On the 29th October 1889 the British South Africa Company (BSAC) was formed by royal charter. Without going into detail of the companies earlier history they were probably better remembered for their part in the infamous Jameson Raid of December 1895. The full history of the raid is well worth reading. But here is a very brief summary of the history of the raid. As Jameson's armed column advanced towards Johannesburg they met a small force of Boers dug in at Krugersdorp. The skirmish between the opposing sides lasted several hours and resulted in Jameson's men retreating under cover of darkness. On the 2nd January 1896, Jameson's men again came under attack from a large Boer force at Doornkop. The Boers were also armed with a few artillery pieces. After a short battle which resulted in the loss of several of jamesons men he decided to surrender.
Now we come to the weapon in question.
I recently did a deal with an RFD in Wales where I exchanged a Martini Henry rifle for a British Snider two band Sergeants rifle. No money exchanged hands, dealers have to make some profit as we all know! The Martini Henry was one which I purchased from Fultons of Bisley for £700 last year. It was a late production bog-standard Mk11 produced by the London Small Arms Company (LSA) in 1889. The weapon was profusely marked in British proofs and military markings. There were no 'sold out of service' marks or anything like that . The barrel was in better condition than the receiver - which led me to believe that maybe the gun had been given a replacement barrel or had been re-finished. The receiver had several small indentations which looked as though it had been struck by a hammer - maybe to try and free a jammed breech-block?
The barrel has been stamped B.S.A.Co above the chamber. In the real world this stands for Birmingham Small Arms Company. But to the dealer who has since sold the weapon it is taken to stand for British South Africa Company (BSAC).
Someone has paid considerably more for a bog standard rifle which has had attached to it a remarkable history without any actual proof. What really amused me about this whole episode was when I cleaned up the Snider I received from the dealer I found the following stamp on the breech cover.... B.S.A.Co
If he had found that, would he also have claimed the Snider was used on the Jameson raid? Who do you think is correct - me or the dealer?