Historic Bren gun on display in Bolton

The Bolton News: With the Bren gun are Loyals members from left, Pte Eric Higham, LCpl  Malcolm Vickers, Cpl Harold Hartley With the Bren gun are Loyals members from left, Pte Eric Higham, LCpl Malcolm Vickers, Cpl Harold Hartley

A FASCINATING piece of weaponry is going to be a sure-fire hit with anyone interested in the work of the Loyals in Bolton.

The Bren gun has been secured by Bolton’s local detachment of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and will be on display in the town.

Veterans of the 5th Battalion Loyal Regiment are now holding monthly meetings in Bolton and they will also be showing off the gun at various venues when they stage displays.

A trip to a collector in Knaresborough — and £650 — helped the veterans secure the gun, which is widely recognised as a feared piece of machinery by any enemy, according to secretary Malcolm Vickers.

Former serviceman Mr Vickers, aged 69, said the Bren was so impressive, in particular, because of its slow rate of fire.

This particular gun was made in 1945. It went to Palestine in 1948, was in Korea, Malaysia and Borneo before being decommissioned and deactivated in 2000.

Mr Vickers said: “It is going to be a particularly interesting gun to show people.”

The gun weighs 11kg and its box is almost as heavy.

He added: “It was particularly valuable because of its accuracy. Each gun would be in a section of seven men and six of the men would be designated to protect it.”

The gun can be seen at the Loyals’ next meeting at the Rumworth Hall, Prescott Street, off St Helens Road, Bolton, on Tuesday, February 25 at 7pm, and every last Tuesday of the month, or at Morrisons, Mornington Road, Bolton, on Friday and Saturday, March 21 and 22.

Bren gun facts

  • The Bren Gun, usually called the Bren, was a series of light machine guns adopted by Britain in the 1930s.
  • It is best known for its role as the British and Commonwealth forces’ primary infantry light machine gun (LMG) in the Second World War.
  • It was also used in the Korean War and saw service throughout the latter half of the 20th century, including the 1982 Falklands War and the 1991 Gulf War.
  • It was usually fitted with a “bipod”, but it could also be mounted on a tripod or vehicle-mounted.
  • The Bren was a modified version of the Czechoslovak-designed light machine gun the ZB vz 26.
  • The name Bren was derived from Brno, Moravia, the Czechoslovak city where the Zb vz 26 was originally designed, and Enfield, site of the British Royal Small Arms Factory.

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