1955 British Army Infantry Training booklet no. 4 Rifle and Bayonet

No longer belonging to Corporal Riley …

I found this a few years back when there were still junk shops. I bought this because it was the Manual WO 8903 that would have been current when my late father did his National Service c. 1958.


He often talked about how rigorous the weapons training was but coming from a mechanical and engineering background, he would have found this far easier than me.

The figure poses remind me greatly of the Herald modern British Army figures that we all grew up with (featured in Tradgardland’s blog) and curiously of Airfix Multipose British Infantry.

Herald figures late 1950s to 1970s: These uniforms must’ve been very familiar to my National Serviceman Dad when he played toy soldiers with us kids.

The Bayonet Training chapters are interesting – not too dissimilar to the Cut Parry Lunge system of duelling that Donald Featherstone featured in Solo Wargaming.



This Manual certainly explains the many odd bayoneting poses by manufacturers.

Bayonet Drill or used in action – That would be a very niche toy soldier collection!

Update: As mentioned in my reply to comments, there is a range of military training manuals from a range of countries on the late Thor Shiel’s Milihistriot website (whilst this remains online). Check out his Sandpit rules and OMOG variants too


Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN 20 April 2020

9 thoughts on “1955 British Army Infantry Training booklet no. 4 Rifle and Bayonet”

  1. A fascinating find and thank you for posting it. Really interesting to see and particularly when working with the Herald infantry currently.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Figure 21: “However, he has chosen an obvious piece of cover.”

    I love old military manuals. There are tons of US ones from all eras available online, but sadly very few Commonwealth; I picked up a handful of facsimiles at museums on my last trip. The Canadian website Regimental Rogue has a small selection, including several takeoffs on The Defence of Duffer’s Drift that might make interesting scenarios. One is The Defence of Bowler Bridge, a 1930s book/pamphlet on defending a town against 30s’ light tanks and armored cars with a rifle platoon and antitank gun. (Turns out you could disable period military vehicles by shooting out their tires!)

    I am still working at the library three days a week, and am taking the opportunity to print some of Peter Dennis’s figures to experiment with games and crafting. Dunno when I’ll get the chance to try them out with kids, though. Hope you and yours are keeping safe!


    1. As I mentioned to Pete S/P, have a look at these manuals on the Thor Shiel website. Now that Thor has passed, not sure how long these will be around http://www.thortrains.com/getright/

      I spotted a Duffers Drift scenario a couple of days ago but cannot remember on whose website. Some of my original and repro Home Guard manuals have this sort of improvised training for use against light tanks, armoured cars etc.
      Glad you are still employed. The library Games days will return again. I am now on furlough. Hope you and yours also Keep safe and well.


    2. I am very interested in the Bowler’s Bridge one as I am interested in the interwar period. I will look it up. Thank you for the mention.


  3. Not quite a training manual but I have a cigarette card set from 1915 called Infantry Training. It features photographs of an infantryman going through drill (fixing bayonets, presenting arms, standing at ease, etc, etc). Interesting that throughout the entire 50 card set none feature taking cover or lying down. I guess by the 1950s they knew better!


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