The markings on a Vickers MG can tell the owner or researcher a lot about the guns history and service record. These pages identify some of the markings found on guns and accessories in order to aid the understanding of a gun and its history. Because of the lack of written records relating to specific guns, there is often no other way to work out where and when a gun has been and served.
Each gun is marked with a unique number, often with a letter prefix, that can determine the place of manufacture, the date of manufacture and who it was produced for.
Vickers used two main factories and numerous feeder plants. There were also Australian and American manufactured guns. The various markings can help determine the origin of a particular Vickers.
At a factory, it was a necessary art of the quality assurance to have an Inspector check over the various components of the gun to ensure that were within the tolerances. These can tell you little of historical use but appear frequently.
Whilst the Inspector’s markings were done at the factory by Vickers, the War Office, or other customer, would have their own acceptance markings to show they had checked it over. The commonest is the ‘Broad Arrow’ for British Service.
When a unit armourer had done work on a gun, he may have classified it for a particular use or function. These markings can help determine a gun’s service history.
Some components were marked with their part number or, sometimes, a full description.
Commonly found on guns that have seen civilian use, or have been deactivated, the proof marks show it has been passed fit for firing, or has been deactivated.