POTD: The Owen Gun (Royal Australian Regiment)

    Owen gun

    Informal portrait of 15989 Corporal (Cpl) Thomas Henry (Tom) 'Buddy' Lea, 10 Platoon, D Company, 6 RAR, of Grovely, Qld, moving cautiously into a Viet Cong village with his Owen gun at the ready during the first mission by the 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR), Operation Enoggera. Cpl Lea is an Indigenous soldier of Aboriginal and South Sea Islander heritage.

    Evelyn Ernest Owen (15 May 1915 – 1 April 1949) designed the Owen machine carbine or Owen Gun in 1939. This is the topic of our Photo Of The Day. TFB wrote about it already in 2013, in the article: Made In Australia: The Owen Submachine Gun.

    As I’m sure you’ve figured out already, the Owen Gun was made and constructed in Australia and was used by their Army from 1943 until the middle of the 1960s. In the picture, we can see Corporal Thomas Henry (Buddy) Lea, from the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, 10 Platoon, D Company. According to the original caption, he “moves cautiously into a Viet Cong village with his Owen Gun at the ready during Operation Enoggera,1966.

    Below: The design of the Owen SMG is very simple. It looks like the barrel has a kind of compensator.

    The various parts of an Owen Gun. These fit together by simple bayonet catches. Since Owen Guns are precision made, a damaged part can be replaced in a few seconds. (negative by C. Bottomley).


    Source: Australian Army. Photo by: Cunneen, William James, 25 June 1966.