Citadel Martini – British Guns Rebuilt in Cairo
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In 1903, the British government shipped a load of spare/surplus Martini parts and tooling to Egypt, where it was set up in the Armory at the Citadel in Cairo. While Egypt was technically a part of the Ottoman Empire at this time, British troops had entered the country in 1882 to protect the British interest in the Suez Canal and never left. Eventually in 1914 Britain would declare the country a formal protectorate, but until then they just did their best (pretty successfully) to exercise political power – in part by helping to supply Egyptian security forces with arms.
In the Citadel, the Egyptians assembled Martini-Enfield rifles and carbines in .303 British caliber using British-made parts from a variety of sources. Some, like the one in this video, were acquired as guns sold out of service, as indicated by the double facing broad arrow marks on the barrel knox form. The British markings were (mostly) removed, and replaced by a simple mark on the right side of the receiver with a seat in crescent, the word “Citadel” and the date of the work – between 1903 and 1908. While these guns most all saw long and hard service lives and are in pretty rough shape today, they were all made of legitimate British factory-made parts, and were good guns when assembled. If they were reasonably cared for, they will continue to be good quality guns today…and even if not, they are a really interesting lost corner of history.
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