This section seeks to exploit material gathered for Guns of the Gurkhas, published in 2005 by International Military Antiques Inc., www.ima-usa.com, partly to prepare the ground for long-term study and partly to market the tens of thousands of guns (some British, others made in Nepal) that IMA and its partners had purchased from the Nepalese government several years earlier.
I was privileged to undertake the work with the assistance of David Harding, whose unmatched knowledge of the firearms of the East India Company enabled us to proceed surprisingly quickly. Since then, seeking to address as many of the unresolved questions as possible, I have been able to work with many other enthusiasts—in particular, Marcus Ray of The Ray Collection, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A., and Brigadier Prem Singh Basnyat of the Nepalese Army.
However, much contextual information which would have been useful to an industrial-archaeological historian had been lost in the random way in which many of the older guns had been stored in the Silekhana Palace in Kathmandu. And, in addition, very few written records have ever been found apart from reports made by the British Resident in Kathmandu and a few helpful India Office papers now held in the British Library.
Recognising that the pioneering Guns of the Gurkhas could not include all of the information being provided as containers of guns were gradually emptied, I wrote a series of articles for Classic Arms & Militaria and The Armourer in 2006–7. These advanced our knowledge, particularly of the Nepalese-made Francotte-Martini and Lee-Enfield rifles (neither of which were known to exist prior to 2002), and so this section of the archivingindustry website simply tries to keep the flow of information going. It also allows a variety of ideas to be tested in the absence of documentary evidence, but not with the permanency that is implicit in the printed page…
The information given here is concerned primarily with the guns that were made in Nepal; British weapons which were gifted to (or captured by!) Nepal are not currently included, as details can usually be found in Guns of the Gurkhas—still available from IMA.
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