This week, the Quartermaster is back with a display on the Bren Light Machine Gun (LMG) Mk I (Modified), Mk II, and the Tripod Mount, Mk I as used by the Canadian Army during Second World War and the Korean War (1950 to 1953). Accepting the invitation from the Edmonton Garrison for the Alberta Family Day 2024, Valor Park Association (VPA) exhibited these iconic weapons from the collection of Claude VILLENEUVE.


This week, the Quartermaster is back with a display on the Bren Light Machine Gun (LMG) Mk I (Modified), Mk II, and the Tripod Mount, Mk I as used by the Canadian Army during Second World War and the Korean War (1950 to 1953). Accepting the invitation from the Edmonton Garrison for the Alberta Family Day 2024, Valor Park Association (VPA) exhibited these iconic weapons from the collection of Claude VILLENEUVE.


Previously known as Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Edmonton, the Edmonton Garrison is located in Sturgeon County, on the Northeast border of the City of Edmonton and covers 2500 hectares of land.  Also known as “Steele Barracks”, the Garrison is home of 3rd Canadian Division (3 Cdn Div) Headquarters, 3rd Canadian Division Support Group (3 CDSB) Headquarters, 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1 CMBG), 1 Health Service Group (1 HSG) Headquarters, 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron (408 THS), the Canadian Forces Service Prison and Detention Barracks (CFSPDB), and the 7 Canadian Forces Supply Depot (7 CFSD).  With a total population of nearly 13,000 people and its proximity to the City of Edmonton, the Edmonton military community did not hesitate to celebrate the Alberta Family Day in a big way and Valor Park Association was there too!  


For the history of the Bren LMG, the reader is invited to read the article № 4 from the “Quartermaster” entitled “The Bren Light Machine Gun of the Second World War.”  


First, it should be reminded that the Bren LMG was a gas-operated weapon using the same .303 British Mk VII Cartridge as the standard British bolt-action rifle № 1, № 4, and № 5, firing at a rate between 480 and 540 rounds per minute (rpm), depending on the model.  There was one Bren LMG per infantry section, plus some for Anti-Aircraft duty and therefore an average of 30 per infantry battalion.  The Bren LMG was operated by a team of two soldiers: a gunner (number 1) and a loader (number 2) who carried in addition to Basic Pouches with two magazines each, a pair of Utility Pouches each containing three magazines, a machete, and a spare barrel.

The Bren LMG Mk I was officially commissioned into service with the British Army in August 1938.  It was also manufactured in Canada by John Inglis Co Ltd in 1938.  The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) of 1939 went to war equipped with their new Bren LMG, including one spare barrel per gun, one sustained-fire tripod for every three guns and a Fixed Line Sight (FLS).  

During the Battle of France, the Dunkirk evacuation (codenamed “Operation DYNAMO), saw between 26 May and 4 June 1940, the evacuation of more than 338,000 Allied soldiers from the beaches and port of Dunkirk, in northern France.  The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) suffered over 68,000 casualties in addition to abandoning all its equipment in France.  The Dunkirk debacle witnessed Britain losing more than 90% of its Bren LMG inventory.  Thus, of the 30,000 Bren LMGs that it had at the start of the Battle of France (10 May 1940), Britain only had some 2,300 Bren LMGs left.  This put Britain desperately short of light machine guns, and so it was decided to modify the Bren’s design to make it simpler and therefore faster to manufacture.  The need became even greater with Japan’s entry into the war in late 1941.  

In order to replace the Bren LMG losses suffered during the evacuation as well as to accelerate Bren LMG production, a “two-pronged approach” was adopted, and two schemes were approved.  The first scheme will make modifications to the existing Mk I pattern and will be known as pattern Mk I (Modified).  This will only require some tooling modifications and thus the Bren LMG will continue to be produced at Royal Small Arms Factory (RSAF) Enfield.  The second scheme will see a redesign of several parts in order to simplify the design and thus speed up its production.  This required new tooling.  

The Mk I (Modified) modifications involved elimination of some machining operations and simplifying others.  The modifications included the elimination of the dovetail slot for the ineffective Lensatic sight, the flutes surrounding the gas cylinder, the butt strap, and the butt handle.  This series of modifications resulted in a cost saving of 20% to 25% or around £10 on an average cost of £40 (equivalent in purchasing power to about £2,806.21 in 2024).  

The Mk II, introduced in 1941, was a simplified version of the Mk I (Modified).  More suited to wartime production with original design features subsequently found to be unnecessary deleted.  Among the changes were a new folding leaf backsight instead of a drum one, simplified bolt, less body machining, fixed (non-folding) cocking handle, and fixed height bipod.  In Britain, the Mk II was produced by the consortium “Monotype Group” through several component manufacturing factories (eight sub-contractors).  Production in Canada started in 1940 at the Inglis plant and by August 1942 the production was averaging 10,000 Bren LMGs per month.  By 1943 some 60% of Bren LMG production was eventually carried out in Canada.  

A chronic shortage of the weapon persisted until late 1942, when production of the gun by the UK, Canada, and Australia made up the shortfall.  By the end of the war, Bren LMG Mk I, Mk I (Modified) and Mk II were in significant numbers in all British fighting divisions: 1,262 per armored division, 1,376 per infantry division, and 966 in one airborne division.


The Bren LMG Mk III was created on 26 May 1944.  Equipped with the Mk IV shorter barrel of 22.25 inches (versus 25 inches for the Mk II barrel), this Bren LMG was designated for parachute and jungle warfare operations.  Modifications included a lightened receiver body, a simplified magazine well cover and ejection port cover, a new butt, a shorter barrel (2.25 inches), and the Mk I bipod reinstated.  

The pattern Mk IV was a modification of the Mk I to Mk III.  Latest version of the Bren in its original caliber.  Manufactured in small numbers from 1944 to 1958.


The Second World War Bren LMG production breakdown is as follow:

Mk I, Mk I (Modified), Mk IIMk IIITotal
RSAF Enfield220,000
Monotype Group83,43839,625
John Inglis Co Ltd122,0003,000

Added to these numbers are the 9,812,785 magazines (30 rounds) manufactured.


Three tripod mounting models have been issued into Services.  They were mainly a tubular structure with three legs, a traversing segment, and traversing and elevating gear.  A total of 127,263 Mounting, Tripods of all models were made by either Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) in England or in Canada by Canadian Cycle and Motor (CCM) under sub-contract by John Inglis Company.

  • Mounting, Tripod, Mk I with its adjustable front leg included an Anti-Aircraft (AA) capability with a bracket for the Bren LMG.  It weights 32 lb. 
  • Mounting, Tripod, Mk II with its fixed front leg and no AA capability.  
  • Mounting, Tripod, Mk II*, intended for airborne and jungle warfare operations, was identical to the Mk II but with shorter legs and right frame member and traversing segment were hinged so that the mounting folded for carrying purposes.  

Here is the list of items that were displayed.

Here is the list of items that were displayed.  

Light Machine Gun, Bren, Mk I (Modified) with proper sling and hooks Made by Inglis in 1943 Serial № 5T1249 (Carried by № 1) (Catalog Number BE 8176)

Light Machine Gun, Bren, Mk II with proper sling and hooks
Made by Inglis in 1943
Serial № 8T4401
(Carried by № 1)
(Catalog Number BE 4160)

Barrel, Bren, Mk IV
(Catalog Number BH 0557)

2.5-inch shorter barrel for airborne and jungle warfare operations.

Wallet, Bren, 303-in, M.G., Mk I

1942 (UK)

(Carried by № 1)

Containing the following:

(Catalog Number BE 9344)

  • Can, Oil, M.G., Mk III
  • Box, Small Parts, M.G., № 4, Mk I
  • Cleaners, Gas Regulator
  • Spare Gauze
  • Pull through, Single
  • Tool, Combination, M.G., Mk I

Holdall, Bren, 303-in, M.G., Mk I 1944 (UK)

(Carried by № 2)

Containing the following:

(Catalog Number BE 9445)

  • Bottle, Oil (Graphite Grease)
  • Can, Oil, M.G., Mk III
  • Rod, Cleaning
  • Brush, Rod, Cleaning Cylinder
  • Mop, Rod, Cleaning Cylinder
  • Pull through, Double
  • Tool, Removing Fouling
  • Second Barrel

Utility Pouches, Front and Rear

(Carried by № 2)

(Front – Catalog Number AA 1515)

(Rear – Catalog Number AA 1516)


  • Three magazines in each Utility Pouch.
  • Two magazines in each Basic Pouch.

Machete in leather Scabbard

(Carried by № 2)

Bren, Mounting, Tripod, Mk I

(Catalog Number BE 8877)

Note: With telescopic front leg and AA mount.

Box, Magazines,

Bren, 303 in, Mk I*

(Catalog Number BD 6094)

Note: 12 Magazines of 30 rounds each.

Bren, Winter Warfare White Scabbard


Lamp, Aiming, MG Mk III

(Catalog Number BD 2059)

Powered by two 1,5V Batteries, Cell, Dry X, Mk I.

(Total 3V)


There will be more to see from our Quartermaster so…come to see us either at shows or our “micro” Museum!  The VPA’s “micro” museum is located at SEBARMS Guns, Gear and Collectibles, 11569 – 149 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, T5M 1W9.  The museum hours of operation are:

  • Tuesday: from 10 to 15 hours. 
  • Wednesday: from 10 to 15 hours. 
  • Thursday: from 10 to 15 hours. 
  • Friday: from 10 to 15 hours. 

Until next time,

The Quartermaster


Primary sources

British Army 26/G. S. Pubns./740 – Small Arms Training, Volume I, Pamphlet № 4, Light Machine Gun, 12th August 1942, The War Office

British Army 26/G. S. Pubns./607 – Small Arms Training, Volume I, Pamphlet № 6, Anti-Aircraft, 14th January 1942, The War Office

British Army 26/ G. S. Publications/1076 – Infantry Training, Part VIII – Fieldcraft, Battle Drill, Section and Platoon Tactics, 4th March 1944, The War Office

British Army Parts List for Gun, Machine, Bren, 303-in, Mk 3, 1944, Section C1, January 1945, The War Office

Canadian Army, War Establishment (WE) Cdn III/127/2 – A Canadian Parachute Battalion, Approved under COS 139, Effective Date 19th May 1944

Secondary Sources

Dugelby, Thomas B., The Ben Gun Saga, Collector Grade Publications incorporated, Edited by R. Blake Stevens, Toronto, Canada, 1986, 261 pages, ISBN-10: 0-88935-045-0

Gordon, David B., Weapons of the WWII Tommy, Revised and Expended Edition, Pictorial Histories Publishing Co., Missoula, U.S.A., 2010, 778 pages, ISBN-13: 978-1-57510-159-0

Skennerton, Ian,.303-in. Bren Light Machine Gun, Parts Identification & Lists, Bren L.M.G. Series Notes, Exploded Parts Drawings, Descriptions, Accessories & Fittings, Small Arms Identification Series № 5, Published by Ian Skennerton, Labrador, Australia, 2004, 48 pages, ISBN-10: 0-949749-23-0

Skennerton, Ian, British Small Arms of World War 2 – The complete guide to weapons, maker’s codes & 1936-1946 contracts, Small Arms Identification Series № 5, published by Ian Skennerton, Margate, Australia, 1988, 110 pages, ISBN-10: 0-949749-09-5


Si vis pacem, para bellum, Bren gun: full disassembly & assembly, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKbaL_pW8cU 

3D Gunner, How a Bren Light Machine Gun works, https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=dHzg7GM-YAQ


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Donate your prohibited firearm or firearm to the Valour Park Association. We have a prohibited firearms licence and can accept any firearm, including Prohibited Firearms.

Questions? Contact Hans J. Brink, CFSC Instructor.