A Rare Navy Stopgap: the CLLE MkI Naval Enfield

The British Royal Navy tended to accumulate some of the obsolescent patterns of Enfield rifles around the turn of the 19th century, as the Army had higher priority for the new types of rifle. This resulted in a rather odd and poorly-documented pattern, the Charger-Loading Lee Enfield (CLLE) MkI Naval.

Produced around 1910-1912, these guns began as original production Long Lee (or Metford) rifles. In 1910, the new MkVII high velocity Spitzer ammunition was adopted, and it was largely issued on charger clips for use in the new SMLE rifles. The Royal Navy decided that it wanted to be able to use this ammunition, and so it converted some (exact numbers are unclear) of the old Long Lees with a mishmash of updates:

The rear sights were recalibrated for MkVII ammunition, but not changed in style. So, no windage adjustment was possible on either the front or rear.

A charger bridge was added, including a channel cut to allow a sigh picture on the old-style sights. This also involved removing the early pattern dust covers on the bolts.

The resulting guns were marked “HV” for “high velocity” in front of their rear sights. The right side of the receiver socket retained the original production markings, and “CLLE MkI” was added to the left side of the sockets.


  1. Since it was for the “Navy” does that mean the Royal Marines were equipped with them? Second, when were they discarded? Seems the British would have appreciated being able to bring them out of storage in 1940 or so

    • A few words on these rifles’ further fate would have been interesting, but considering the sketchy records as mentioned by Ian I bet there is not much more known about these. Although I put my money on these CLLE rifles being still in service inbetween the wars and then WW2 as shipboard equipment, for the few landbased sailors that get issued handweapons etc. The Lanchester SMG was used on RN ships into the 1960ies discarded in the 70ies. The Royal Marines used the No.4 rifle in WW2 iirc, so they changed sometime along the way.

      • There were so many SMLEs made in WWI that I expect even the Navy got a share once the war was over, so I doubt these rifles served long after the Armistice.

        What I find interesting is that when they were converted Britain was the centre of the largest empire in the world, and its navy was the biggest, yet they were frugal enough to convert an old rifle to modern standards. Nowadays the USA loses $85 billion of equipment in Afghanistan and Sleepy Joe thinks it a job well done. Sometimes things do not change for the better, as I am sure the American taxpayer will agree.

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