Photographs of Snipers

Sniper Cpl J Fortain R22R near Rimini Italy 31 kills
Sniper Cpl J Fortain R22R near Rimini Italy 31 kills “This is Cpl. G. B. Fortain of Montreal in one of the forward positions taken by his regiment, the Royal 22nds, in their push to the west of Rimini in Italy. Cpl. Fortain joined the sniping section of his regiment at Ortona, and while Canadians held a static position last winter he came to know the German defensive positions so intimately that he could wander through the enemy lines almost at will. During this period he chalked up 31 kills. He he is watching the enemy front from a shell battered house, his deadly rifle ready across his knees. (CANADIAN ARMY OVERSEAS PHOTO) UN 262-1” th rifle appears to be a standard No. 4 Mk.I (T) Lee-Enfield snioer rifle with a No. 32 scope and M1907 sling. Canadian snipers in WWII overseas were issued sniper rifles out of British stores. Most Canadian made sniper rifles went into this British pool of rifles. This man appears to have survived the war as he is not listed in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Photographs of snipers are somewhat scarce, though there are many photos showing soldiers looking for snipers. By nature snipers are scruffy, hidden and operate alone or in very small teams.

Most sniper photos are posed shots. Those looking as if they are in combat are usually, but not always, in posed positions. After all, having a photographer at work out in front of your hide or just moving around you, would attract enemy snipers’ attention which would not be healthy! Photographers need light and they will often position a sniper where he shows up best … the exact opposite of what a trained sniper wants!

Here are some photos showing snipers “dressed to kill”. It is not always possible to tell if they are British, Canadian, New Zealand etc. as they usually wore the same uniforms and carried the same weapons.

My emphasis is on Canadian and British snipers, especially those using the Ross sniper rifle, No. 3 (P-14 ) sniper and Lee-Enfield No. 4 (T) sniper rifles. Having said that, as I find interesting photos of others, I may add them.

The photos are shown here at low resolution (usually 1024) which is fine for the computer monitor but not good enough for printing. They are provided here for non-commercial research purposes and serious researchers are encouraged to buy the books and to visit the various archives on-line or in person. In Canada, copyright law regarding photos states that photos taken before 1948, and those taken by/for the governments, are not copyrighted.

  • L&AC = Library and Archives Canada. These are Canada’s national archives. They have renumbered all of their photos using the MIKAN system. You should be able to order copies using either the MIKAN number or the old catalogue numbers. Note that their captions are not always correct. Wartime photographers were however usually good about dates and captions. An exception though are the colour photos which seem to have had guesswork used in cataloguing by archivists. 
  • IWM = Imperial War Museum. 
  • AWM = The Australian War Memorial.. I have not yet posted any Australian sniper photos. 

Photos are placed by country of the soldiers (where known or presumed) and in chronological order as best I can determine.

Corrections and additions are welcome. Corrections should ideally provide new information such as an archives catalogue number. I have more to add and shall do so as time permits.

 

CANADIAN SNIPERS IN WWI

Xabnadian solider lying on the ground and aiming a sniper rifle using its telescope.
A Canadian sniper aiming a Ross sniper rifle. The rifle is fitted with what appears to be a Winchester A5 telescope. The front sight appears to have been removed and the wood fore arm cut off just forward of the lower band. The photo was published in The Illustrated War News, April 26, 1916 page 16. (Colin M. Stevens’ Collection)

[More WWI photos to come]

CANADIAN SNIPERS IN WWII

A goal of mine is to show EVERY known WWII Canadian sniper photo.

 

 

 Small Arms Ltd., Company Photo Albums

On flickr there is an album of official photos posted by Gary Blakeley. Two of the photos show sniper rifles. The external web site is here  At this time he has 4 albums. The second and fouth albums are of Small Arms Limited at Long Branch where the Lee-Enfield No. 4 rifles and the Sten Gun MK. II were made. The wooden shoulder stock/holster for the Inglis pistol was also made at SAL. The first and third albums are of John Inglis Company which made Browning Machine Guns, Bren Guns and No. 1 and No. 2 pistols (versions of the Browning High Power Model 35). NFB is “National Film Board” of Canada which did a lot of documentary film work. The original photos are held by the Mississauga Histirical Society. 

CANADIAN SNIPERS IN THE KOREAN WAR

Recommended reading: “SLOPPY SAM’S SNIPER SECTION Korea 1951 – 1952 by Don B. (Sam) Urquhart (2007) [Privately published in 2007, only about 500 copies. Now very rare. I have the last couple of copies from his widow, for sale at: https://captainstevens.com/militaria-for-sale-and-wanted/for-sale-books/

I have asked his widow for the master copies of the photos so as to share them with researchers and collectors as the image resolution in the book is not very high.

Sites to look for on the Internet:

  • “Veteran Stories: Guy Marion, Army – Sniper with R22R in Korea.  Search the Internet for: The Memory Project Stories  2588 (no link is provided as it its not a secure web site).
  •  “Veteran Stories: Harley Welsh, Army, Intelligence Section 2PPCL in Korea. Not a sniping story but he served alongside the snipers.
  • Ted Zuber, Canadian Korean War Sniper and later an official Canadian War Artist in the Gulf War. He has a web site zubergallery dot com (no link is provided as it its not a secure web site).

CANADIAN SNIPERS – POST-KOREAN WAR

Click here to have a look at my page on the FN C1A1 sniper rifle with the Sniper Scope C1.

BRITISH SNIPERS IN WWII

 

Link to some photos from the book “WITH BRITISH SNIPERS TO THE REICH” by Captain C. Shore, 1948.

BRITISH SNIPERS POST-WWII WITH LEE-ENFIELD No. 4 (T) and L42A1

BELGIAN SNIPERS WWII

NEW ZEALAND SNIPERS WWII

U.S. SNIPERS WWII AND KOREAN WAR

USSR SNIPERS WWII

 GERMAN SOLDIER CARRYING A BRITISH OR CANADIAN No. 4 (T) SNIPER RIFLE

Link to:  Colin Stevens’ page on “Sniper Rifles & Snipers”

 

Two men with rifles. Modern one in front, pioneer one behind.
Canadian Army Marksmanship poster showing a Canadian sniper and behind him a pioneer from 150 years before.
“MARKSMANSHIP – A CANADIAN TRADITION”
From CATM # 53 Aug 1945 (Colin M Stevens’ Collection)