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Remembered Today:

P 1903 regimental marked bayonet


trajan
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Hi everyone,

I am feeling pretty chuffed as I have just picked up a reasonably nice Enfield-made P1903 with scabbard, this being only the second P.1903 I have seen over here (The other one came with a Land Scabbard, the frog loop sadly detached from the rest, but marked to the 1/5 HANTS and the locket marked 680; the bayonet being an Enfield-made 11/04, with a pommel marking 349).

This new one has a badly corroded ricasso, and needs a clean before I can photograph it, which I'll do hopefully sometime this week, but it has an interesting series of marks. It has the proper crown for the ER and the pattern number 1903, so am I correct in assuming that this is an original 1903 blade and not a recycled P1888 one?.

Beneath that is what looks to an '08 original issue mark - it is in the right place for an original issue mark but it is corroded, and as there are two reissue markings for '07 and '09, I assume that it is really '03.

The pommel has two regimental markings. The obverse seems to be GRD over 167 over 98 - these have all been lined through, I assume when the second set of markings was applied to the reverse, these being BY over 46. I have no idea as to the GRD (unless it is Guards Recruiting Depot?), while the BY could be either Bedfordshire, Berkshire or Buckinghamshire Yeomanry, and as the first of the these was in France, while the last two were at Gallipoli as dismounted units, I can't help but favour it being one of these two units...!!!

The scabbard has a very clear EFD 1903 mark, but it has an internal chape, held in place with brass pins, and so I assume that this is a re-furbished P1888 scabbard. There is an 'E' inspection mark on the reverse of the locket, but nowt else.

All comments gratefully received!

Trajan

PS: For cross-referencing purposes, note that JScott initiated a discussion on the Yeomanry use of bayonets at: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=197908, and the discussion indicates that P.1903 were certainly in use by some Yeomanry units.

EDIT: :doh: Forgot to look properly as I was in the (usual!) Sunday morning rush when posting the above (and ma-in-law is here also :mellow: ) -the scabbard does not have a frog stud... So, I guess that it was originally a Land Pattern one.

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OK, the sun is shining nicely and so I was able to get some photographs of this one...

The BY/46 is clear enough, but what I thought was GRD is a bit more doubtful - it might improve with a clean. The numbers beneath are clear enough to the eye, with a 167 over 98 OR a 99.

The ricasso markings are rather bu**ered, to put it mildly... But what looks to be an '08 on the right is, I think, a '03 - note that this is where the original issue mark should be, and that the '07 marking is where a re-issue marking would be (the '09 is a right angles to the others).

post-69449-0-12831400-1404653229_thumb.j post-69449-0-70384300-1404653242_thumb.j post-69449-0-80041600-1404653258_thumb.j

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Now that is interesting... Just looked at http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=213238 again, and here is my ricasso compared with that shown there by our Aussie friend SS, and reproduced here to make comparison easier... Yes, I know, mine is pretty beaten up - which shows that it has been hanging around for a while rather than living a prissy-prissy life as a collector's piece! But more to the point, SS's is a converted 1888 blade (note the '01 stamp), but what I think is an '03 on mine is in the expected place for an original issue mark. That aside, I see now that the '0' at a right angle beneath the 1 of the 1903 on mine is also a re-issue mark - note the similar right-angled one on SS's example to the left and below the 1903.

post-69449-0-12339500-1404656583_thumb.j post-69449-0-26731100-1404656594_thumb.j

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The BY/46 is clear enough,

Trajan,

Pommel markings are always nice, as to the ' BY ' pommel mark, the only British unit I can find having used that mark was the O.T.C. ( Officer Training Corps ) at Bury Grammar School, which may also account for the style of the stamping.

As for ' GRD ', I can find no British unit using that mark. However, ' GR ' was the Regimental Mark for the Gloustershire Regiment.

Regards,

LF

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... as to the ' BY ' pommel mark, the only British unit I can find having used that mark was the O.T.C. ( Officer Training Corps ) at Bury Grammar School, which may also account for the style of the stamping.

As for ' GRD ', I can find no British unit using that mark. However, ' GR ' was the Regimental Mark for the Gloustershire Regiment.

Thanks LF! One of course always hopes for the best with these things and I did wonder about the style of the marking - but I didn't have much else to go on except a (wishful) guess on the 'BY' being Berks. or Bucks., as they were over here... But I think you are probably right, the style is wrong - and yet as Bury was just up road from my parent's origins, that's good enough for me!

The GRD (if that is what it is) - if not Gloucestershire, then Gurkha Recruiting Depot? Has to be some unit around in the early 20th century that was using these things!

Thanks again,

JB

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Hello Trajan,

Interesting find, congratulations, GRD???, although I have no reference to support it, have you looked at the Indian railways ?, I believe that they had bayonets issued to their security forces and I think that their workshops manufactured some parts?

khaki

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being Berks. or Bucks., as they were over here...

JB,

The code for Bucks ( Buckinghamshire ) was BCK., and Bedford was BD.

Looking to the Colonial/Dominion Forces, there was a Canadian Infantry Regiment, The Granville Regiment ( Lisgar Rifles ) who used the code G.R.T., and the Grey Regiment, who used G.R.

For the Indian Regiments, G.R. was used by the Gurkah Rifles.

Regards,

LF

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Interesting find, congratulations, GRD???, although I have no reference to support it, have you looked at the Indian railways ?, I believe that they had bayonets issued to their security forces and I think that their workshops manufactured some parts?

Thanks Khaki - that's a thought! As it is, I suspect that the other 1903 I have came out via Afghanistan - that was implied when I bought it, and it would make sense as the 1/5 Hants were in India for the duration. Street rumour is that lots of interesting bayonets have made their way back to the US of A. via Afghanistan ..

The code for Bucks ( Buckinghamshire ) was BCK., and Bedford was BD.

Looking to the Colonial/Dominion Forces, there was a Canadian Infantry Regiment, The Granville Regiment ( Lisgar Rifles ) who used the code G.R.T., and the Grey Regiment, who used G.R.

For the Indian Regiments, G.R. was used by the Gurkah Rifles.

Thanks again LF. I have resigned myself to BY being the Bury boys... :( with a deep sigh...

I'll have a go at cleaning the superficial dirt off the other marking later this week (or the next, or the one after, or...!) and see if it comes any clearer.

We DO need a listing of these markings. I have one of rifle markings which is clearly incomplete and need not necessarily represent bayonet markings...

Thanks ago, both Khaki and LF,

JB

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Here are the scabbard markings -

post-69449-0-00357800-1404663680_thumb.j

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Hello again Trajan,

I think you are correct about the Afghanistan bayonets as I saw a number of them at a recent militaria show in Los Angeles County. They were marked in arabic? writing on the top of the tang. I bought one in very good condition and it came with the original early scabbard, about $75 from memory.

khaki

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Hello again Trajan,

I think you are correct about the Afghanistan bayonets as I saw a number of them at a recent militaria show in Los Angeles County. They were marked in arabic? writing on the top of the tang. I bought one in very good condition and it came with the original early scabbard, about $75 from memory.

khaki

Yes, Roy William's, in his German Bayonets Vol II, mentions that lots of bayonets of various types were coming out of Afghanistan in the early 2000's, and on his p. 337 he shows a job lot of 50 Ersatz socketted types... There is a story going around that Afghanistan got loads of old bayonets from Turkey in the 1920's, so that would account for these German Ersatz ones being there, but I guess UK ones were there also - they were certainly being copied there in the inter-war and post-WWII years. But that's going ever so slightly offtopic!

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I have resigned myself to BY being the Bury boys... :( with a deep sigh...

JB

JB,

I would not be too resigned, as British O.T.C. ( Officer Training Corps ) marked bayonets are quite scarce, being their issue numbers were low. For Collectors, that ' BY ' marking would not be too easy to find.

Regards,

LF

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JB,

I would not be too resigned, as British O.T.C. ( Officer Training Corps ) marked bayonets are quite scarce, being their issue numbers were low. For Collectors, that ' BY ' marking would not be too easy to find.

Regards,

LF

:thumbsup: Feel much better now!

I have to admit I am more attuned to what is what with German types and markings, and better aware of their meanings and rarity, etc., but I have a really soft spot for P.1888 and P.1903's (they are the only ones I have in a display cabinet in our main room!), and so I am more than happy to have this one! The wishful thinking was, of course, that maybe it was a Yeomanry and so perhaps a Gallipoli one, but that would have been cream on the top of actually having it! Really can't complain, and am not doing so, and greatly appreciate knowing what it is.

On which note, I have mentioned this before, apropos that wonderful A-H Model.95 web page - we really could do with a P.1888/P.1903/P.1907 web site to put these types and markings and variations into one place... Maybe when I retire? :whistle:

JB

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but I have a really soft spot for P.1888 and P.1903's (they are the only ones I have in a display cabinet in our main room!)

Maybe its that subliminal Roman 'gladius' look. :w00t:

khaki

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Mmmm, hadn't thought of that...! :thumbsup:

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Nice suggestion Tony - I hadn't thought of that. I'll try to give it a clean this week to see if it comes up any better.

Julian

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Trajan,

I have finally photoed my 1903 with Regimental District marks. I know we've been over this before, but I've never had the pics before. So here we go.

Cheers,

Tony

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post-22051-0-31689700-1407790698_thumb.j

post-22051-0-71542200-1407790709_thumb.j

post-22051-0-11702100-1407790733_thumb.j

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That's a very nice bayonet with an extremely nice set of markings ... the 2GG would certainly have to put it on the top shelf.! (One of my P1903's is marked to 2CG)

By my estimation made by Enfield in December of 1903, with later reissues in 1908, 1909 & 1910 ... which puts it in very close proximity to seeing some wartime use.

Cheers, S>S

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Hi Tony,

Yes, I agree with SS, that's a very nice piece with a lovely set of markings! Still haven't gone back to look at the older marking on mine yet - I need a more powerful glass, but I don't think it is a RD marking. Incidentally, I like the grip marking on yours - in my very limited experience they don't seem to be that common so I wonder what the rationale behind them is/was? As for possible use wartime use, SS is having you on I think! There are enough contemporary photographs of P 1903's in use in WW1, and the fact that scabbards were made for them in the 1940's suggests they were in use in WW2 also!

Julian

SS: Glad to see you are coming back more often, so I guess you have recovered from your indisposition!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Still not cleaned mine, but I am now wondering if it is 'SRD'... SR was Scottish Rifles, but 'D'?

post-69449-0-16733700-1408716314_thumb.j post-69449-0-91938700-1408716460_thumb.j

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  • 7 months later...

Had another look at this one, and I think Tony could well be right - apologies there :blush: . '5.R.D.' looks quite possible, and so that would be 5th (Northumberland) (Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions). Alternatively, if the 1904 regulations apply, then a variation of 'Renfrew and Denbighshire', which in official notes would be 'R&D'... But they never had 5 batallions...

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The R.D. stands for Regimental District ... Tony mentioned this earlier as well, and he is of course correct.

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The R.D. stands for Regimental District ... Tony mentioned this earlier as well, and he is of course correct.

Yes, this is what I indicated in post 22... It was difficult to be certain because of the way that the '5' was struck through, making it seem like an 'S'...

Trajan

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'5.R.D.' looks quite possible, and so that would be 5th (Northumberland) (Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot (2 battalions). Alternatively, if the 1904 regulations apply, then a variation of 'Renfrew and Denbighshire', which in official notes would be 'R&D'... But they never had 5 batallions...

I commented on this because you still hadn't worked it out yet, obviously a slow process. The 5th Regimental District in the time period in question (marked on a P1903 bayonet) was based on York (code letter O) and included, amongst a number of other local regiments, the original NF. This particular marking has nothing to do with any R&D county title.

At this time the 5 R.D. would have comprised the 2 NF Line battalions, the Special Reserve battalion, and at least 4 TF battalions.

Cheers, S>S

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