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Canadian Items

 

Canadian Hi-Power with Holster C No.1 MK I

This Browning Hi-Power No.1 MK I* was manufactured in Toronto, Canada by John Inglis and Company in October of 1945 according to historical records. It is a self-loading pistol that operates by using a short recoil, delayed locking block system. The Hi-Power is a semi-automatic pistol that has been chambered for the .9mm Parabellum cartridge. The pistol has been designed to operate as a single action firearm that utilizes an external hammer. The pistol is made form steel and has a dark grey parkerized finish. The sights include an inverted V shaped blade front sight that is drift adjustable for windage, and a V notch rear tangent sight that is finger adjustable for elevation out to 500 meters. The pistol is fed by a double column 13 round detachable box magazine ,although the example I have will hold 14 rounds. The Inglis utilizes a push button magazine release that is located at the bottom left side rear corner of the trigger guard. An empty magazine will not eject from the pistol under its own weight. The pistol also features a manual thumb safety located on the frame at the top rear of the left grip. The pistol has a 4.40 inch barrel with 6 grooves using a right hand twist. The pistol has an overall length of 7.72 inches and an unloaded weight of 34 ounces. This firearm does employ a slide hold open mechanism to inform the operator that the last round has been fired. The black diamond checkered grip panels are made from plastic.

This firearm design is based in part on the ideas of the American firearms inventor John Browning, and was later patented by Fabrique Nationale(FN). It all started on May 9, 1921 when the French military authorities contacted a Belgium arms manufacturer known as Fabrique Nationale D'Armes de Guerre of Herstal, Belgium or National Factory of Weapons of War located in Herstal, Belgium. The French requested a new service pistol that they called the Grand Rendement, French for "High Yield", or alternatively Grande Puissance which literally translated means "high power". The requirement set forth by the French military for the firearm was that it had to be compact, have a capacity of at least 10 rounds, a magazine disconnect device, an 8 inch barrel, 600 meter adjustable rear sight, an external hammer, a positive safety, and be capable of killing a man at 50 meters which meant that it needed to be chambered in .9mm or larger with a projectile mass of around 8 grammes, and a muzzle velocity of 1150 feet per second. It was to accomplish all of this at a weight that was not to exceed 2.2 pounds. The pistol must also be able to accept a detachable shoulder stock.

John Browning did not get involved until the magazine was perfected by Dieudonne Saive who was John Browning's assistant and employed at Fabrique Nationale at the time. With the magazine in hand, Browning built two different prototypes for the project. One was a simple blowback design, while the other was striker fired and operated with a locked-breech recoil system. It was the locked breech striker fired design that was selected for further development and testing. Working with the Versailles Trial Commission the design was refined. The first pistol design was called the FN Browning Model 1922. French trials of this pistol lead to the subsequent FN Browning Model 1923 and then the later Browning Model 1924 that was fitted with an external hammer. John Browning died in 1926 before he could finish the design. In 1928 after a number of Colt 1911 patents had expired, Dieudonne Saive redesigned the firearm by combining it with the best features of the 1911. Even though John Browning had nothing what so ever to do with the redesign of the pistol, and had in fact been dead for nearly two years, the pistol still bore the great inventor's name and was known as the FN Browning Model 1928. By 1931 the removable breech bolt was abandoned, and a take down system featuring a removable muzzle bushing much like that of the 1911 was initially incorporated as well as a curved rear grip strap and a 13 round double stacked magazine. By 1934, the Hi-Power design was complete and ready to be produced. France decided not to adopt the pistol, instead selecting the conceptually similar Mle. 1935 that was developed by the Swiss designer Charles Petter. The Browning Hi-Power was first adopted by Belgium for military service in 1935 as the Browning P-35. At this time it was also adopted by China, Latvia, Lithuania and Peru, but only 56,000 pistols were manufactured by FN before the German army invaded Belgium and Holland on May 10, 1940.

The Hi-Power pistol has been known by several names through out its history. It is often referred to as simply HP which is short for Hi-Power or High-Power or as GP which is short for the French term, Grande Puissance which literally translated means "high power". The Irish called it the BAP which is short for Browning Automatic Pistol. It is also known as the P-35 which is based on the introduction of the pistol in 1935. During the Nazi occupation of Belgium in 1940, the Germans gave it the name Pistole Modell 640(b), the "b" stood for belgisch or Belgian. Some have even called it the King of Nines. In Canada it was called the No.1 MK I and later the No.2 MK I*. It originally received the Hi-Power name due to it having the first functional double column 13 round magazine, which was nearly twice that of contemporary sidearm designs of the time. With a full magazine and a cartridge loaded in the chamber, the Hi-Power is able to achieve 14 rounds of continuous fire before the pistol was in need of reloading. Which is an amazing amount of firepower over other pistol designs that was used in WWII such as the U.S. 1911A1, the German Luger, the Japanese Nambu, and the Russian M1895 revolver.

The Hi-Power is the only sidearm that this author is aware of that was officially issued to both sides during WW2. Nazi Germany acquired Hi-Power pistols that were manufactured in occupied Belgium, while the Allies used the Hi-Power pistols that were manufactured in Canada by the Inglis company. The German examples from this period should have the Waffenamt acceptance mark of WaA103, WaA140 or WaA613 stamped on them. The Germans manufactured over 315,000 of the Hi-Power pistols during their occupation of Belgium.

The Allied Hi-Power pistols that were made by John Inglis and Company during WWII were often used for covert operations and commando groups including the U.S. Office of Strategic Services(OSS) and the British Special Air Service(SAS).  After the war, Hi-Power pistols have remained popular with many military forces from around the world and over 93 nations have officially issued this sidearm to its troops since its invention. Even the former Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein and his military officers were seen armed with a Hi-Power pistol. Three quarters of a century after its first introduction into military service, the Hi-Power is still in use by many nations to this very day.  The weapon is either in use by, or is the standard sidearm of the following countries, the Argentine Army, Australian Defense Force, Belgian Army, British Army, Canadian Armed Forces,  Indian Army, Irish Army, Israeli police, Luxembourg Army, Singapore Special Operations Force and the Venezuelan Army, among others. Many firearms enthusiast consider the Hi-Power an improved design by John Browning over his famous M1911 pistol.

The Fabrique Nationale  firm is still in business today and is a subsidiary of the Herstal Group. The company now owns the Winchester U.S. Repeating Arms Company as well as the Browning Arms Company which was  founded by the family of John Moses Browning. They are now located in Columbia, South Carolina in the U.S.A. The FN Manufacturing LLC company is responsible for the development of U.S. government contracted military and law-enforcement weapons.

  

  

The John Inglis company starts manufacturing Browning P-35's.  Canada's first mass-produced handgun.

The Chinese ordered 5,000 Hi-Power pistols from FN just prior to the outbreak of WWII. The requested pistols were to have a tangent rear sight, spare magazine, wooden flat board shoulder stock with attached leather holster, spare parts and armorer's tools. In China at the time there was an increasing friction between the Nationalist and the Communist factions, but more importantly, China was fighting a war with the Japanese who invaded China in 1933. In June of 1941 a Sino-American delegation based in Washington DC that consisted of five members of the Chinese Defense Supplies Inc. visited Canada. The party consisted of three officers of the United States Army and a senior Chinese officer by the name of Major General Kiang(sometimes spelled Chiang). The purpose of the tour was to visit Canadian manufactures with a view towards placing orders for the much needed war supplies by the Chinese. One of the plants that they visited was the John Inglis company that was manufacturing the Bren machine gun for the British. The Chinese was desperately in need of such a gun and the Inglis firm told the delegation that it would be no trouble to manufacture one in 7.92 x 57mm as requested by the Chinese. While at the plant, General Kiang inquired as to whether they could also manufacture a pistol. He was then informed that the company had never done so before, but they were prepared to give it a try. At which time General Kiang added a request for a Canadian made Hi-Power pistol.

Since nothing in this world is free, the question came up as to how the war torn Chinese was going to pay for all of these supplies. In 1943 the Mutual Aid Board or MAB for short, was established in Canada by an Act of parliament as part of the War Appropriations Act. The MAB can be thought of as the Canadian equivalent of the U.S. Lend Lease program and was set up to co-ordinate all the financial aspects of the Canadian foreign aid. To finance the acquisition of Canadian made war material by Allied countries, the Canadian government made available one billion dollars in seed monies and a further 2.7 billion dollars in financial credits. In February of 1943 it was agreed that Canada would supply aid to China in the form of Canadian made goods up to a maximum of one hundred million dollars. On April 10, 1943 the Chinese provided a list of Canadian goods they wished to acquire which included 180,000 Hi-Power pistols.

At this point you might be wondering how it was even possible for the Canadians to produce any of the pistols while the FN plant, machinery and design plans were all under Nazi control. Well the British had successfully traced Monsieur Saive's drawing of the pistol by June 29, 1943 and by late 1943 and early 1944, the British had produced two pilot pistols at the Royal Small Arms Factory(RSAF) in Enfield, England. The British while working with the displaced designer of the pistol, Dieudonne Saive who was now an employee of the British government, were busy working on finalizing a set of drawings that the British was willing to give to the Canadians at no charge. The Chinese had also delivered six prewar pistols to the Inglis firm that their engineers were busy reverse engineering. So things were looking good for the manufacture of the pistol in Canada until FN demanded royalties. The British brushed aside any such royalties and took the attitude that the wartime emergency nullified any such peacetime niceties. The Canadians felt the same way even after receiving a lengthy memorandum that was delivered to the Minister of Munitions and Supply on July 27, 1943 by Baron Robert Silvercruys who was the Belgian Ambassador to Canada. The Canadian position was that FN held no Canadian patents for the pistol, the completed drawings were being furnished free of change, and that FN as a company was not in a position to assist with the project in any concrete way.

Canada changed its mind when they learned that the British were delaying their drawings of the pistol because of Canada's refusal to pay any royalties. Added to this was a formal submission by the engineering staff at the Inglis company to procure the services of Messrs Saive and Laloux and that a royalty should be paid to FN which would ensure their full co-operation. A strong case can be made that it was the Chinese insistence that FN be involved with the project that ultimately guaranteed the participation of Saive and Laloux. At any rate, the Canadian government capitulated on August 4, 1943 and agreed to pay 25 cents per pistol and a further 15 cents per pistol for every one produced beyond the 180,000 pistols ordered by China with the total amount not to exceed $75,000. Later this amount was modified to a strait 40 cents per pistol with no ceiling. So it was that on November 23, 1943 that a contract was drawn up between Canada and FN for the manufacture of no more then 250,000 pistols. At this time the Canadian government sent the Inglis company $66,956 to help the company set up production of the pistols. The British drawings had also arrived at the Inglis plant in early December of 1943.

All of this did not go unnoticed by the Canadian military and they started to show an interest in the pistol even before production began. In September of 1943 the Canadian Military Headquarters in London England sent word asking to obtain some of the Inglis made pistols. The production of the pistols also did not escape the watchful eyes of the British who had already requested 2,000 Lugers and 8,000 Ballester Rigaud pistols with the co-operation of Canada. The British were interested in the Hi-Power pistols for their covert forces such as the SOE or Special Operations Executives that was established by Winston Churchill and ordered 50,000 pistols through the MAB program.

By December of 1943 the Inglis company had produced a few test pistols and on January 14, 1944 the first preproduction Inglis pistols were going through test trials. On January 31, 1944 the first production of the Chinese Hi-Power pistols which became known as the No.1 was completed. The financial authority to provide the 180,000 pistols to China was approved with Order-in-Council PC 9865 on January 18,1944 with a price tag of $6,804,000 including tax, but delivery costs were extra. At the end of 1943 the British was also approved for funding by the MAB with requisition AID-GB-464 which had a cost of $1,890,000 for 50,000 pistols and 2 years worth of spares plus a management fee of $1.50 per pistol for the Inglis company. The first shipment of pistols to Britain occurred in March of 1944 with 1,000 being sent.

In June of 1944 the first shipment of 4000 pistol to China began on board ships to Karachi, India which was the closest point which could be reached by sea. At this point one would think that with pistols on the way that every thing was as it should be, save for an attack by the enemy. When the pistols arrive in India, the commander of the American forces in the China-Burma-India theater, General Joe Stilwell felt that the Chinese should be equipped the same as his own forces and he had already supplied many of the Chinese with .45ACP pistols. A second problem to crop up was that it had already been agreed upon by the U.S. and Canada that when the stockpile of material in India that was destined for China reached 12,500 tons, that no further goods would be accepted. It was also realized that due to the state of confusion, corruption, and inefficiency in China, along with the virtual cessation of operations by them against the Japanese as well as the growing communist Chinese army, that all future MAB pistol shipments should be suspended. This decision was further aided by a letter dated July 29, 1944 from the Canadian Ambassador to China to the Canadian Sectary of State which stated that pistols would be given a very low priority in shipments from the Indian sub-continent over the hump to China.

Even though they were instrumental in starting the production of Hi-Power pistols at the Inglis plant, and that there were 14,485 pistols at the Longue Pointe Ordnance Depot in crates awaiting delivery, the Chinese contract was canceled in September of 1944 with China receiving only 4,000 of the 180,000 pistols that they had ordered. On September 3, 1944, the British SOE acquired 6,008 of the remaining 14,485 pistols that were in storage, while the rest were acquired by the Canadian Army Overseas(CAO). It should be noted that the Chinese contract was restarted in June of 1945 with a shipment of 19,000 pistols being delivered to Shanghai, China. This second contract ended on November 31, 1945 with the total pistols sent to China including the initial 4,000 was only 43,760.

The adoption of the pistol by the CAO had put pressure on the National Defense Headquarters in Ottawa to follow suit. On November 9, 1944 the Deputy Chief of the General Staff sent a letter to the MAB and inquired about procuring 1,250 pistols right away and that a larger order would be placed if the Canadian Army was able to dispose of their 11,000 .38 caliber S&W revolvers. MAB replied stating that they could meet the demands of the Canadian Army if they were willing to accept a large number of the Chinese type pistols that were left over from the canceled Chinese contract. The Chinese pistols had a slot for a shoulder stock on the back strap and a tangent rear sight. On November 28, 1944 the Deputy Chief of the General Staff accepted the MAB offer and in addition to the 1,250 pistols, he requested 7,229 additional pistols. Two days later MAB advised the Canadian Army that the quantity available would be 8,465 of the Chinese type Hi-Power pistols. By the end of December of 1944 a recall notice had been sent to all of the District Commanding Officers in the North American Area(NAA) informing them of the recall of the S&W revolvers in the NAA and that they were being replaced by the Inglis manufactured, mirabile dictu, High Power pistol.  

The photographs on the left are of the front and back of the Inglis Hi-Power, while the pictures on the right show the top and bottom of the pistol. The pistol is shown with the magazine installed in each of these photographs. The front of the magazine as well as the baseplate has been stamped with the initials "JI" which indicate John Inglis. Only one type of magazine was made for the Inglis Hi-Power. It was a double column steel magazine with a 13 round capacity that had a parkerized finish with an internal elliptical spring, a steel one piece stamped base and a cast aluminum follower.

In the picture at the bottom left, notice the slot in the back of the grip which is used to attach the wood holster so it can be used as a shoulder stock. While difficult to see in the picture at the upper left, a dark round blemish is all that remains of the 1 inch MAB insignia on the front strap of the grip. In 1943 it was decided by an Act of parliament that every item of foreign aid that was produced in Canada would be marked with the MAB insignia to indicate its Canadian origin. The MAB insignia had the word Canada spelled out in English, Russian and Chinese. These fragile water transfer decals were easily worn off of pistols that have seen even the slightest of field service.

The pistol featured on this page has the correct MK II hammer installed as indicated by the Roman numeral "II" stamp on the left side of the hammer and seen in the upper inset picture. This hammer modification was made on February 20, 1945 and included a new hammer, a change in the geometry of the hammer strut attachment and dimensions of the hammer strut spring. The ejector and extractor on this pistol has also been marked on the left hand side with the Roman numeral "II" stamp which is correct for the MK I* pistol design. The MK 2 ejector had an increased height of 0.020 over its predecessor which was to provide for more positive shell ejection. The MK 2 extractor was modified to ensure that the thrust was taken by the slide and not the plate locking.

The manual safety lever catch that is installed on this pistol is shown in the lower inset picture above. This style is the standard MK 1 safety catch. An unusual and possibly experimental variation to this style has the serrations ground off at the rear edge. A third type of safety lever called the MK II that replaced the MK I on May 27, 1945 and appears only on late war and postwar pistols has the hump that the serrations are on as well as the hump itself extending all the way to the right edge of the safety catch. 

The full serial number can be found on the three main parts of the pistol. The full serial number is located on the frame directly above the trigger, on the slide directly above the serial number on the frame, and on the barrel which can be viewed through the ejection port on the slide. Since this pistol was originally produced to be sent to China it was allocated with the distinctive "CH" letters in the beginning of the serial number. In the picture on the right directly below, the first three digits of the three serial number can be seen which is "5CH". The number five indicates 50,000. For example, once pistol number 5CH9999 was produced, the serial number was then changed to 6CH1 until pistol number 6CH9999 was produced whereupon the serial number was changed to 7CH1 and so on. The highest serial number known to exist is 6CH6960 which indicates that at least 66,960 pistols were produced during WWII, while the lowest known number is CH20 which has no number prefix before the CH letters. The reader should also take into consideration that the Inspection Board of the United Kingdom and Canada as well as the Canadian Arsenals Ltd.(CAL) quote only 60,395 Chinese No.1(CH prefix) pistols having been produced. The Inglis company also used the letter "T" in the serial number prefix which indicated Toronto. This serial number variation is found on the Hi-Power pistols without the tangent rear sight which is known as the No.2 model. The lowest known serial number in this group is 0T2 and the highest is 9T3628 which indicates that at least 93,628 No.2 pistols were produced. There is also several odd prefix serial numbers that are known to exist with most being quite rare.

This Hi-Power pistol design incorporates several safety features. The first of these involves the way the pistol is constructed. Unless the slide and barrel are in their forward position and the action fully closed the hammer cannot be released. There is a manual thumb safety which is located on the frame at the top rear of the left grip. The pistol also utilizes a magazine safety that will not allow the pistol to fire unless the magazine is fully inserted. This magazine safety is connected to the trigger and is released by a plunger pressing on the surface of the magazine. Due to this design, some users of the Hi-Power have removed this safety device. The reason being is that the required force to operate this safety device along with the action of the plunger on the magazine adds tension to the trigger pull. Some of the pistols that were modified by Communist China have been marked with a hole drilled through the trigger to indicate that the components of the magazine safety have been removed.  

The photograph on the left is a close up of the markings that are found on the left side of the slide. At the top it is stamped MK. I* which is part of the model of the pistol which is No.1 MK I* or Number one Mark I*. The MK I* modifications included a change to the ejector, extractor, slide and barrel. The slide was modified to accept the taller ejector that is described above while the lug on the barrel was changed from a round design to a squared off locking cam design. Early trials of the pistol showed that the round design was prone to failure after around 4000 shots were fired. Since all of these newly modified parts would not fit in the early production pistols, in the summer of 1944 it was ordered by the inspection board of the UK and Canada(IB) which was in charge of the proofing and accepting of small arms, that the new extractor and ejector were to be marked with the Roman numeral II on the left side. The board also instructed that the modified slides were to be stamped with MK I* to indicate that they can accept the newly designed parts.  

Underneath the MK I* stamp and along the very bottom of the slide it is inscribed as follows, "BROWNING FN 9MM HP INGLIS CANADA". This inscription indicates, John Browning Fabrique Nationale and that the pistol has been chambered for the .9 x 19mm cartridge, and that it is a Hi-Power that was manufactured by the John Inglis and Company which is located in Canada. This entire slide inscription is considered the Type 4 legend and was roll stamped from a metal die. The Type 4 legend was the last style to be implemented, and continued in use until the end of production. There are four different types of slide legends that are recognized for the Inglis made pistols besides those of the very early prototypes which did not have a manufacturer inscription. The first two types were hand pantographed and lightly struck. It is not uncommon to find variations in the placement of the letters from gun to gun. The Type 1 legends will be found with Chinese Characters while the Type 2 and later legends have the Chinese Mandarin inscription omitted which began with the Type 2 legends starting in May of 1944. The Type 3 and 4 slide legends were roll stamped from a metal die and are much more uniform and deeply struck. The MK I* stamp can be found(but not always) on the last three slide legend types.

The picture on the right is a close up of the proof markings that are found on the right side of this pistol. The proof or acceptance markings seen here is a set of crossed flags that have been stamped on the slide and on the frame. There is also a C-Broad arrow mark that is stamped on the frame above the crossed flags stamp. The Inglis company had been instructed by the department of national defense to mark each pistol that had successfully passed its assembly inspection, accuracy, and functioning tests with the Dominion of Canada proof mark. The Dominion of Canada Proof or DCP mark consisted of a pair of crossed flags surmounted by a crown and the letters DCP. A short version of this mark consists of just the crossed flags with no letters and is found on the barrel.

The selection of the DCP mark was the result of a need to proof Bren guns for the British. In January of 1940, inquires were made on behalf of the Chief Inspector of Arms, Lt. Col. G. B. Howard, requesting that the Canadian proof mark be "readily distinguished from British or previously used Canadian marks.". What Lt. Col. G. B. Howard was after was a symbol that would uniquely signify its Canadian origin. In spite of his wishes, the mark that was ultimately decided upon was the mark that was used by the Ross rifle company in 1911. The mark is based on a British proof mark consisting of two crossed lances with a crown in the upper quadrant and the letter "P" in the lower quadrant. As can be seen in the picture at the above right, the mark has been Canadianised with the addition of the letters "DC" indicating Dominion of Canada on either side. The DCP mark was applied to the right side of the frame and slide. The short version was etched on the right side of the barrel in such a way that it would be visible through the ejection port.

The proof testing that each pistol was subjected to included firing the pistol with a high pressure test round. The pistol was also fired with a dry round and an oiled round. A dry round was found to be sufficient to prove a barrel, while an oiled round is required to test the breech locking mechanism and the resistance shoulders in the body of the firearm. A progressive proof occurred when a particular pistol had passed both a dry firing and then passed a oiled round test firing. Before a pistol could be finally accepted it still had to undergo functioning and accuracy tests which would ensure that each pistol could withstand the rigors of military use. The functioning test included providing each pistol with a fully loaded magazine. The first and last three rounds were fired while the intermediate rounds were manually worked through the pistol. The accuracy test required that five rounds be shot from a table rest. I am unclear as to what grouping led way to a pass or failing grade, but I can add that the paper tag that was attached to one pistol that had passed all these tests had a number 5 in the accuracy slot. As a final note to the proof testing procedure, the accessories such as cleaning rods and other ancillaries were also subjected to the inspection as well as packing, identification and the process of preservation.

The C-Broad arrow mark that is shown in the right photograph is located on the frame and directly above the crossed flags stamp. The inspection board of the United Kingdom and Canada known as IB was established in 1940. It functioned as a joint office for both the British Ministry of Supply and the Canadian department of Munitions and Supply. Its main function was to inspect items that were purchased from Canada or the U.S. by either Britain or Canada. Their job was to ensure that the manufacturer of the items had honored all of the contractual specifications. This agency once employed 19,000 personal that were stationed in factories across Canada and the United States. In order for a pistol to qualify for acceptance it had to successfully undergo a verification of proper assembly, plus a complete series of proof, accuracy and functioning tests and be properly proofed marked. If a pistol passed all of the quality control tests at the Inglis plant, a C-Broad Arrow stamp was then applied to the right side frame of the pistol. This same stamp which was used as a legal mark to denote the property of the Canadian government has been in use since 1907. In addition, according to the instructions from the Canadian Military Headquarters in London, many of the pistols were later stamped by the local unit armorers with an additional C-Broad arrow stamp on the slide behind the serrations. This additional C-Broad Arrow mark can be found on either the right or left side of the slide. The pistol featured on this web page does not have this additional marking.  

The photograph on the left is a picture of the rear tangent sight that is easily adjustable for distances out to 500 meters. The rear sight on the commercial made Belgian pistols that were sent to China prior to WWII have the high 500 meter mark situated about halfway up the leaf or about where the 350 meter mark is located on the above sight.

In the picture on the right the Hi-Power pistol is shown secured in the carry position of the holster/stock combination. The holster/stocks were modeled after those of the Mauser C96 pistol which was a very popular sidearm in China between the first and second world wars. The Inglis company manufactured all of the metal parts for the assembly and were overall responsible for the production for the holster/stock. Due to the lack of woodworking abilities at Inglis, the two wooden components of the holster/stock as well as final assembly was sub-contracted out to the Small Arms Limited(SAL) Crown corporation which was located in Long Branch, Ontario Canada. The Inglis firm had some initial trouble manufacturing the metal components for the holster/stock's causing the first shipments of completed units to be delayed.

In the SAL quarterly report for December of 1943 that was sent to the Minister of Munitions and Supply, SAL stated that they had taken on the task to manufacturer 150,000 holster/stock combinations for the John Inglis company. They go on to state that the engineering has been completed and that the tools, fixtures and gauges are being received in the plant. The report also pointed out that they plan to start production of the holster/stocks in early February of 1944 which will involve 53 machining operations. Their goal was to build up to 600 units per day. Taking into account the time table for the scheduled delivery of the metal parts from the Inglis company, SAL also reported that the production of completed units would be up to 22,000 per month by August of 1944. It was soon realized that only 140,000 holster/stock combinations instead of 150,000 that was in the report, and 40,000 web holster was all that was needed to fill the Chinese contract for the 180,000 pistols. The first shipments of completed holsters took place in July and by the end of that month they had produced 7,745. On September 7, 1945 the contract was canceled with SAL having in their inventory some 1,053 surplus holster/stock combinations. These were later disposed of through the War Assets Corporation which is now known as the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation that is still in operation today.

These original holster/stock combinations were only manufactured by SAL between the years of 1944 and 1945, with a total of 29,038 being produced. Today, well made reproductions can be found quite easily that are often being passed off as original.

  

  

  

  

The wood holster/stock combination that is shown on this web page is designated as "Holster C No.1 MK I" . When it is attached to the rear of the pistol for use as a shoulder stock, the pistol becomes much more accurate as the shooter has a much steadier point of aim. Although in a report that the Inglis company had requested in August of 1943 for trials to be conducted by the Small Arms Technical Committee found that the value of the shoulder stock was problematic in that the sights could not be accurately used due to them being to close to the shooters eyes when the pistol is fired with the stock attached. The report further detailed that the rear sight is of little value in view of the finding above and it was recommended that the sight be replaced with a simplified version that would save on material and production time. The newly designed pistols without the tangent rear sight and slot cut into the back of the grip is known as the No.2 MK I*.

The photograph on the left is a close up of the manufacturers legend that is stamped into the wrist of the Holster C No.1 MK I. This stamp reads as follows, "S.A.LTD." which indicates Small Arms Limited, and underneath this it is stamped with the date which is 1945. The Small Arms Limited Crown corporation was located in Long Branch, Ontario Canada and was also the manufacturer of the No. 4 Short Lee-Enfield rifles during the WWII era. The date of this holster/stock combination corresponds to the date of manufacturer of the Hi-Power pistol that is featured on this web page which makes it a perfect match. Actually either of the dates that this wooded holster/stock combination was made would be a perfect match for any of the Chinese contract Hi-Powers as there is no evidence that the holster/stock combination was serialized to the pistol.

The picture on the right is of the metal hinge portion of the holster which also shows the integral belt attaching loop. All of the metal components for the holster/stock combinations were manufactured by the John Inglis company. Underneath the metal hinge the wood has been stamped with the marking "Made in Canada". This stamp is required by U.S. law prior to importation into the United States.

  

  

How it all works.

The short recoil principle of the Hi-Power operates by the use of a locking bar underneath the rear of the barrel. When the pistol is first fired, both the barrel and slide recoil for a short distance together. Then the barrel is unlocked from the slide by a camming action. Unlike Browning's earlier M1911 design, the barrel is not moved vertically by a toggling link, but instead by a hardened bar which crosses the frame under the barrel and contacts a squared slot under the chamber. As the slot engages the bar, the barrel is driven down which disengages it from the slide and thus stopping any further rearward travel of the barrel. The slide continues its rearward movement on the frame where it extracts and ejects the spent case. Toward the end of the rearward travel by the slide, the hammer becomes cocked. The recoil spring located on a guide rod underneath the barrel has become compressed by the rearward movement of the slide. The now fully compressed recoil spring drives the slide forward causing a new round to be stripped from the magazine and driving it into the breech. During this process as the slide moves forward, the cam slot and bar move the chamber section upward and the locking lugs on the barrel reengage those in the slide and then just a short distance later the return travel of the slide has ended. With the slide fully forward, there is now a fresh round in the chamber, the hammer is cocked and the pistol is ready to repeat the process the next time it is fired.  

  

  

No.1 MK I* production dates by serial number.

Feb. through May 1944         = CH1      -    CH1014

June 1944                              = CH1015   - CH8014

July 1944                               = CH8015  - 1CH0045

Aug. 1944                             = 1CH0046 - 1CH6077

Sept. 1944                            = 1CH6078 - 1CH6099

Oct. 1944                              = 1CH6100 - 1CH6576

June 1945                             = 1CH6589 - 1CH7588

July  1945                             = 1CH7589 - 2CH3588

Aug. through Oct.                 = 2CH3589 - 5CH9928

  

  

  

A short history of the Inglis company.

What has become known as the John Inglis and Company first began in 1859 in Guelp, Ontario Canada when John Inglis opened a metalsmithing shop with Thomas Mair and Francis Evatt. The three partners leased water rights on the Speed river and operated the Wellington Foundry with 25 employees. The firm's name was changed to Inglis & Hunter by 1868 when Mair and Evatt was replaced by Daniel Hunter. The company specialized in steam engines and boilers, but also manufactured a host of other items such as chains, manhole covers, iron gates and other industrial metal products. By the early 1880's the company had grown to 80 employees. In April of 1899 John Inglis died and control of the company was passed to his eldest son William Inglis. By this time the company had become known as the John Inglis Company Limited. When WWI broke out the company went into production of munitions. After running the company for a little over 35 years, William Inglis died in 1935. In 1936 his brother Alexander who was in charge of the firm's Montreal office died leaving the company for the first time in more then 75 years with no Inglis family member at the helm. With the family leadership gone and the great depression in full swing, the company slipped into receivership in April of 1936. Receivership is a form of bankruptcy in which a company can avoid liquidation by reorganizing with the help of a court appointed trustee.

In 1936 the company was purchased by an American born businessman by the name of Major James E. Hahn, owner of British Canadian Engineering Limited. Major Hahn was also a veteran intelligence officer of the Canadian Army during WWI. The company became known as the Anglo Canadian Engineering company, and then a short while later it was renamed to the British Canadian Engineering company, but on January 4, 1937 it went back to the John Inglis company name. In 1938 the company won a contract with the British and Canadian governments to supply 5,000 Bren machine guns to Great Britain and 7,000 to Canada. The first Canadian made Bren gun, serialized Experimental No 1 was sent to England on March 23, 1940. With the war in Europe raging, the British ordered 27,000 more Bren guns later that year. By 1943 the company was producing 60% of the Bren machine guns destined for the British Commonwealth forces, and 30% of the British Army's own requirements. By the time the war had ended, the Inglis company had a one million square foot factory and had produced well over 100,000 Bren guns for the British forces as well as the .303 caliber MKI, MKIm, and MKII Brens for the Canadian forces and 43,000 Brens in 7.92 x 57mm for the Chinese. In addition to the High Power pistols, the company also produced the .303 caliber Browning aircraft machine guns, the Boy's anti-tank rifles, the quad 20mm Polsten anti-aircraft guns and their mounts and magazines, torpedo heads and large quantities of precision parts for ordnance, radar and optical equipment.

After the war, Inglis entered the consumer products business, producing fishing tackle, house trailers, oil burner pumps, pots and pans, lighters, and domestic heaters and stoves. Many of these products were sold under the Kenmore brand name, a label belonging to the U.S. based Sears department store. Later the company bought the controlling interest in the Canadian subsidiary of English Electric of Great Britain, which later led to the parent company in England purchasing the controlling interest of Inglis. The Inglis company suffered under the rigid British management style imposed by English Electric and the factory saw little capital improvement. Eventually the range of products was whittled down to major appliances. English Electric sold its share of Inglis in 1971 that resulted in the Whirlpool Corporation along with the Canadian Simpsons-Sears owning over 60% of the company. In 1991, all of the remaining production was transfered to the Whirlpool plant in Ohio and the Strachan avenue Inglis factory was closed. In 2001 the company name was changed to Whirlpool Canada and today they manufacture household appliances that are sold under the Whirlpool name.

  

Most of the information above was derived from the book Inglis Diamond by Clive Law. To see many more excellent publications about Canada’s military history that Mr. Law has authored or published please visit www.servicepub.com.  

 Resource: 

Inglis Diamond by Clive Law(The best book I have even seen on the Inglis pistol)      

The Browning High Power Automatic Pistol by R Blake Stevens

The Browning HI-Power pistols by Donald Mclean

German Handguns by Ian Hogg 

The standard directory of proof marks by Gerhard Wirnsberger

Official guide to gunmarks by Robert H. Balderson

Gun Traders guide                 

Blue book of gun values

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