IRA Thompson Sub Machine Gun 1921 Model No 46

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The Irish Volunteers Commemorative Organisation have a Christmas treat for our members – a real part of Irish Volunteer History is in our possession and is being preserved for future generations and students of Irish Volunteer history.

Information: ”


The Colt Patent Firearms Company of Hartford Connecticut was contracted by Auto-Ordnance to manufacture the first 15000 Thompson sub-machine guns from April 1921 to May 1922. Contract was signed on 18th August 1920. All were marked “Model of 1921” and bore a serial number which was placed in four locations on the gun on the first 1000 and then in three locations with the rest.


The first commercial production gun was numbered 41 and was shipped on 31st March 1921– numbers 1 to 40 were all considered prototypes and remain to this day in Museums in the US.  Early guns were designated Model of 1919 and some were belt fed ammunition and only full automatic.


The sixth gun manufactured was serial number 46 and was the first gun consigned to Auto-Ordnance in the name of their salesman George Gordon Rorke on 2nd April. This gun was sold to the Irish Republican Army (IRA).



The first 3 Thompson sub machine guns were brought to Ireland by A. Barrett,they were numbered 46,50 and and 51, they were test fired in Dublin during the Irish War of Independence.


Irish volunteer with thompson

IRA Volunteers Co Clare

At the Border

Free State Troops Four Courts

A Model 1921 Thompson being used by an IRA volunteer in Lenadoon,Belfast, 1972,many years later..

IRA Thompson sub machine gun, Lenadoon, Belfast, 1972,

By | 2017-09-13T15:09:50+00:00 December 24th, 2011|Individual Accounts Irish Volunteers 1913-1923, Uncategorized|8 Comments


  1. Martin Bergin July 23, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    The no on that thompson is actually 761 its so rusty that it looked lile 764

    • Dermot Foley January 27, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      Ref : Thompson : The American Legend By Tracie L. Hill . Shipping records show that the 1921 Thompson No 761 was shipped 6 /3 /21 to the Amer. Rail Exp. Co., N.Y. (G.G. Rorke) The date is in the American format.

      There is no other information on record about your Thompson. However, it might have been part of an underground cache of about 100 guns found at Co Mayo in 1942.

      • Martin Bergin February 2, 2013 at 9:15 pm

        Many thanks for the info Dermot.

  2. Martin Bergin July 22, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    I have purchased a very rusty and unloved thompson no 764 i am looking for any history on it,also i need a butt stock for it any help is appreciated.

  3. Sneakerbrooklyn December 26, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Great to finally see number 46. when will you have pictures of number 50?. Fantastic website keep up the good work.


  4. admin December 25, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Hello Gordon, thank you for your help,the members appreciate it very much.

  5. Murray Willis December 25, 2011 at 2:09 am

    The 1921 “Irish Sword” has been my favourite Thompson Gun for the last 30 years.
    My first was No 708 in 1983 and I have owned about 10 since then.
    I currently own three, all O’Rorke guns.
    The Irish Thompson has some of the most interesting history of any fire-arm and as far as the Thompson gun , ranks up there with the Dillinger guns and was famous in Ireland long before 1930’s.
    Great web site and keep on the good work.

  6. Gordon Herigstad December 24, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Dear Irish volunteers:
    I would like to know more about your organization.
    The picture of serial numbers appears to be the one I brought with me when I was in Dublin in September this year. Glad to help out with the Thompson history in some small way.

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