Original 1856 Singapore Rifle Corps Percussion Baker Rifle with Bayonet

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This may be one of the rarest guns we found in the Nepalese Arsenal of Lagan Silikana in 2003. It is one of just 100 specially ordered for use by the SINGAPORE RIFLE CORPS in 1856.

At the time Singapore was administered by The Honorable East India Company (The Government of India) and in 1854 on July 8th a volunteer unit was established as the SINGAPORE VOLUNTEER RIFLE CORPS and its first parade was held on 8th of March 1855.

To equip this unit on the October 17th, 1855 a Military committee approved Colonel Bonner's "Pattern Rifle" and an order was placed for just 100 units. This Rifle followed the minie system, was shorter than the normal infantry rifled musket, and was fitted with a Baker sword bayonet.

The order was executed and the first 30 Rifles ordered from four London makers were sent overland on January 1856, the balance of 70 pieces left by sea on the East Indiaman "Celestial" in February 1856.

The Rifles only remained in Singapore for Five years and were replaced in 1861 with the more modern P-1853 Enfield Rifles in .577 cal and those 100 Minie Pattern Rifles were then shipped to India.

Each Rifle was constructed using East India marked Flintlock locks bearing the EIC Rampant Lion but converted to the percussion system. The rifled barrel, formerly from flintlock Baker Rifles had been re-breached converting them to percussion but still retained the Baker sword bayonet stand to the right side.

Unlike the full stocked Baker and Brunswick Rifles the fore stocks ended some 6 inches behind the muzzle of the barrel with a standard nose cap. There was just one ramrod pipe and a throat pipe only. There was no side plate but standard brass butt plate and the trigger guard has the same spur grip as found on the Baker rifle. On the barrel tang, directly behind the tang screw, is marked "S.P.C." for SINGAPORE CORPS.

These were high quality special order Rifles and the barrels are secured by two wedges as opposed to pins.

Now, of sad significance, the barrel has been later smooth bored, no doubt after arriving in India in 1861 to conform with the order that after the Sepoy Rebellion no Native Troops were to be trusted with rifled weapons. This order lasted almost until 1900.

This weapon is accompanied by its original issued Baker model (P1801) bayonet that still shows traces of the British Maker's name DAWES & CO. on the back of the blade.

An exceptionally rare special order military percussion rifle newly constructed in 1855 from original flintlock parts for the express use of the SINGAPORE RIFLE CORPS. Later smooth bored upon arrival in India that somehow found its way to the old palace in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The whole history is very well documented in volume two of "Small Arms of the East India Company 1600-1856" by David F. Harding pages 194-195 for complete history and description of this Singapore Special Contract of which no previous example has, up until now, been found, making this an n exceptional super rare find!


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