WW1 Prideaux Speedloader for the .455 Webley Revolvers

The Prideaux speed loader was one of several early such devices patented and manufactured as early as 1893, but neither it nor any competitor saw much demand until the outbreak of World War One. At that point, a substantial number were purchased privately by individual officers for use in the trenches – enough that they came to the attention of the British military administration. In October of 1918 the Prideaux specifically was formally adopted by the British military, although none were procured until after the war ended – all surviving military examples show 1919 dates.


  1. The little ring on the end facilitated hanging the loaders around one’s neck, not unlike the lanyard loop that kept you hooked to your handgun. There are illustrations floating about of officers on trench raids wearing two or three reloads hanging down their chests. Nowhere on the web is their video of the Prideaux itself being reloaded. Too late to rectify this?

    I am told the .38 Prideaux for the Mark IV Webley will happily reload modern S&W K-frame revolvers. There might be a market for those fakes, they wouldn’t even have to be rendered as fakes.

  2. It would be interesting to know a little more about the history of speedloaders in general. I have seen drawings, but not a photo, of a 2-piece wood-core speedloader with a separate metal ring to hold the rounds that was apparently intended for use with the 1892 Colt.

    • I think you have searched Carl J. Ehbets’s “cartridge feed pack for revolvers” (US patent 402,424, patented Apr. 30, 1889.). Here your are: [https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/24/24/16/f87e368d893fa2/US402424.pdf]. A photo can be found here: [http://www.mcpheetersantiquemilitaria.com/09_guns_parts/09_item_038.htm].

  3. I gotta wonder if the speedloaders were issued out in WW2….or were they surplussed when the UK went to the 38-200 from the 455

  4. William de Courcy Prideaux was my great uncle. He also developed and patented a non-jamming machine gun belt. The Imperial War Museum in London holds a number of his papers. He was a dentist by profession, living in Dorset UK, but also heavily involved in archeology. One of his brothers was curator of the Dorset County Museum, the other, my grandfather, was a superb shot and won a lot of prizes for shooting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.