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 news.com.au
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.