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Practice-Drill and Training Mills Grenades


Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Here are a few pics of practice/drill/training Mills grenades for some of our newer grenade collector members (and everyone else of course !)
Picture one,two and three show a rubber bodied No5 shaped training grenade weighted with steel? internally. It shows quite a bit of wear and tear. There are no markings visible.
Pictures four and five show an unfinished No5/23 body with no threads or holes in the upper body, filled with cement and painted white. It has probably been refinished. It has the letter "G" on the back.
Six and seven show an unfinished centre cast body, this has no upper holes or threads, but there are some traces of white paint on it. No markings on this one.
Eight and nine is a WW2 1943 dated No 36 Mk 1 completely cut in half. It currently sits on a 1940 dated gas check plate. The lever is marked "B&K" the baseplug is marked No36 Mk1 "K" 43.
The last pics, ten and eleven are of a 1958 dated No36 Mk1 instructional, with a drill igniter set and inert filling. The lever is marked "Q" and the baseplug No 36Mk 1 "S" and something, (worn away).


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More pics......


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Nice grens Tony, like the rubber one, and the centre cast, and the************

Hi Tony,

here is a picture of my Gibbons Spring grens. All 23 mk 11s, all in pretty good nick. One of them i have cleaned to bare metal and just given it a coat of beeswax polish[i do this to all my Mills] and you can just read the patent details on the spring. 2 of the others show the very faint blue paint in places[oxidising to green] that they were originally painted with. Another was originally painted white but has been given a brown overcoat which i have left.
I have been through the IWM Mills grenade collection earlier this year and quite a few of their Gibbons Springs were painted white too. I have them all on WW1 36 gas checks, i know this isnt quite right but this makes them easier to look at, something i do a lot as ime a sad old git.



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Hi again Tony,

here are a few more of my training/drill grens. The first picture shows a drill 23/1 or 2 which was originally painted blue but has oxidised to a greenish colour. It has an H on the back. This one would be very easy to actually turn into a Gibbons Spring as i have a spare spring but i will restrain myself as it would spoil the originality of the gren. The other 2 are WW1 drill 36s with the 5 holes, both made by J Gibbons of Wolverhampton and in very good condition.

The second picture shows a 1972 Qualcast quarter section, very professionally done and a 1971 circular section made by IBR again very well done and in excellent condition.



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All very nice Andy, the later ones must have been the last of the Mills in British use, before the introduction of the L2 series. There seems to be fewer of the later ones around.
No wonder I cannot find a good condition Gibbons, you seem to have them all ! :tinysmile_fatgrin_t Do they have a specific base plug ? do you have any that say "dummy for throwing practice" Tony.

hi guys dont want to miss out in the fun
i have some grenades i will post them tomorrow if you could please tell me if they have all the right bitts etc ?:tinysmile_shy_t:
Hi Tony,

a couple of my Gibbons have base plugs marked J G W 23/11, the rest are all different. I have an aluminium plug marked dummy etc but it was bought as a plug. There were Gibbons Spring grens in the IWM with no 5 plugs but who knows if they were original to the bodies. However, we did check up on one of them, had the curator look at the archive history on one and he stated that it had been with the museum since 1923 so the no 5 plug had been on it a long time so its possible there were no 5 Gibbons. If only it could talk. I always though that the no 23 Gren was a parallel development by J Gibbons at the same time as the Mills no 5, they certainly took over its design and development culminating in the no 36 so maybe Mills also produced Gibbons style grens. Who knows? I am sure there are many more much more knowlegeable forum members than i who could throw some light here.
I reccon it possible that the 23/1 was with the troops in 1915 but no plugs seem to have been found pre 6/16. Maybe thats because all the initial 23 plugs were cast iron and did not survive. I have only seen 1 such plug, copper washed, but only the year 1916 was readable. If only!!!!

Hi all,

here is another one. Originally a drill 36 training gren with the 5 holes which have been welded up and ground smooth so the body can be converted into a table lighter. You can see that a small plug has been added at the top for a wick. The lever has had a V shaped slot cut out of the top end to accomodate the lighter end bit that fitted into the striker hole.
Its up and ready to go as you can see from the spark plug screwed into the filler hole.
Not many know that 36 filler hole threads are very similar to those used by spark plugs.
Theres an idea for those cleaning engines etc. The plug holes could be filled by 36 filler screws!!!!!



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Hi again all,

last night [up the pub], as good a place as any i find to discuss grenades and terrorise the locals with drill bodies etc, i found out from a mate whose a farrier that its near imposible to galvanise cast iron. This is due i believe to the amount of carbon content in the metal which leads me back to my earlier theories re Gibbon Spring Grens.
It has been said that they were often galvanised but i have never seen what i thought was a galvanised gren. Yes, i have seen something on them, a very thin greenish substance yet so thinly applied. If this was galvanisation, wouldnt it be a lot thicker and have survived better? My theory is that most Gibbons were in fact painted blue and the paint then oxidised green over time and of course wore off with use. Three of my grens show this 'green' and i am not conviced its from a galvanisation process. Anyway, cast iron dosnt rust anything like pressed steel or things like levers, ringpulls etc. Anyone else have any thoughts?

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Have a look at this link, it may be of some interest to this topic.
[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanization"]Galvanization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia@@AMEPARAM@@/wiki/File:Question_book-new.svg" class="image"><img alt="Question book-new.svg" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/9/99/Question_book-new.svg/50px-Question_book-new.svg.png"@@AMEPARAM@@en/thumb/9/99/Question_book-new.svg/50px-Question_book-new.svg.png[/ame] Although mentioned in several manuals, I have never seen a Galvanized Mills Drill grenade either. Tony.
Hi Tony,
i think that you have finally cleared up that theory for me completely in that i dont think that the Gibbons Spring grens were ever galvanised. OK, i can understand that the outside of the gren would wear, being thrown all the time but not the inside! All my grens have rusty insides, not bad, but ime sure the galvanisation process would be very evident here. Not a sign in any of them and i reccon blue paint is the answer. Whether its electric or hot galvanisation the inside would have been done too.
Well done bud, i think you have cracked it, i dont think theres any other answer and those who think otherwise will have to do some very convincing talking.

Whooopie do.

Gibbons coating

Hi Guys.
Heres some close ups of my gibbons. showing its grayish coating.
I was always lead to believe it is a zinc coating. If it was paint it would surely have chipped edges where worn as nearly all painted grens seen to be thickly painted. the coating on this one is only a very thin wash.
hope some one can come up with a definate answer.
Cheers, Paul.


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Hi Paul,
i have a 23 that looks identical to yours Gibbons in paint/galvanised colour but when i remove the filler screw there is evidence of paint and its bright blue cos no light has oxidised it. Theres no evidence of any paint or galvanisation on the inside. If it was galvanised then surely it had to be done both inside and out even it there was a base plug screwed home as the Gibbons had no filler screw, the area in front being ground down as well. I never have thought they were anything but painted, again very thinly, and that they were originally blue. Surely something of a galvanisation process should show on the inside too, paint would be unlikely?


just had another thought, the documents say that the 23s were protected from rust by either shellac or a fermangen process, perhaps the Gibbons were protected with this system? Any ideas about this process?


Hmmmm. Mine is rusty inside and shows no sign of any coating.
No idea what the fermangen coating is.
Im off to scour my old manuals to see what i can find.
Zinc was used !

Hi Guys.
If you have a copy of Rick Landers book "GRENADE" have a look at page 79 which states No23 m2's and 3's were painted white or zinc plated and Gibbons practice grens are "generaly found with traces of zinc coating"
this seems to clear it up for me.
Hope some one disagrees and has a better theory.
Cheers, Paul.
Hi Paul n Tony,

i dont know any better than the next man re the coatings, however all i can say is that if you look at my piccy of the 3 training grens, a no 23 and 2 WW1 36s, the 23 looks very similar to the coloration on Gibbons Spring grens and yet this has been painted as its bright blue behind the filler screw and in other places and nothing at all inside. Darryl Lynn has stated that blue was a WW1 training gren colour, it maybe that the galvanisation process was only painted on, hence nothing inside and it actually may have originally been a blue colour. Thats all ime saying but my 23 was definately blue and it looks so similar now to the faint colouration of my Gibbons.
At least its opened up an area of conjecture.