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The LATTEY Galilean sights for the SMLE Rifle


See also: the NEILL (Barnett) Galilean sights on the SMLE.....GIBBS optical sight on an SMLE..

MARTIN Galilean sights for the SMLE...........BSA optical sight on a Lee-Metford


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The Lattey sight system was approved for use militarily on 28th. September 1915

and entered into the List of Changes as the Mark I version.

The entry included the usual description and basic fittting instructions.

 

17556-Sights, optical (Lattey) Mark I. ............................. 28 Sep 1915

Rifles, short, M.L.E., Mark III and Converted
Mark IV, fitted with adjustable windgauge.


Back: .............................................................L

With lens, lens retaining plate and 2 screws;
clamping plate and 2 screws.


Front : L .............................................................

With lens, lens retaining plate and 3 screws;
clamping lug and screw.


Introduction.


.........Patterns of the above-mentioned sights have been approved to govern supplies as may be ordered.


.........Backsight: The backsight consists of a frame with lens fitted in the rear face, retained by a plate fixed by two screws. A hook shoulder is formed on the front face and an adjustable hook clamping plate fitted on the bottom, fixed by two screws.
.........The backsight is fitted on the rear face of the adjustable wind-gauge of the backsight of Rifles, Short, Mark Ill, and Converted Mark IV, in the following manner:

.........Partially unscrew the bottom clamping plate screws and hook the shoulder, on the front face of the frame, over the top edge of the windgauge, and press the hook of the bottom clamping plate up in front of the bottom edge of the windgauge, and tighten up the two clamping plate screws.
.........Frontsight: The frontsight consists of a frame with a lens fitted in the front face, retained by a plate fixed with three screws. A hook clamping lug with screw is fitted in the left side, and a horse-shoe shaped opening formed in the bottom of the frame.
.........The frontsight is fitted on the nosecap of the rifle, in front of the sight protector, in the following manner:
.........With the clamping lug and screw on the left side apply the horse-shoe shaped bottom portion of the sight to the front oval- formed portion of the nosecap; if the sight will not pass over the nosecap adjust by filing the inside sides of the horse-shoe until the sights can be pressed on, then turn the clamping lug into the lightening slots below the sight protector, and tighten up the sight by means of the screw.

Interestingly, we have been unable to discover a patent application for the Lattey sights,

which one might have expected to be either under the name of the inventor,

or of A.G. Parker whose company produced the sights both for the military and subsequently commercially.

Should you have any knowledge of such, we would be grateful to hear of it.

 

Below: the sight picture

 

Below Left: a view along the barrel, showing the correcting lens unit attached by an

under-lug clamping it to the barrel's tangent leaf with two small screws from underneath.

The two screws showing on the rear face hold the plate sandwiching the lens into the unit.

Right: the correcting lens unit fitted to the rear of a windage-adjustable S.M.L.E. tangent rear-sight.

...........................................

 

And viewed from the right-hand-side

 

Left: the clear objective lens unit viewed from the rear. The Lattey was placed in front of the fore-sight,

whereas some other designs were fitted behind, also magnifying the sight,

but usually then including a dot or cross-hair reticle.

Right: the pivoted lug locking the sight frame in place on the nose-cap

 

.................................

 

Viewed from the front, the A.G.Parker of Birmingham marking are clearly seen,

as can the arrangement for clamping the lens unit with a swivelling arm

locking into the lightening aperture cast into the rifle's nose-cap.

...................................................

 

An interesting aspect of what was originally designed specifically as a military sharp-shooting device,

is that it was reintroduced almost ten years after the cessation of the First World War.

Changes to the National Rifle Association rules for the Match Rifle competitions permitted the use of optical sighting in some events,

so the A.G. Parker Company of Birmingham, who had originally manufacture Lattey sights during the War,

recommenced manufacture ca. 1927-28, and added the product to their 1928 catalogue.

One feature of the original fore-sight unit was the one-piece fork that was shaped to fit the oval nose-cap cross-section.

It has been found that, as manufactured, the fork would not fit over all the nose-caps,

as these were cast at a number of different factories, and were not of consistent external dimensions.

It was therefore necessary to fettle the early Lattey forks to correctly fit individual rifles.

The reintroduced model had a slightly different arrangement, with hinged fork legs.

The photographs of the earlier model above show a single pivot machine screw,

rather than the pair on the later version below.

 

 

 

A photograph of the later set has been kindly afforded us by another member of the MILSURPS forum.

The twin lugged fork arrangement can be clearly seen.

The late 1920s model kit was also different in that it included a simple aperture eyepiece

that was to be be used with a suitable SMLE target rear-sight, akin to the BSA system

which had been marketed fifteen years prior, but the latter with a reticle,

and fitted directly to the barrel; a point discussed in the next paragraph.

 

 

There was no provision for a rear correcting lens, as this would not have met with the NRA rules.

The system is not dissimilar to the modern "Eagle-eye" arrangement permissible in current NRA target rifle events.

Any correcting lens now has to be in spectacles worn by the shooter as a normal prescription,

it cannot be fitted to the rifle to form a Galilean telescope.

It is worth noting that, in their advertisement, Parker commented on the advisability

of fitting a front lens with a reticle onto the woodwork or furniture of a rifle

rather than directly onto the barrel; a point undoubtedly not lost on Lattey himself,

leading to his clear lens providing magnification over the rifle's own fore-sight.

As early as 1925, Parkers were advertising their Parker-Hale "Universal Optical Sight",

mainly for sporting use. This continued to be available for many years,

but the Lattey sight was to be discontinued by the end of the decade.

A number of equivalent Galilean sights were patented in the early Twentieth Century,

and not all of them saw significant success, although those of Martin and Neill were both

accepted in the List of Changes during WW1, the Neill being effectively the same design as the Gibbs,

marketed as the 'Ulster Division Optical Sight' by Sharman D. Neill Ltd., of Belfast.

One of those that faded into obscurity was designed by W. Youlten,

most well known for his very effective periscopic trench sight for the SMLE -

- the Youlten Hyposcope.

As a matter of academic interest, the patent application for his Galilean sight,

very similar to the Lattey model, is shown below.

In the last sentence, he even comments that the eyepiece lens would be suitable for use with a hyposcope.

 

Patent application No. 11,227 of 3rd. August 1916.

See also: the NEILL (Barnett) Galilean sights on the SMLE.....GIBBS optical sight on an SMLE..

MARTIN Galilean sights for the SMLE...........BSA optical sight on a Lee-Metford


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