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Shell casingWe found these two shell cases in my parents garage. They were allegedly brought back from France by my great grandfather, but that’s all we know and we’d really like to know more about them and wondering if anyone can help please? The larger shell has a diameter of 85mm and the smaller shell is 62 mm. I hope the extra photos help. Thank you.

shell casings enter image description here

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    I can't make out all the detail at the moment (working on a mobile phone screen), but there are scanned guides to service markings on shells available online, like this one from 1918. For example, the A in a circle followed by two punch marks shows that the casing had been repaired and annealed twice. C FFF means that it contained a cordite charge & the case was filled 3 times. Dec 6 '17 at 18:54
  • I'm not an expert by any means, but the largest one seems to be a French shell (A RS means Atelier de Constructions de Rennes ). However, it's a bit confusing, because the 10 should be for caliber in millimeters (17 is the year), and that shell looks bigger than 4 inches. Also, 4 inches would mean a howitzer or small cannon, and the only 4 inches shell on ww1 that I know of is the modified 4 inches Stokes Mortar (used mainly for chemical warfare in 1917), which was used only by British Army at that time. Maybe ammunition made in France for a British weapon?
    – Devin
    Dec 6 '17 at 21:06
  • Thank you! I have added extra pictures and the diameter of the shells Dec 7 '17 at 16:06
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The Smaller Case

The smaller of the two seems to be a British shell case. A good source for First World War British munitions is the Explanatory List of Service Markings (1918), produced by the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich. Another useful guide is the 1915 treatise on Ammunition from the War Office.

It looks like it may be a 6-pounder round. That had a calibre of 2.2" or 57mm.

The markings that I can make out are:

  • the A in a circle followed by two punch marks shows that the casing had been repaired and annealed twice.
  • C FFF means that it contained a cordite charge & the case was filled 3 times.
  • II indicates that it is a mark II casing
  • the 1 in a circle indicates that the case was to be fitted with a mk 2 primer
  • RL indicates that it was manufactured at the Royal Laboratories, Woolwich

Another researcher that I'm working with this week believes that the "T" indicates that the shell was last filled at the Tipnor filling station and that the "95" is from the quality inspection carried out there.

The "DD" and "SOLD" stamps were, presumably applied after the case's service life.


The Larger Case

The larger case would appear to be French. It has been stamped "REMANIE" which indicates that the casing had been re-used.

From the picture, this could be the case from a 75mm mle (or French 75mm) round.

The other stamps on the base are: A. RS 10 17

I'm less familiar with French ammunition, but the 17 probably means the shell was produced in 1917, so by extension, "10 17" would suggest October 1917.

It's possible that the A.RS stamp indicates that it was manufactured in Rennes (Ateliers de construction de Rennes).


EDIT: If the measurements added to the question are across the widest part of the base of the shells, then that is consistent with their identification as a British 6-pounder and French 75mm respectively.

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    Yes, the measurements are taken at the widest part of the base Dec 8 '17 at 2:19
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source

On the smaller case..

The encircled (A) means the shell has been fired once. The two adjacent punch marks are given for each subsequent firing. So this shell has been fired 3 times. This was a way the English designates there shells, so it's an English shell. The C.FFF has to do with the Charge load. It was fired with full charge, loaded with cordite again all 3 times. Can't really make out much more..

On the larger case.. I can't match up any symbols.

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  • No. The encircled A means it was annealed after repair. The punch marks show that this happened twice. See the guide to service markings on shells in my comment above. Dec 6 '17 at 19:08
  • I'm sure you know more than I. I am 1 hour old in the art/disipline of shell deciphering. I did notice that a non encircled A refered to annealing. The reference given explicitly states "A (encircled).......Case has been fired once". as well as the punch marks both being English designations.
    – user27618
    Dec 6 '17 at 19:14
  • Page 12 of the scanned pdf document. Dec 6 '17 at 19:18
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    Yes. The Explanatory List of Service Markings (1918), produced by the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, linked in my comment on the question above. Dec 6 '17 at 19:30
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    I like your source better than mine.. good job.
    – user27618
    Dec 6 '17 at 19:41
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Smallest is British (two little pits next to the A means the shell has been used twice).

Bigger is French A RS is the factory made in..

When you measure the top of these shells you will know the caliber..do research like "75mm French shell WW1" ..the British work in inch .. or pounders in their shell language .. 18 pounder, 60 pounder..6 inch..

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