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Pattern 1888 Bayonets


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#26 shippingsteel

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 12:25 AM

Obverse of the Wilkinson showing wartime ('15) reissue date on that side as with p1907s, but no date/cypher visible on the front side

Chris I believe you may have your photos a bit mixed in this post. I think the shots on the right are a matching pair, so that makes it the Sanderson with the '15 reissue mark, going on the ricasso shape as well as the inspection marks, which are the same as on my Sanderson example posted earlier. So that makes it the Wilkinson photos on the left with the matching ricasso shape. But there is a problem here as the cypher should normally be placed above the makers name, as on the example shown below. Which side ricasso are these markings applied on your Wilkinson - I can't tell from the photos. Somebody may have made a simple mistake, or it could originally have been made as a volunteer pattern (without cypher) and then had it added later, and it went on the wrong side. Bit of a strange one - but have another look and let me know if I'm on the right track, either that or I'm totally bamboozled.!!

Cheers, S>S

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#27 shippingsteel

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 12:43 AM

Sometimes we historians and collectors learn more about these infernal things than the guys in the war knew or would have ever cared to have known. Their main concerns were probably about getting drunk and laid on their next trip home to Blighty. As for bayonets, their principal concern about them was probably whether money would be deducted from their pay had they lost one.

Thats right Pete, at the time these things were just another piece of kit they had to lump around with them, and keep in fairly reasonable condition to pass inspection on parade.!
Check out the photo below, talk about some irreverent treatment - just shows that occasionally these things did come in handy.!! Was this the first "multi-tool" ever invented.!! :lol:

Cheers, S>S

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#28 4thGordons

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 01:02 AM

S>S
You are quite correct, apologies I juxtaposed the photos when naming the files:
6/93 Sanderson has a '15 reissue date
3/01 Sanderson has no cypher
7/01 has an EFD stamp on the obverse (along with an inspection and a bend test)
Wilkinson (without cypher /issue date etc) is actually the p1903 made with a p88 blade and is on the opposite side to the example you show. Pic to follow.
Chris

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#29 shippingsteel

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 04:50 AM

Wilkinson (without cypher /issue date etc) is actually the p1903 made with a p88 blade and is on the opposite side to the example you show. Pic to follow.
Chris

Ah, so that explains it - the Wilkinson was most probably an unissued blank blade, either that or a volunteer version bayonet without the cypher. After the P1903 was introduced, the P'88 Wilkinson blade would have been used to make into the newly converted P1903 bayonet. Somewhere in the process the blade was flipped over and the makers name ended up on the wrong side, the Crown49W would have been the new inspection mark after the conversion, and it was put on the normal side - so problem solved. There were plenty of volunteer versions made around the time of the Boer War which because they were not purchased on government contract, never received the cypher mark eg. your Sanderson 3 '01.

Cheers, S>S

#30 shippingsteel

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 05:07 AM

4thgordons, what is the meaning of the OO on the ricasso in your 1st picture? It isn't a reissue stamp is it? I ask because my example has the exact mark in the exact same place...

It appears that Chris may have missed this one. Anyway, I reckon its probably just the reissue stamp for the 1900 date, could have been applied by the very same inspector, who had a bit of a liking for that particular possie ....

Cheers, S>S

#31 4thGordons

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 01:03 PM

4thgordons, what is the meaning of the OO on the ricasso in your 1st picture? It isn't a reissue stamp is it? I ask because my example has the exact mark in the exact same place...

Sorry - I did miss this....must be all the paint/stain fumes hereabouts today! :wacko:
I had always assumed it was a reissue date (1900) however it does look a bit more like OO (oh oh) rather than 00 (nought nought) doesn't it.
What are the other markings on yours are they similar those on mine?
Chris

#32 shippingsteel

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 01:59 AM

Getting back to the Great War service examples, here are some more shots of the Enfield 10 '01 that has the 1916 reissue date and the dulled wartime refinish.

You can see its copped its fair share of battering over the years with plenty of bruising to the timber grips and the brass rivets. Also clearly visible are the marked out rack numbers on the right hand side, and the marked out letter N on the left, which signifies Naval service at some point. As usual these markings throw up more questions about with who, when and where this bayonet may have seen service. Much of these details are obviously open to speculation but I like to think each marking is like a small clue that can help to expand the story behind the items history.

For example, the rack number is fairly high which would indicate issue to quite a large unit. What size units made up the complements of Royal Marines that were in the battle groups, or that served with the RND and other Naval units in the frontlines.?
The bayonets were originally made to attach to the MLM and the MLE rifles. Which period were these particular rifles issued for Naval service and was there a certain time when they were replaced or removed from service.?
This example was reissued again for service in 1916. Does that date have any special importance in relation to the land activities of the RND and other associated Naval units.?
If anyone has got any ideas or answers to the above questions I would appreciate your thoughts and discussion.

Cheers, S>S

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#33 N White

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 03:49 AM

I've put this up sometime in the past - it's chromed, came in an odd metal scabbard, and has no visible maker. Also reissue dates post WWI and possibly even later... Only have these 2 pics handy, tomorrow in the light I'll take better ones, the overall shot is 3 years and 3 cameras ago. Things have improved since then...

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Posted Image

#34 TonyE

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 09:37 AM

S>S - Army organisation is not my forte, particularly not that of the RND or RM, but I can give you some basic details.

First your "899" numbered bayonet. The normal organisational level for marking equipment was battalion level, and since a 1914 British battalion at full strength had 977 men and 30 officers a rack number of 899 should not be unusual. Also, rack numbers would only have been stamped on the rifles/bayonets in depot, not in the field. After all, there were no racks in the field.

When the Royal Naval Division was formed in 1914 it took its organisation from the army with three brigades of four battalions.Their arms seem to have been mixed. Pictures of the Royal Marine Light infantry at Antwerp in 1914 clearly show them armed with SMLEs with P.07 bayonets but when the division went to Gallipoli I think some were still armed with L-Es rather than SMLEs judging by limited photographic evidence. However, others may be able to confirm or correct that.

In June 1916 the old 63rd Division was broken up and the RND was transferred to full army control in France and re-numbered as the 63rd Division.

I hope that helps, and others can probably add more details.

Regards
TonyE

#35 shippingsteel

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 09:57 AM

Thanks TonyE, do you know when the Navy was first issued with the MLE and when they were eventually replaced, possibly by the Arisaka.?
I agree with the rack number correlating with a battalion size land unit. I wouldn't think the on board complements of Marines would ever have reached that number.

Cheers, S>S

#36 TonyE

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 10:30 AM

I do not know when the Royal Navy replaced their MLMs with MLEs, but I suspect it was quite late as they usually held older equipment longer than the army.

As for the date that they exchanged their MLE and SMLEs for Arisakas, the date of Churchill's order was 25th November 1914. How long it took to implement with ships all over the world is another matter. Also it seems only to have applied to those arms on board ships.

Here is Churchill's order.

THE RIFLE SHORTAGE
The following course is to be adopted:-
1. As soon as the War Office are ready to hand over the 50,000 Japanese rifles, the whole of the rifles, long and short, whether used by sailors or marines, on board H.M. ships at home and abroad, will be collected and brought on shore to the Royal Naval Ordnance Depots. The Japanese rifles will be issued to all ships in their place; there will be no rifles of any sort on board H.M. ships other than Japanese.
2. From the British rifles surrendered by the Fleet, 15,000 short .303 charger loading rifles will be set aside for the Royal Naval Division, i.e. one rifle for each of 12,000 men, plus 25 per cent for reserve and training. All the rifles now possessed by the Royal Naval Division will then be surrendered to the Ordnance depots for the 15,000 short British .303, and no more.
3. There will then be handed over to the Army 57,800 rifles, of which 9,000 will be short charger loading.
4. The 50,000 Japanese rifles will then be issued to the Fleet in the following proportion:-
One rifle for each marine and one rifle for every five sailors, ships on foreign service receiving one rifle for every three sailors. The rest of the rifles will be issued as required to trawlers and auxiliaries, and kept in the Royal Marine and Royal Naval Ordnance depots.
The Fleet will thus be completely re-armed with the 50,000 Japanese rifles, and the Royal Naval Division with .303 short rifles ready for field service.
Let me now have calculations worked out on this basis; and draft a letter accordingly to the War Office.
November 25, 1914 W.S.C.


Regards
TonyE

#37 Captain G.

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 08:14 PM

I've put this up sometime in the past - it's chromed, came in an odd metal scabbard, and has no visible maker. Also reissue dates post WWI and possibly even later... Only have these 2 pics handy, tomorrow in the light I'll take better ones, the overall shot is 3 years and 3 cameras ago. Things have improved since then...

Posted Image



The odd scabbard in the above picture is for a U.S. Krag Jorgenson bayonet. The steel belt hanger is removed that hinged or swiveled on the metal button at the throat.

#38 N White

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 12:08 AM

I never thought of a Krag scabbard, as mine is covered in enamel paint and the Krags are blued. I suppose it is, although it fits the p88 like it was made for it, despite the p88 being about a cm longer (305 vs 295mm) that what I see for Krag blade length. Fun. 1 mystery down at least. Thanks!

#39 shippingsteel

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 10:40 AM

When the Royal Naval Division was formed in 1914 it took its organisation from the army with three brigades of four battalions.Their arms seem to have been mixed. Pictures of the Royal Marine Light infantry at Antwerp in 1914 clearly show them armed with SMLEs with P.07 bayonets but when the division went to Gallipoli I think some were still armed with L-Es rather than SMLEs judging by limited photographic evidence. However, others may be able to confirm or correct that.

TonyE, I do believe there is quite a bit of conflicting information regarding what rifles the Naval units were actually armed with early on in the war. As you know the SMLE rifles were in short supply and I think the Navy's requirements would have always been seen as secondary to the needs of the Army. From that Churchill memorandum you would expect that all the Naval forces that were in Antwerp would have been equipped with SMLE's but that is clearly not the case, see the photo below. While the RMLI may have had some SMLE's, other units of the RND obviously still had use of the MLE long rifles. And as you mentioned, from what I've read the RND also took their MLE's with them again when they were sent out for the Gallipoli campaign.

Cheers, S>S

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#40 4thGordons

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 01:03 PM

S>S
How about the SMLE (closest to the camera)? :whistle:
I think it most likely the RND had (like the army at the time) a mix of SMLEs ans LEs. There is an extensive thread on this entitled "what rifles did the RND use at Antwerp" or some such.
Chris

#41 shippingsteel

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 01:45 PM

Know of any good photos that show the MLE in action with the British at Gallipoli.?

Cheers, S>S

#42 TonyE

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 01:49 PM

I agree that the RND had both long and short rifles. I was speaking specifically about the RMLI whan I said they had SMLEs and P.07 bayonets at Antwerp. See the pictures in Martin Middlebrooks book "Your country needs you".

Where there is uncertainty is which battalions had which type of rifle. I think it unlikely there were mixed types in the same battalion, although if the SMLEs were still sighted for Mark VI ammunition it would not have mattered.

Prior to the formation of the RND in 1914 it would make sense if the Royal Marines, as the navy's sldiers, had the more modern rifles and the ships' companies the older type. The Admiralty did not like getting rid of anything if it still could be used. They even still had some Maxim guns in .577/450 calibre at the outbreak of war.

Regards
TonyE

#43 shippingsteel

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 02:04 PM

What is the difference between the Mark VI and Mark VII ammunition for the LE rifles. I read that the RND was having issues with supply of the correct ammunition at Gallipoli because they were still using the MLE. Can you please explain this TonyE.

Cheers, S>S

#44 TonyE

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 03:47 PM

It is basiacally one of ballistics and sighting. The Ball Mark VI was introduced in 1904 (although it was almost identical to the Mark II but don't worry about that) and had a round nosed bullet weighing 215 grains. Muzzle velocity was 2000 fps.

In 1910 the Mark VII was introduced which is the cartridge that remained the norm until the end of the .303 in the 1970s. This had a pointed bullet weighing 174 grns and a muzzle velocity of 2440 fps. As you can see, a lighter bullet fired at a higher velocity had a different trajectory to the earlier round. Add the complication that early SMLE Mark III rifles made between 1907 and 1911 were sighted for the Mark VI and you can see why it was important to issue the correct ammo. Another no less important point (no pun intended) was that adjustments were necessary to the magazine feed lips to make the different types feed correctly. There was a small adjustable clip on the front of the Case No.3 (magazine) that did the same job, but not all rifles had that.

I have to go out now, coincidentally to a meeting at the IWM, but I will post pictures of the two rounds later.

Regards
TonyE

#45 Pete1052

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 03:49 PM

They even still had some Maxim guns in .577/450 calibre at the outbreak of war.

Tony probably has one down in his cellar. He spends the entire winter reloading ammo so in the spring he can fire a 60-second burst at Bisley.

#46 TonyE

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 09:43 PM

Sssssh, Pete!

Regards
TonyE

#47 shippingsteel

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 01:36 PM

Found this nice photo of the P1888 bayonet fixed to the MLE and ready for action. Definitely Scottish unit, early war period - might be one of yours Chris.! (Keep yer head doon laddie.!!) :o

Cheers, S>S

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#48 4thGordons

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 08:56 PM

Found this nice photo of the P1888 bayonet fixed to the MLE and ready for action. Definitely Scottish unit, early war period - might be one of yours Chris.! (Keep yer head doon laddie.!!) :o

Cheers, S>S

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Interesting - appears to have non standard P08 ammunition pouches - perhaps a territorial pattern.
Got a source for the picture?
Chris

#49 shippingsteel

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 04:32 AM

Interesting - appears to have non standard P08 ammunition pouches - perhaps a territorial pattern.
Got a source for the picture?
Chris

Thought I'd let you have an educated guess - you're not far off the money. Soldier of the Liverpool Scottish which were a Territorial regiment, located I think in a trench somewhere in Belgium during 1915.
Also note the bayonet is a Mk.I with the clearance hole in the grip. That would make it at least 15 years in service at the time of the photo. The age of the rifle would be anyones guess. The Territorials must have really had to "make do" as far as weapons and kit was concerned.

Cheers, S>S

#50 shippingsteel

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 07:26 AM

Chris, I took the liberty of bringing your Sanderson 6 '93 example back for another look, see below. I find this one fairly interesting on a number of counts. Firstly its been re-issued again for service in 1915 (red circle), that would make it a 22 year old item at the time of re-issue.! Secondly the inspection mark is a little unusual with the letter prefix being RE (see blue square). This makes me wonder if it was a battlefield refurbishment job that was done close to the frontlines.? I have seen the RE before but am not sure what it signifies, could it mean an armourer from the Royal Engineers, or even Refurbishment Enfield, but I'm only guessing, perhaps someone might know.??
Also it appears that the bend test mark may have been restamped over an existing X mark (see brown square). Wonder if it was retested at time of reissue to check its strength after maybe seeing some frontline usage.?

Cheers, S>S

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