Sterling guns became the stars of wars

GLOBAL arms company Sterling produced nearly half a million submachine guns in exclusive Government contracts that gave British forces state-of-the-art weapons to fight in the Falklands, Northern Ireland and the Gulf War. The Dagenham company rose to the

GLOBAL arms company Sterling produced nearly half a million submachine guns in exclusive Government contracts that gave British forces state-of-the-art weapons to fight in the Falklands, Northern Ireland and the Gulf War.

The Dagenham company rose to the top of British arms-making to become the MoD's submachine gun supplier in 1953, after being ordered to make weapons by the Government in 1939, but collapsed and was sold off to British Aerospace in 1989.

In its heyday, 1,600 men and women toiled at the Rainham Road South plant - now the Gold Gym - making reliable hand-held killing machines firing 550 rounds a minute, used during the Suez Crisis, and later the Cold War.

The Sterling L2A3 Mark 4 submachine gun was also manufactured under licence by the Canadian Army and the Indian Army in Kampur. The latter used it to fight Pakistan in 1965.


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