Australian Cops Mistake Lewis Hythe Mk III Gun Camera For A Firearm

At a recent firearms amnesty in Australia, a Lewis Hythe Mk III Gun Camera was recently turned in, and appeared to be mistaken for an actual firearm. Although the Hythe MkIII does share the receiver, grip and drum magazine attachment point, it is very far from ever being an actual functioning magazine fed machine gun, like the .303 Lewis it was based off of. The media mentioned that some of the firearms turned in were of “strange shapes and sizes”, in addition to some of the “quirkiest guns” seen. An elderly woman from Queensland turned in the Lewis Hythe, along with some some actual firearms such as extremely rare Lugers and a 1911 missing a grip panel. Altogether 26,000 small arms were turned in during the amnesty. Similar amnesties in the United States have turned in similar rare finds, such as this STG44 in Los Angeles.

Photographs from the news article on

The Lewis Hythe was a contraption invented out of necessity during the First World War for British aviators to take precision photographs during flight. Because airmen were so accustomed to the mounted Lewis Guns on their planes for actual combat, fitting a camera into a modified receiver allowed an easier transition for use during flight. Pressing the trigger would take a photograph, while charging the Lewis Hythe would shift the film to the next roll. Forgotten Weapons has an excellent write up about the finer points of development and use during the war if readers are interested in learning more. Although very rare, some are still available on the market today, this one being sold on Ebay for fifteen hundred dollars.


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • txJM

    Easy enough mistake to make.

  • Major Tom

    They better put that camera up for auction or a museum. There’s probably more history seen and done with that camera than most folks contribute in their entire lives.

    • Jay Ross

      Nope. Has a trigger? It gets crushed. Only way to keep the children safe.

      Their plan is to have everyone forget death exists by 2100. Whenever someone gets to 40 years of age they’ll just push them out to sea on a raft of kangaroos to the far far land so they don’t have to watch them die.

      • B-Sabre

        I guess they are scared somebody might get….(puts on sunglasses)…triggered.

      • Spencer

        Ahhh yes Carrousel! Better get that red gem in your wrist looked at.

      • Marlon

        That’s absolute bullshit.

        There are already a number of firearms in the Australian amnesty that are earmarked for museums. The ones I’m aware of include a few artillery model Lugers and a PPSH41.

        Furthermore, the gun camera is already registrable under existing Australian firearms laws. The ridiculousness of that aside, it means that it can be legally owned.

        Stop talking in such extremes.

        • BryanS

          Yeah, next thing you know they will be banning things.

          Oh, wait.

          I think people on this side of the pacific understand that Australia and england are test cases in giving up tiny things, and eventually having the state come to your house for the rest.

          • BOB

            we still have a right to bear arms in england, anything that is legal, you know the document your constitution was copied from.

          • Gareth Fairclough

            You try getting something other than a 22 then!
            Around these parts, it’s an absolute nightmare to get anything.

          • BOB

            don’t need to mate, got a 7mm rem mag, 12 gauge fac box fed shotty, 2 .22lr semis, mp5 and ar15, a .300aac lever release a long barrel .22lr pistol, a short barrel .22lr pistol for humane dispatch and a cabinet full of section 2 shottys. I genuinely have no idea why you’re having trouble if they gave you a .22lr. I’m in the SE where are you?

          • Humpy

            You failed to tell people you can’t keep these at your house, but the common man cannot get these, that you are probably rich and a landowner.

          • BOB

            Oh but we can Humpy. As for free you realise how hilarious that is when you have california. by the way people who have served a prison sentence can also still have a firearms certificate, some thing truly free americans could only wish for.

  • free

    Australia isnt a free country, like UK/EU. Few elite ruling peoples life with TV MSM tool and laws to force dissidents, new middle age.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Thats nice.
      Go run and play now.

      • free


    • Graham2

      I would post some erudite words to counter your claims, however, you probably wouldn’t understand, so I won’t waste my time on you.

      Instead, I’ll simply state that you are talking bollocks!

    • Peter Nissen

      No – Australia is not a free country. The current government now want ALL states to allow the AFP access to EVERYONE’s photo driver’s licence for ID purposes (funny how Stalin used something similar before his Purges) and 14 day detention before being charged (Most people talk after 3 days with sleep – so whats an extra 11 days). Yeah – all fun here so long as you shut up, drink yourself stupid and throw another prawn on the BBQ!

      • Marlon

        I feel pretty damn free down here, despite restrictions on my favourite hobby.

        Firearms ownership is not the be all and end all of freedoms.

        • jono102

          Yeah it is a strange way to measure it, I’d think things like access to free medical care etc would be a better indicator.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Wonder if there was any film in it…?

  • b0x3r0ck

    That old lady was sitting on a small fortune.

    • elryanoo

      Husband probably died leaving her with the thing not knowing what it was.

  • KidCorporate

    Did they destroy it!? Now THAT would be a gun crime.

  • jcitizen

    It is disgusting what happened in that country! A travesty of human rights, quality art, and history, all rolled up in a pile of dung! Makes me want to puke!!!

  • Matt O

    According to the article on forgotten weapons that you linked to, these were used for training gunners how to aim correctly, not observation.

    • Which would make sense. A literal “gun camera” for use in flight training.

    • Marlon

      They were used to train observers, if that helps.

      The crewman would ‘fire’ the weapon at another aircraft with the suitable amount of lead. That would trip the shutter for the camera. When developed, the film would show instructors whether or not the trainee was aiming correctly.

  • Anomanom

    A fair mistake. I wouldn’t have been able to tell except that there is no place for bullets to enter the receiver from a drum.

    • Gavin Greaves

      You wouldnt have missed the lack of a barrel? That the water jacket is just a steel pipe? Surely you would have.

      The police shouldnt even have it except they can pull the arbitrary “looks like” rule. Hopefully our war memorial museum scored at least the camera.

      Australia is not a free country and this is the determining factor free people can defend themselves and yet in Australia depending on which State we lost the ability to defend our homes and families from invasion and protection by firearm in the 80’s and early 90’s the last fell.

      Since then we have had our rights eroded to the point we cannot prepare in anyway to defend ourselves by taking up any for o defensive weapon, like a baseball bat, mace has never been legal or pepper spray is I think available in one state to ward of dog attacks. Any preparation to defend your home by placing something in position to use as a weapon is considered preconcieved idea to attack someone and can result in charges up to murder. Even Police literature on home invasion say for women with the possibility of rape they suggested urinating oneself defecating if possible while curled up on the floor. These suggestions were so ridiculed they have in the main been removed from Police sites and moved instead to Crime prevention websites.

      Anyone defending Australia as a nation of free citizens in a man standing in a desert saying he cant see the forrest for the trees.

      We gun owners do our best to keep what firearms we have but truth known we have made no headway since 1996 to getting firearms legislation overturned despite significant evidence worldwide and now the imminent threat of ISIL invasion from their expansion into Indonesia.

      That and we have no effective long range air-force due to the Joint Strike Fighter failure and buying a contract for the supply of submarines from 2020 to 2050 a submarine never yet built and that doesnt meet the stated requirements.

      We are run by idiots who think we are safe because they themselves can travel with armed guards.

  • Vincent

    My heart aches for the Lugers and the cam.
    I don’t want to think about what may happen to them.
    At least send them to the US where they can be taken care of by museums and collectors instead of torched or “deactivated”.

    • Marlon

      They will be sent to a museum, most likely the AWM in Canberra.

  • William M Durham

    Sadly the liberal government of that great nation feels that its own citizens cannot be trusted with weapons. Very soon they will be a helpless against threats of terror and assault that their mother country , now under complete control by radical muslims, where the citizens have been stripped of their right to protect themselves but the radical muslims can still have any weapon they want through their terror connections and not to mention build all the bombs they care to blow up when they want to since the government are totally helpless to prevent it. Proof is in the News daily.

    • Graham2

      I take it you live in the UK!

  • Mr. Katt

    Yep, they sure are keeping the streets safe . . . no guns, no cameras. What’s next for the land of stupid ?

  • Benjamin Goldstein

    They didnt mistake it for a gun… In the sate it was handed in, Because it is a facsimile of a machine gun, it’s actually classed as one. Being a cat R, it may need to be welded and destroyed for it to be retained on a license..

  • BryanS

    I enjoy the freedom that comes with the reason “because I want one and can afford it”. I dont have to ask for 90% of the firearms that I want.

    Nor do I have to permit, transfer, or ask to modify my long arms.

    But, I will state, that neither of us are truly free in this regard. Your permitting schemes are much worse than they are in my part of the US. It is not much of a right when you have to ask. And can you truly bear (carry) arms in the UK?

  • jimpeel

    A. What was the turn-in rate of return? IE: What were they paying for each firearm turned in?

    B. What would that cased Luger sell for on the open market? $10k? $15k?