It sure is a strange one thats for certain. And both of you have raised the very same questions that I have been trying to answer myself. Firstly, I don't think its a fake.!
I can't find one detail that suggests that its anything other than correct - except for the '14
date that is. The cypher, pattern number and the makers mark all match out.
And I have compared it closely with other Wilkinson examples that were made during the ER reign and dated 1911/12. Even down to the exact same inspection marks.
So I guess that brings us to the question 'why' is this so. Probably the most important thing to keep in mind is that the dates actually indicate acceptance
While the wartime mass production meant that the manufacture and acceptance dates normally coincided, this wasn't always the case especially with earlier contracts.
In the pre-war period much smaller numbers were produced, and any production over runs above the stipulated contract number would simply remain as factory 'leftovers'.
So these would most likely be put aside into the stores to never see the light of day. But all that changed when war broke out, with the shortages in the rush to mobilisation.
It is well known that rifles and bayonets were in short supply in the beginning, with a pressing need to arm all the new recruits. This one was most likely grabbed for service.
It is known that the 'end date' for the hook quillons was October 1913, but this only applied for the new production. Those ones already in service had them slowly
The bulk of the bayonets in use at the start of the war would have been hook quillons, and I have even seen surviving hookies with '14 reissue dates stamped on their ricasso.
So it seems that not everything happened 'by the book' and are not as clear cut as we would like to believe. Especially in times of war the 'rules' tended to be more overlooked.
Leaving us with the BIG question of is this the last
hooked quillon to ever be accepted into British service? (The headline mentions something about the Last of the Mohicans.!)