Twenty five years ago the bible on the weapons of the Sterling Armaments Company was published, ‘The Guns of Dagenham’. This book has long been out of print and copies were reaching £500 online for copies. It was therefore very pleasing to see that the rights to publish the book had been moved from Collector Grade to Naval and Military Press and a new edition had been released, especially as copies are now available for under £30! The new edition is a light touch update and retains the formatting and style familiar to any who have bought a book from Collector Grade, however there is a new title and a snazzy new cover design.
The book has been created by using an optical character recognition software which means that there are the odd typographical errors within. However I did not find these too distracting and it seems a small price to pay to finally be able to add this volume to my bookshelf! I am told the problems are greater in the electronic version of the book, however I have only looked at the paper based version.
The book starts with a basic history of the Sterling company before briefly covering its involvement in the Lanchester sub machine gun in World War II. The meat of the book however covers the development and production of the Patchett and later Sterling guns with numerous illustrations of prototype and production weapons, publicity material, archive images and extracts from the weapons pamphlets issued with the guns. The book is detailed and comprehensive without being too dry and covers the entire history of the weapons, even including the licensed built versions made in Canada and India.
The authors make a good stab at weaving through the labrynthine history of the Sterling and it is nice to have the commments of armourers in the book which help balance the production of the weapon with its use in service. The Sterling remains a weapon held in great regard by many ex-servicemen and has an old world quality to it that has rarely been replicated since.
The book is published at £40, but is available on Amazon for as low as £25. Whether another print run will occur or not is unclear, so if you are interested, I would recommend picking up a copy whilst it is available.