This rifle was donated to the Museum, by WWII veteran Charles J. Schaus, and is on exhibit now.
First let me congratulate you upon the recent decoration you received from the Government of France for your service in the United States military during the Normandy Invasion and subsequent campaign. Thank you very much for your service and sacrifice.
I was very pleased and honored to contribute to the presentation that Mr. E.W. Sill Jr. recently made to you. It is but just a mere token of the respect and admiration that I have for you and the others from your generation that answered the call of duty in the early 1940's. The rifle is a British Enfield Number 4 Mark 1 rifle in .303 caliber. It was adopted by the British and Commonwealth Military forces in 1940 and began to see service in 1941. It was given to me 20 years ago by Valmore Forgett Jr., the founder and President of Navy Arms Inc. of Ridgefield, New Jersey. He told me that it had "recently" been discovered, with a number of other Number 4 Mark 1 rifles, on one of the Normandy beach-heads. Sadly, Val has passed on to his reward and I am unable to learn anything more about the origins of the rifle. I spoke just now with his son Valmore III and he too was unable to add to the story.
Regardless of the beach-head it was recovered from, when or where it was lost, the rifle is a silent witness to history. If we were to examine it closely and read the words that were stamped on it 70 years ago and now long since rusted away, we might learn that it was made in England or at the Long Branch factory in Canada or even, possibly, right here in the United States at the Savage Arms factory in Utica, New York. It represents the combined efforts of the Allied Nations in arresting the spread of Fascism and oppression. Thanks to men, like yourself, and women who served as well, we live in freedom today. Hopefully this silent witness will remind future generations that freedom is not free.
Thanks for your service. God Bless you."
National Firearms Museum