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Early NZ P1907 bayonet?


jscott
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Hi all

I recently acquired this P07 bayonet and I am struggling to definitively decipher the markings. It shares the same sold out of service marking and manufacturer/ dating with many of the early sold out of service Australian bayonets (which are the subject of an excellent thread on this forum started by S>S).

However instead of the normal Australian state identifiers (i.e. NSW, Q, T, SA etc) this one has a series of large numbers stamped on the cross guard. My thinking is that this is a NZ marking, and that the bayonet is one of the early SOS bayonets used by the NZ'ers in WW1. My reasoning is not based on any published literature (strangely I can find absolutely nothing online or in my books on early NZ markings), however (1) S>S has previously mentioned that NZ may have used this style of marking, (2) some of the early NZ SMLEs I have seen have similar markings, and (3) the Auckland museum has a few examples of similar markings on bayonets in its collection. See here:

http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/collection/object/am_humanhistory-object-697066

http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/collection/object/am_humanhistory-object-697055

Does anyone have any definitive information on whether these large serial number markings are indeed early-NZ markings? And were they sold out of service at the same time as their Australian equivalents? And finally - didn't the NZ'ers use P88 bayonets and CLLEs at Gallipoli (which would be odd if they had P07 bayonets and SMLEs at their disposal at that time?

Cheers, Jonathan

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I should note that there is a '17' reissue mark on the reverse side of the ricasso.

Cheers, Jonathan

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Interesting that, and very useful to see the ones in the Auckland Collection. Certainly those large number stand out - enormously so by comparison with what was used in Australia, a smaller and neater size. even when - as with some Victoria ones - there is no state letter prefix.

Well, not that I know much about these things, but the combination of the SOS and the date - 1909 - certainly makes it look like one that was sent down under to Australia, and if so, why not NZ? SS will have to comment on that, as he has the records and they are not available for others to use, but I do recall that quite a few of the Australian ones were 1909'ers, Sandersons in particular. Isn't or wasn't there an argument that these may have been part of a job lot ordered in 1908/1909, then made, and with a few extra older ones thrown in for good measure, all marked SOS to signify they were not for GB service, and then despached south?

Julian

Whoops! Corrected word highlighted!

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Hi Trajan

Yes I need to go through my existing collection to check dates/ makers, but certainly 1909 is the key date for pre-WW1 Australian marked P07s, and from memory Sanderson was the predominant manufacturer (as you say). The Auckland museum collection is very interesting - have a look at the various German and Turkish bayonets in their collection as well.

I find it strange that there is zero information on these markings online (that I can find anyway). Surely there are some avid NZ collectors out there?

Cheers, Jonathan

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Jonathan, it would be nice to see what you come up with! You may recall that JMB very generously put up his P.1907 weight stats for all to use, and - not wishing to stir the pot - I am certain that it would be damn useful for others to have your records on line. As you say, though, there is one of those correlations in data (dates and SOS markings) that dow make one wonder what is going on. However, what is even more strange is that nothing seems to be known of NZ markings - and there are no collectors that way? Odd...

Ta Ta for now!

Julian

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Interesting bayonet you have there J. Of course I don't have anything more definitive to add, except to say perhaps look at the evidence that exists.?

This bayonet appears to have several British 'reissue' markings stamped on the ricasso. You may need to check more closely to work out those dates.

Which doesn't really help much, but does set this example apart from all the early Australian SOS bayonets. They usually were shipped out from new.

So that doesn't rule out possible later NZ usage, but does indicate that this particular example saw British service for several years. Check those dates.

One of the main reasons that the early NZ P1907 bayonets are so scarce is that at wars end they handed in all their rifles and exchanged them for new.

So the majority of NZ marked SMLE's and matching P1907 bayonets that you will now find are 1918 dated and stamped N^Z. I have one such example.

Cheers, S>S

EDIT. Thinking some more on this and had another look at that SOS marking. My gut feeling would be that this is a later marking. It appears narrower :huh:

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Hi S>S

It looks like the British reissue dates are '09 (clear), '13 (unclear) and '17 (clear). The bayonet has clearly seen some serious use so I couldn't confirm that there aren't other markings that have been worn down and are now illegible (although I don't think this is the case). Perhaps the NZ marking (if it is that) was applied in 1918 as part of a subset of the new bayonets issued to the New Zealanders?

I agree the SOS marking on this bayonet is narrower, and is different to the markings on the 5 early Australian bayonets I have. Not sure if this necessarily means it is a later marking but it seems like a sensible assertion. I do note that one of my early Australian P07s (Chapman marked to Queensland, 1MD) has a very odd SOS marking which looks almost florid - with curved endings to the marking. So there was clearly a range of acceptable SOS markings.

It seems the unknown here is the large serial number marking on the cross-guard. I'm going to keep looking into this and will post a reply on my findings.

I wonder what happened to all of the bayonets handed in by the New Zealanders at the wars end?

Cheers, Jonathan

Ps. The other obvious difference to the early Australian bayonets is the addition of the clearance hole; another indicator of British use.

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Oh and Trajan - I'm very happy to post the weight of my P07s, but don't currently have a decent set of scales. Are the kitchen variety accurate enough? Its not information Im particularly interested in, but happy to post for others to churn the data! Presumably its just total weight sans scabbard?

Didn't realise there was any variation to be honest!

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Johnathon,

Thanks, but no need---the data is already thoroughly churned !

Regards,

JMB

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... One of the main reasons that the early NZ P1907 bayonets are so scarce is that at wars end they handed in all their rifles and exchanged them for new. So the majority of NZ marked SMLE's and matching P1907 bayonets that you will now find are 1918 dated and stamped N^Z. I have one such example.... Thinking some more on this and had another look at that SOS marking. My gut feeling would be that this is a later marking. It appears narrower :huh:

I had no idea that this return happened - but when was the NZ mark introduced? Only in 1918+? As for the SOS marking, well I reckon they did it with what they had to hand! Was there ever an authorised and purpose-made SOS stamp? I always though they did it with what they had to hand...

... I agree the SOS marking on this bayonet is narrower, and is different to the markings on the 5 early Australian bayonets I have. Not sure if this necessarily means it is a later marking but it seems like a sensible assertion. I do note that one of my early Australian P07s (Chapman marked to Queensland, 1MD) has a very odd SOS marking which looks almost florid - with curved endings to the marking. So there was clearly a range of acceptable SOS markings.... It seems the unknown here is the large serial number marking on the cross-guard. I'm going to keep looking into this and will post a reply on my findings.

Again, as above - the style of the SOS mark may not have any significance - but what is the maker of this one of yours? I can make a guess, but would really prefer to hear from you!

Oh and Trajan - I'm very happy to post the weight of my P07s, but don't currently have a decent set of scales. Are the kitchen variety accurate enough? Its not information Im particularly interested in, but happy to post for others to churn the data! Presumably its just total weight sans scabbard?

Didn't realise there was any variation to be honest!

Tut-tut, J me-lad! :o Where is the admonishment icon? :angry2: Slapped wrists for not following threads!

JMB has built up an incredibly detailed analyses of P.1907 weights, part of which is here at: http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=230617 I understand that he has more data on this subject now that will appear at some point - but to be going on, just be aware that of the 50/75+ P.1907's he has weight data for a great number (I think over 90%?) were well over the standard official specification of 16.5 oz (468 gm), some even as much as 500 gr... I'll say no more on that here as it his baby. However, even though the number he has data for is a mere fraction of a mere fraction of what was made in the GW, it looks significant. But, just to note that he has also been doing interesting work on the frequency of clearance holes added or not to pre-1916 P.1907's, and that research is also providing interesting results...

Julian

PS/EDIT: Speak of the devil as it were - JMB's just came in as I was posting!

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Perhaps the NZ marking (if it is that) was applied in 1918 as part of a subset of the new bayonets issued to the New Zealanders?

Personally I don't think this one of yours is a NZ marking, and I would suspect that the SOS is actually a regular British sale mark from when it left service.

I managed to find a photo on this computer of my NZ marked P1907 bayonet. This Wilkinson 1918 was part of the rifle exchange undertaken at war's end.

As you can see this batch weren't stamped with the SOS mark, but had the N^Z marking applied in its place. This matches the 1918 dated NZ SMLE rifles.

Cheers, S>S

post-52604-0-03933300-1463357564_thumb.j

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Hi S>S,

Thats a pretty distinctive NZ marking - not sure if I've ever seen one like it before. Is it just me or is that quite different to the normal (presumably post-WW1) NZ marking?

Happy enough either way with my bayonet as I'm always happy to welcome another HQR to the collection! It would be interesting to understand what the large numerals mean at some point, but in the meantime Ill add it to the list of bayonets that I'm still researching.

Cheers, J

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Normal looking N^Z stamp, there were slight variations but that has more to do with when,who & where they were stamped

1918 BSA

18BSA6.jpg

1918 EFD but came into the country around 1928

New%20Trainer3.jpg

1918 EFD

18EFD4.jpg

1918 LSA very messy stamp!

1918LSAmkIIIstarbarreldate.jpg

1918 SSA

SSA5.jpg

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That's a great selection there 5thBatt - thanks for posting. Some very interesting looking SOS markings as well.

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You have some extremely impressive rifles in your collection 5thBatt - thanks for posting these. I'm not at all familiar with NZ markings but I note the large serial numbers on these pre-war versions. Im not saying they match the markings on my bayonet, but they do only seem to be on these earlier examples.

So my (previous) understanding was that the New Zealanders only used MLEs and CLLEs at the start of the war - but if thats a 1910 dated SMLE MkIII marked to NZ then presumably they also had some of those?

Thanks again for posting.

Jonathan

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You have some extremely impressive rifles in your collection 5thBatt - thanks for posting these. I'm not at all familiar with NZ markings but I note the large serial numbers on these pre-war versions. Im not saying they match the markings on my bayonet, but they do only seem to be on these earlier examples.

So my (previous) understanding was that the New Zealanders only used MLEs and CLLEs at the start of the war - but if thats a 1910 dated SMLE MkIII marked to NZ then presumably they also had some of those?

Thanks again for posting.

Jonathan

Here's a good website on NZ weapons, there are still things up for debate as its still a work in progress but they are doing a good job

http://www.armsregister.com/arms_register.html

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That's a really good resource - some very good information on there. I've only had a quick look at the bayonet section to date but very interested to see that NZ imported 10,000 MK III and 1907 bayonets prior to 1913 but that these went to artillery and mounted rifles units, with the infantry retaining MLEs and P88 bayonets (which were switched early in WW1.) this is consistent with what I previously understood - ie that the NZers used MLEs at Gallipoli (mostly), and indeed I found a bullet which I believe was for use with an MLE near Hill 60 a few years back; i always assumed it was left by a NZ unit.

It would be really interesting to see some examples of the early pre -1913 ordered NZ P07s (to match your fantastic rifles) but suspect these would now be very thin on the ground.

Cheers, Jonathan

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Here's a good website on NZ weapons, there are still things up for debate as its still a work in progress but they are doing a good job

http://www.armsregister.com/arms_register.html

Very nice! And a nice series of rifles too, although - dare I say it! - rather a lot of heavy-handed over stamping and marking! That aside, 5thBatt, would you clarify for me please what this business was that SS referred to above (post no. 7) of NZ-issued rifles and bayonets being returned 'at war's end' to GB for exchange for new?

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Very nice! And a nice series of rifles too, although - dare I say it! - rather a lot of heavy-handed over stamping and marking! That aside, 5thBatt, would you clarify for me please what this business was that SS referred to above (post no. 7) of NZ-issued rifles and bayonets being returned 'at war's end' to GB for exchange for new?

It is mentioned in the article on the MkIII & MkIII* here http://www.armsregister.com/arms_register/rifles.html

I have heard the story second hand (not 3rd or 4th hand etc) that the troops waiting to return handed in their battle worn rifles & were issued new rifles to bring home, the majority of WW1 dated SMLEs & '07s found in NZ are 1918 dated, (there are a few 1917s as well) war time dated SMLEs (14,15,16) are very scarce indeed as are the pre war SMLEs other than Mk1s which do show up in auctions quite regularly as they are believed to have stayed behind for training.

My own experience over the years certainly point to the claim NZ troops did in fact exchange their rifles & i have no doubt it happened & my NZ SMLE collection reflects this fact, my other 2 NZ SMLEs a 1916 & 1917 both show post production refurbs & certainly in the case of the 1916 most likely came into NZ hands in 1918, the 1917 may of as well but could be later.

eta, while the N^Z marked bayonets are nearly all 1918 & 1917 dated they are out numbered by unmarked '07s of all years & i cannot ever recall seeing a pre war N^Z marked 07 but there are a few about that appear to have had markings scrubbed

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You have some extremely impressive rifles in your collection 5thBatt - thanks for posting these. I'm not at all familiar with NZ markings but I note the large serial numbers on these pre-war versions. Im not saying they match the markings on my bayonet, but they do only seem to be on these earlier examples.

So my (previous) understanding was that the New Zealanders only used MLEs and CLLEs at the start of the war - but if thats a 1910 dated SMLE MkIII marked to NZ then presumably they also had some of those?

Thanks again for posting.

Jonathan

Here are the N^Z stamp on some of the butts of the rifles i have shown here.

1918LSAmkIIIstarButtNZ.jpg

SSA1.jpg

NRF2.jpg

17BSA3.jpg

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It is mentioned in the article on the MkIII & MkIII* here http://www.armsregister.com/arms_register/rifles.html ...

Many thanks! And nice to know that the artefactual evidence - in the form of what's available - supports the rifle recall / exchange while the bayonet markings support the 1917 / 1918 date for the introduction of that mark.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes thanks 5th Batt - some very interesting and helpful information in this thread. The markings on the rifles that you have posted are fantastic - a really good resource.

One question, even if the NZ'ers handed back their rifles at the end of the war, presumably that would simply mean that any earlier dated NZ marked bayonets would have ended up in the UK and come on to the market that way (i.e. in the same way that many early Australian bayonets are now in the US)?

Cheers, Jonathan

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