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trajan

Royal Air Force marked bayonets

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trajan

Rather than revive any old threads on these, as these had all ended or digressed digressed from their original subject, I thought it best to open a new one as I believe they do deserve a thread of their own

This first post basically repeats but is an edited-down version of what I posted on another thread regarding 're-issue' markings, post 19 at: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=217611&hl=%2Braf+%2Bmarked+%2Bbayonet#entry2153313

I have tracked down from a variety of web sources (including GWF) the details for some 15 P.1907’s marked for the RAF, although not all the required details (i.e., manufacture date; reissue marks; etc.) were available. Of those 15 for which there was sufficient data to come to any tentative conclusion on 're-issue' marks I ignored (with one exception - see below) any P.1907's made between 1/17 and 03/1918 as they may have been 'in stock' when the RAF was formed. Of the remainder four certainly pre-dated the formation of the RAF: two were **/10 (months not visible for either); a 12/15; and a 12/16. In addition to these four, though, there was an 09/18 that had two struck-out rack numbers quite separate from the still visible (i.e., not 'struck-out) RAF mark, so let's say a total of five of these RAF marked bayonets probably or certainly saw service before being assigned to the RAF. Of these five only one of the **/10's and the 12/15 had 're-issue' marks - 1922 and 1925 respectively. So that's three out of five, including the 09/18 with pre-RAF rack numbers, that have no re-issue marks...

So, of this very limited sample, it seems clear that after the RAF was formed on 01 April 1918, it received a variety of bayonets - rather along the lines of 'Something old, something new, something borrowed(?) and something blue!'

I hope to post more later on the markings themselves, which are all along the lines of 'R.A.F. / ** / ****', as in this example, taken from an earlier GWF post at: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=156633

Trajan

post-69449-0-85420200-1411835997_thumb.j

Edited by trajan
Change of thread title to make easier to find again!

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trajan

I had a good chance to look at another RAF one today. It seems to be a **/17, but both ricassos have been well scrubbed (I have noticed this on other examples) although the makers name was there and also Enfield inspector marks , and no 're-issue' mark. It was in a 'borrowed' scabbard: there were older serials on the throat along with the 'R.A.F.' mark (as far as I can tell the RAF scabbards were only ever marked this way, not with a RAF-type serial number).

Now, I think somebody suggested elsewhere that these RAF P.1907's were all 'parade use'? That could explain the 'scrubbing of the ricasso' I have noticed. BUT, I have no less than six different 'section' markings (by which I mean the '1.D. and '1.E' type marks in the second line as above), and the serial numbers in each can go really quite high. For example, in the '1.E.' series, I have serial numbers that range from I.E./ 0852 through 1016 and 1550 to I.E./6206: and the highest serial I have spotted is a '1./8356'. That seems way many bayonets for simple parade use...

Oh, one other thing. In my searches I found this old thread on RAF marked P.1914 rifles - http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?265139-RAF-Marked-P-14 Both Chris (4th Gordons) and TonyE had contributed towards this, and at some point one of the posters claimed to have a RAF marked P.1914 bayonet, by which I suspect he meant a P.1913...

Trajan

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N White

Trajan-

I'm pretty sure I have posted it here before but do you have my 11/18 unreissued Sanderson?

R.A.F

1D

9298

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trajan

Thanks, no I did not have that one! Must have missed it...

My oh my, though, the serial numbers are going up... Even if these RAF-marked bayonets were not issued until the RAF Regiment was formed, in 1942, these are still very high serial numbers...

Trajan

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trajan

I did wonder about these bayonets being issued to the RAF in Mesopotamia post-WW1, when they took over the control of that region, but as far as I can see the infantry and armoured units they had were regular army, not RAF.

One key to solving when these were issued to the RAF might be in what I have provisionally called the 'section' numbers. I'll get a list ready later when I have a bit more quality(!) time but off-hand I have certainly recorded the following:

1.A.

1.C. (although the '1' in that looks like an 'I' - see the OP.

1.D.

1.E.

Trajan

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trajan

And a search for various permutations of RAF 1.D. brought up this: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=107721 which has N.White's bayonet on it (as in post 3). :doh: And it threw up a '1.F.'... And also a comment by 4thG by per ardua ad per mare per terram that "The RAF had over 300,000 serving with it in 1918. I have no idea how many airfields they had to mount guards over. That adds up to a huge stockpile of weapons."

Trajan
PS: This post was one that escaped my earlier search using the GWF Search engine only...
EDIT: corrected the attribution of the 300,000 figure...

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trajan

I had a good chance to look at another RAF one today. It seems to be a **/17, but both ricassos have been well scrubbed (I have noticed this on other examples) ...

...in a 'borrowed' scabbard: there were older serials on the throat along with the 'R.A.F.' mark (as far as I can tell the RAF scabbards were only ever marked this way, not with a RAF-type serial number).

Here is an extreme example of a 'scrubbing'. Only the 'inspection' date, the maker's name, the bend-mark and the arrow have survived, and so I guess any 're-issue' marks would have vanished...

post-69449-0-70604000-1412249831_thumb.j post-69449-0-01751300-1412249847_thumb.j

and here is a RAF marked locket on a re-used ('borrowed') scabbard...

post-69449-0-90096500-1412250072_thumb.j

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trajan

Found this discussion on P.14 rifles with RAF stock-discs - http://forums.gunboards.com/showthread.php?279557-Lee-Enfield-P14-question&highlight=raf-marked

Anyone know of any RAF-marked P.1913's or P.1917's?

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Beerhunter

Anyone know of any RAF-marked P.1913's or P.1917's?

P1917?

Edited by Beerhunter

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Lancashire Fusilier

P1917?

A common slip of the pen, ' Pattern ' for British bayonets as in Pattern 1913, and ' Model ' for American bayonets, as in Model 1917.

Regards,

LF

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Beerhunter

A common slip of the pen, ' Pattern ' for British bayonets as in Pattern 1913, and ' Model ' for American bayonets, as in Model 1917.

Regards,

LF

As I thought. We have the same problem with the rifles. M1917s being called P17s.

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Lancashire Fusilier

As I thought. We have the same problem with the rifles. M1917s being called P17s.

Exactly,

Regards,

LF

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trajan

Thanks guys! M1917 it is then!

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trajan

I have now recorded details for some 19 RAF marked bayonets, but without full details for all them. However, these are the serial numbers I have listed so far:

1.1878; 8356
1.A.0943
1.B.
1.C.8080
1.D.3021; 3713; 4379; 9298
1.E.0852; 1016; 1550; 6206
1.F.1550; 2103
A.L.5415

Note that there are no "1.B."'s at present, and that odd "A.L." example...

I had two working explanations for the serial numbers starting with a '1': [A] that they were regional commands; that they were series numbers. Given the existence of a 1.D.9298. I am tending towards the later explanation, so that there would be 9999 numbered bayonets in each series. Thus. 1.0001 - 1.9999; 1.A.0001 - 1.A.9999. In which case, excluding the "A.L.", a potential 59,994 RAF-marked bayonets.

According to this web-site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/timeline/factfiles/nonflash/a6649248.shtml: "At its wartime peak, there were 60,000 men in the RAF Regiment."

And according to this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Regiment: "the RAF Regiment grew to a force of over 80,000 men in 280 squadrons of 185 men each (each squadron including five officers)."

Given the rough match between that potential number of 59,994 RAF-marked bayonets and these figures for the RAF Regiment, then I think it is reasonable to conclude that they probably are all RAF Regiment markings, and so post-1942. Some support for this is found in the majority of the known examples of RAF-marked bayonets having been made 1917-1918, and so 'old' stock issued to the regiment when it was formed in 1942. That said, by 1944, at least one RAF Regiment unit, the No. 2944 Field Squadron near Maungdaw on the Arakan Front, had pig-stickers.

Trajan

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trajan

For what it is worth, I have been badgering the RAF Museum on this matter for over two weeks, and yesterday received a reply stating that these numbers did not match any recognisable RAF stores park, operational area or formation, and were not some form of stores reference number, but - surprise, surprise - in the view of the relevant curator, they may represent consecutive serial numbers for each batch of 9999 bayonets supplied to the RAF...

So, not proof positive, but nice to know someone else is thinking along the same lines, even w/o the data regarding the manufacture/issue dates of the known examples, which are predominately 1917 and 1918.

Oh, and MODS - I realise that this thread would seem to concern bayonets marked in 1942 or later for the RAF Regiment, but I still don't have any evidence for when this marking practice actually began: it may have begun with the formation of the RAF, so pretty please not to lock it just yet - B)

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trajan

Looking for something else and found a photograph of one already recorded above, the 1.A.0943 on post 14,  the bayonet shown at: http://www.fieldserviceantiquearms.co.uk/scarce-british-ww1-raf-p1907-smle-bayonet-circa-1918-refnoby762-1532-p.asp . The bayonet itself is a Wilkinson Pall Mall with a partly scrubbed and so illegible date mark... 

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Frank_East

Interesting ....pig stickers.

 

Post war, the RAF bayonet used was the pig sticker type....there was some reference to the change being effected by the Geneva Convention. 

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trajan

Frank_East, you have, in a way, put your finger on it... These are not pig-stickers for use with (I think!) the Rifle, No.4 Mk I, but regular 'sword bayonets' for use with the SMLE

 

So, why are there all these RAF marked recycled P.1907 bayonets of various vintages? Clearly the RAF were using our old friend the SMLE for a long while but from when to when? I still suspect they are all initial issues to the RAF Regiment after its formation (and so not exactly a GWF issue - except that they are GW period bayonets!). But I don't yet understand the code or system behind the marking, which on the face of it (see post 14) implies one heck of a lot of P.1907 bayonets going there way!

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Ogilwy

Trajan,

 

My old friend, you really do need to get out and meet people!  Why not a new obsession forget Bayonets and try say.........Ah!  Roman Pottery!

 

Rod

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trajan

Nah, did that one years ago.... Over-indulged and not quite the same buzz:o... Mind you, these RAF ones are only semi-satisfying as I can't find out more about that marking system...! 

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trajan

I could never find this thread I started when I wanted to and so I changed the title from "RAF marked bayonets" to "Royal Air Force marked bayonets"! Easier to search for!

 

What prompted me to do this was that I wanted to post this nice bayonet advertised on the Turkish equivalent of a 'well-known' on-line auction site as "SÜNGÜ ÇANAKKALE SAVAŞINDAN NADİR MODEL İNGİLİZ DAMGALARA DİKKAT" or " Gallipoli Battle bayonet rare model - look at the English markings!"  It goes on to say "Not enfield ingiliz süngüsü nadir çıkar,Çanakkale savaşında da kullanılmıştır ve ürün resimlerde görüldüğü gibi çil üzeri çok çok temiz damgaları nadir ve ahşap kısımda dahi damga bulunmaktadır kını kendisine ait orjinal kınıdır." which is - "Note Enfield british bayonets are rare, used in the battle of Çanakkale and as seen in the product pictures, very clean stamps on the ricasso are rare and there is a stamp even on the wooden part."
 

I had to look - of course! - and was struck by the presence of a clearance hole, and then had a look at those markings - well, blow me down with a feather! On the right side of the pommel "R.A.F. / LC / 9303" with traces of a '23 inspection mark on the ricasso, but not much else to see... Hmm, a very rare indeed Gallipoli bayonet - yours for only about GBP 138.... 

 

I hope I am not breaking GWF rules by linking to the web site where there are some more photographs? https://urun.gittigidiyor.com/antika-sanat/sungu-canakkale-savasindan-nadir-model-ingiliz-damgalara-dikkat-417729561

 

Julian

 

 

417729561_tn50_1.jpg

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trajan

Got interupted by kid's bed-time there, but a second look - it is of course "R.A.F. / 1 C / 9303, so goes with the other '1.C.' recorded example, above post 14. So an updated list (with post 21, "R.A.F.  / 1.D. / 7390" and this one)  is:

 

1.1878; 8356
1.A.0943
1.C.8080, 9303 
1.D.3021; 3713; 4379; 73909298
1.E.0852; 1016; 1550; 6206
1.F.1550; 2103
A.L.5415

 

Still no "1.B"'s...

 

 

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JMB1943

Trajan,

 

Are you sure of LC?

I put a glass on the pommel photo; to me it looks like 1. C. with some corrosion, which is in line with others noted.

I hear it calling somebody’s name...cannot quite make it out.....oh, getting louder....trajan....trajan...TRAJAN

Yes, clearly your name, so do buy it and clean up the pommel!

 

Regards,

JMB

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JMB1943

Trajan,

 

But wait, there’s more.....your list together with my additions gives,

 

1.     1878, 671x, 6731, 8356, 9996

1.A.  0943, 4027, 

1.B.  1601, 2994, 4607

1.C.  2202, 6557, 7808, 8080, 9303

1.D.  3021, 3713, 4379, 5713, 7390, 7600, 9298

1.E.  0398, 0852, 0897, 1016, 3242, 5476, 6206

1.F.   2103, 

A.L.  5415

 

Regards,

JMB

 

Edit: I have omitted 1550, unsure as to whether 1.E or 1.F

Edited by JMB1943
Add info

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