of Garands.

Many thanks to all who posted.


Dutch troops also fought in Korea and were armed with US equipment in general, IIRC.

Quite few Dutch citizens had lost their citizen rights and passport as a result of their choice of ally/employer during WW2. Those who had fought for the German army were given the choice to do service in Korea in return for their citizenship/passport. Sort of a rehabilitation, but the hard way.

Did TF produce Garand “chargers” in Britain?

Here is an interesting link with Korean War photos … 0700_1.pdf

See page 3.

Here are two pictures of No. 41 Royal Marine Commandos armed with M1 rifles during the war:

It appears that special units, like 41 Commando, that worked directly with American units, used the American weapons while larger units working simply under the UN Command retained the British weapons. This makes sense, since I am assuming these special commando units were probably better trained in “foreign” weapons use to some extent even before receiving the American small arms. Training normal units in the use of weapons preiously unfamiliar to them, especially in the harsh Korean Peninsula climate, may have been problematical.

That is an interesting article. Thanks for posting it. Some minor technical errors (“1926” designation for the 1928 Thompson; “M1919A4” for the Browning M1919A6 LMG with buttstock, etc.), but they did not detract at all from the overall interest of the article.

I would rather have an M1 Garand than a No. 4 Enfiled under any circumstances, although I admit that my favorite bolt action military rifle for practical combat use is the Enfield. It must have hurt to give up those Bren guns though. The BAR is a good, reliable weapon, but in the American version, not without faults. The Plish and Belgian versions are somewhat improved. The Bren, and its Czech counterpart, are, in my view, far superior though. JMHO.

Interesting thread, at least to me!