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Ex Military Railway Handlamp

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A friend of mine is stripping and repainting an old Handlamp.
It looks to be ex military.
Can anyone translate the lettering as to manufacturer?

The lamp was covered in a roughly applied and badly chipped thick madder red paint . After five applications of paint stripper I finally got it down to smooth bare metal.

The underneath of the base was an olive drab colour ,which I thought was rather unusual.

It was only when I applied a light spray coat of primer that things turned interesting.

‘C E & S 1955 JA2348 ‘ plus crows foot symbol appeared.

So, this must have been of military origin. It seems of rather late manufacture, I would have thought , to be a) paraffin lit and b) to a pre-grouping design.
Three aspect -traditional red and blue glass and a cut out for the clear.


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4 minutes ago, ploughman said:

So, this must have been of military origin. It seems of rather late manufacture, I would have thought , to be a) paraffin lit and b) to a pre-grouping design.


Hi Bryan,

You mentioning the date on the lamp at that it might be a bit late for Paraffin, reminded me of something. About 15 years ago I was in the local Morris OIls distributors and they had 5 gall drums of Railway Lamp Oil. I quiried it but was told they still used oil lamps at that time, and may still do.

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I have one of these lamps. It looks identical to yours but is in its original olive green. There is no sign of primer under the green. It came, about 20 years ago, from a stall (possibly at Beltring) that had quite a few of them in varying condition but none mint. They all had been used a little but suffered from bad storage and handling. Mine has the same maker's mark and part number but unfortunately the third digit of the date is obscured by rust though the last 5 is still clear. Mine still has its burner in good condition.

It is a nice thing to have on my mantelpiece in the office.


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Personally I have never seen any BR artefact with the broad arrow/crow's foot mark. There were several operation military railways in 1955, of course, and paraffin lamps were in use well into the 1960s. My suspicion is that it is more likely to be of military origin (it is not a style that I associate with BR either, I don't recall standard BR lamps having the "crinkly" top, they are usually domed)

The ubiquitous Bardic came on the scene in 1962, but I seem to recall that it took a while for the paraffin shunting lamp to be phased out (and paraffin loco headlamps lasted until the end of steam, sidelamps until the end of loose-coupled freight trains, and tail lamps even longer).

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Regarding the lamp JA2348 posted by ploughman:

This lamp can be found in VAOS section J1 Camp Equipment 1946 Traffic Control Equipment







I have a similar later version which I purchased as NOS in original box maybe 30 years ago.

It is JA0999 dated 1954. It has a rotatable 3 colour internal lens (Red, Blue,Amber and clear), and an adjustable wick arrangement. It has IMO two design flaws, 1) that after 30 minutes use, the heat from the lamp means the handle is to hot to pick up resulting in a bad burn, but you only do it once, and 2) the glass lens is mounted proud of the lamp body meaning one slight knock and the lens is damaged.  I understand it was standard issue to the Army Railway units, but it could have been used to control any type of traffic.

I have no use for such a lamp, but it is very nice and quality made object, which is why I obtained it.





I would have thought these lamp suffered from a lot of damage in use, there is no protection for the edge of the beveled glass lens which stands proud of the lamp body. One slight knock and the glass lens will be damaged.





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