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Handbook on the Lewis Gun (1919)

RAF Handbook on the Lewis Gun (1919)

Price £135.00 Sale


F. S. Publication 114

AIR MINISTRY, London, 1919

A rare original RAF Lewis Machine Gun handbook, published in April 1919. Produced just after the end of the First World War, Handbook on the Lewis Gun is a practical guide to the handling and maintenance of the aircraft variants of the Lewis Gun as used by the R.F.C., R.N.A.S., and R.A.F. during WW1 and in the inter-war period. Full of fascinating information and very well illustrated with photographic plates, this book will tell you all you need to know about the workings, mechanism, use and maintenance of the .303 Lewis Gun.

Copies of this handbook were issued to RAF pilots just after the end of WW1. G. H. ‘Beery’ Bowman, a WW1 fighter ace with 56 Squadron RFC is known to have used one. Ironically, Bowman was almost killed by his own Lewis gun in 1918. On 25 May, while Diving in pursuit of a German Rumpler, the drum magazine of his Lewis gun flew off and hit him on the head, knocking him unconscious. His S.E.5 fell 5000 feet out of control before Bowman regained consciousness and pulled out of the dive. Well known for his sense of humour and appreciation of a good joke, Bowman would undoubtedly have seen the funny side of this near-fatal escapade. During his ten months with 56, Bowman scored a remarkable 22 confirmed victories and flew alongside legendary aces including James McCudden (who was a close friend and had been Bowman’s flying instructor in 1916), and Cecil Lewis, author of the classic memoir of WW1 flying, Sagittarius Rising).


In very good condition. The cover has general signs of wear and use, a few marks, and two ring binder holes carefully punched near the spine. The binding is good and secure. The text, plates and illustrations are in very good condition with a few minor marks.

Published: 1919
Pink card covers, with black titling
Fully illustrated with B/W photographic plates
Dimensions: 140mm x 215mm
Pages: 58