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WW1 HALES No 2 Mk 1 HAND or MEXICAN GRENADE

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WW1 HALES No 2 Mk 1 HAND or MEXICAN GRENADE

A variation on the Hales Patent Grenade patented by Martin Hale who worked for the Cotton Powder Co at Faversham Kent, it is a simple percussion type with internal graze fuze. It was filled with 'Tonite', an explosive made of Gun cotton and Barium Nitrate. In 1907 the Cotton Powder Co tried to sell there design to the British Army but were rejected during trials of the No1 Type. The company sold it to the Mexican Government with a 7mm rod for firing from their rifles. During WW1 shortages of the No1 grenade, the British purchased supplies from Mexico. The design was modified removing the rod and fitted a handle and tape for throwing, this was the NO2 Mk1. The Detonator is inserted, the streamer unfolded and the safety pin removed, (not shown) thrown high into the air to allow the tail to point the unit head first when hitting the ground. The No2 was introduced in Feb 1915 and declared obsolete in 1920, about 130,00 were manufactured.

Your comments:

  • This is the earlier long-handled version of the No 2, Hales, Tonite or Mexican (so named after a diverted Mexican contract).

    The Mills grenade was not made available until it was tried, pretty much for the first time, at the battle of Loos in Sept 1915.

    In April/May 1915, for the purposes of the first Territorial Army (volunteer part time soldiers) Victoria Cross, which was won at Hill 60 by Capt GH Woolley VC, the only bombs available to him were Jam Tin bombs, for which he required the use of a box of matches and 'The Hales', which is how he referred to this grenade.

    Woolley is famously depicted winning his Victoria Cross by R Caton Woodville and he clearly holds in his hand the long-handled variety of this grenade.

    Lt Summerhays, the officer who handed Woolley the box of matches was killed shortly after doing so. Woolley kept the matches for a long time as a memento and later gave them to his Battalion's museum. Their present whereabouts is not known to me.
    .......... concordia.victrix, Epsom, 25th of September 2018

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