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Remembered Today:

Unusual Patt. 1907 Bayonet


JMB1943
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Some of you may have noticed my interest in the British P. 1907 bayonet.

Earlier this year I bought an HQ example and together with a Vickers & a BSA/Siam this completed, or so I thought, my modest collection of 12 examples.

Looking them over they are quite a drab-looking lot, because of the war-time ban on polished blades followed by 100-yrs of atmospheric exposure.

The HQ is the exception to this, having the original polished finish with a few remains of rust-spotting.

This morning, everything changed when I saw a very, very unique (I know, I know) P.'07 WILKINSON & scabbard for sale on-line.

The metal parts looked like RAF-blue anodized aluminium----and that was just the scabbard !

Walnut wood grips---gone; replaced with what looks like a brass hilt. Yes, Bubba strikes again, but the hilt did look the part in the photos.

Pommel & crossguard----painted gloss black; possibly stamped for RAF, will know for sure when in hand.

This all came at what nowadays is a very reasonable price, and free shipping, so how could I not hit the 'Buy it Now' button ?

I estimate that it should weigh around 685 g, depending on size/shape of brass hilt.

Will post photos in a couple of weeks.

 

Regards,

JMB

 

 

 

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This sounds like a fun one! Looking forward to seeing it!

 

Julian

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The brass-hilted P.  07 arrived today, and I hope to post some photos tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a quick note of some details.....

WILKINSON set high above cross-guard BUT no trace of PALL MALL below, which was introduced in May, 1916.

1 '1(8 ?) date of acceptance.

Broad arrow, X-bend test stamp, crown/5W/E

Pommel has clearance hole ; stamped RAF/1A/4027

Brass grips: about 2x thicker than walnut wood grips. They are extremely well shaped and better fitting than ANY pair of

wooden grips that I have seen on a P.07. My apologies to Bubba, he did a far better job than I could ever have done.

The grips are so well-turned and fitted that I suspect a professional metal-worker.

Bayonet weighs in at 769 g, (27 oz.) compared to average WILK at ca 500 g.

One oddity is the name, which actually appears as WIL KINSON. Have not previously seen this.

The blade has not been sharpened and appears lighter-colored than all of my other P.07's.

Very few rust marks.

 

Regards,

JMB

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Sounds VERY interesting! Especially with that RAF marking. I hah wondered if it was a 'Khyber Pass' one, but I doubt that a 'Khyber Pass' maker would be aware of this type of marking...

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Photos of the beast ! Locket (figured) shows crown/7J/italic B....Sparkbrook ?? cannot remember for certain; has J.B. on other side; chape is not figured in the parlance of 1907.

IMG_2710.thumb.JPG.a85c64473e01c48aba919a103bbcf773.JPGIMG_2711.JPG.95eb2527aabc1645b05c5f1f4371f2ad.JPGIMG_2712.thumb.JPG.8392284e5a9b99a09e7874eb295a7ee7.JPGIMG_2713.JPG.9a127bdb4825bc586c1b8f1fd70b42c3.JPGIMG_2714.thumb.JPG.c40b97c08a88ffdbe17c28ad55e6b4ac.JPGIMG_2718.thumb.JPG.606b81268bfff3cbd4f8abd6756e6cdf.JPGIMG_2719.thumb.JPG.3d1eef8175327570155bc6b77c490b6b.JPG

 

The scabbard is brown leather, with a newish look to it; no stamps on leather. 

Chape does have a stamp, but indecipherable under paint.

The blade is an extremely tight fit in the scabbard and it is quite a struggle to drive it fully home. Scabbard weighs only 190 g (6.7 oz.) compared to the weight usually quoted as 227 g (8 oz).  Is it a newly-made reproduction leather, fitted with authentic locket/chape ?

The last two photos show close-ups of ricasso area, and the absence of the usual horizontal file marks close to cross-guard (to remove xs. brass and/or PALL MALL) is interesting.

 

All comments are welcome !

Regards,

JMB

[edit: scabbard is between 0.25 inch and 1 inch shorter than others that I have.]

Edited by JMB1943
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JMB

 

Just a quick observation, is the clearance hole of a larger diameter than standard?  Looks so, especially in image 3.  Have never seen those brass grips before, they look to be of a pretty good standard of workmanship and finish.

 

A real puzzler!

 

Mike.

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Mike,

 

The clearance hole is of standard size, since it compares very well with others.

I was surprised at how well the brass grips are shaped and fitted----not perfect, but pretty much on the money. Given the overall very good condition of the blade, I doubt that the original wooden grips would have been so bad as to need replacement.

What with the gloss black paint on the cross-guard & pommel, the whole set-up has a vaguely theatrical look.

It makes me wonder if the owner had the pair made up for a stage play; he understood what "RAF" on the pommel meant and painted the locket/chape in the closest he could to RAF blue.

Trajan has a thread on RAF-issued P.'07's which I'll look at to see if the "1 A" command or location has been determined.

Thinking about brass grips again, I do recall seeing another brass-hilted P.07 about 3 yrs ago when I was just getting into bayonets.  As a beginner I didn't really know which end was up, so didn't go after them---but I would now !

Trajan's comment regarding "Khyber Pass" made me look closely at the crown and proof markings etc; they all look to be genuine Wilkinson, but the WIL KINSON and lack of PALL MALL are both strange.

I did even briefly consider whether the brass grips could be for an experimental post-war P.07, until I put it on the balance. The weight penalty is tremendous, which might well affect accuracy of the SMLE; also the dating at 1 '18 is a no-no for that.

Locket/chape ARE both magnetic, so with the stampings on them I believe that they are both genuine.

 

So, if it was only ever a stage prop I can be happy with that.

 

Regards,

JMB

 

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Lots of interesting things here... Needs some thinking about!

 

Italic 'B' rings a bell for me as being Sparbrook also - one of SS's repeated 'facts' (where IS he?). Also looks to be a B on that chape.

 

Now, the date... You have it in your hands, but that looks like an '19' to me. I'll see if I have a Wilkinson '18 at home and if so I'll check the form.

 

I take your point about the lack of a 'PALL MALL' - very interesting! But, is there really a gap between the 'L' and the 'K'? What about the foot of the 'L'?

 

As for RAF serials, I still haven't managed to devote time to sorting out and identifying those prefixes... One day...!!!

 

Best wishes,

 

Julian

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Trajan,

I take your point about the foot of the L and the spacing, but visually it is striking.

As for the date, my immediate reaction on seeing the bayonet was also 1 '19.

I wrote it up as 1 '18 thinking that it was just poorly struck, but certainly it looks quite similar to the 1907 stamp.

Regards,

JMB

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Quite a few "embellished" items have returned to the US from the Middle East (in particular of course Iraq) in the past decade, with various sorts of chroming and polished brass decoration added by different groups/guard units (honour guards etc). The RAF was of course very active in the region in the 1920s and early Iraqi forces were armed with Enfields as were several of the other sultanates etc.

 

If I had to make a guess (beyond a home handyman) that would be mine. A former British bayonet prepared for parade use by a specialized honour guard or such in the Middle East somewhere. India or the NW Frontier would be a secondary guess as there are examples of brass fittings on Indian modified bayonets/scabbards.

 

I do not see anything odd about the markings really, all within the standards of variation for quality/clarity etc I would expect on the bayonet.

Chris

 

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Good points there 4G! The blackening of the pommel would also fit such a vanity parade use item! 

 

I don't seem to have a 1918 Wilkinson... But I do think that you might have a 1919 one there. Now, on that basis, and thinking out-loud - maybe after the Armistice, Wilkinson reverted to just old plain Wilkinson, and any Pall Mall ones had the Pall Mall excised?

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Michael,

Your photos show the horizontal filing marks on both flats, that I referred to above; the remains "LL" of PALL are just visible.  The '18 is very obviously different from '19. Seeing these photos reminds me that all of the bluing in the ricasso area has been polished off from mine.

 

Julian,

I did track down your thread on RAF-marked P.'07's from 2014.  You had noted the well-scrubbed look in the ricasso areas and that is consistent with this one.

 

Chris,

I think that you have nailed it as being an item from an honour guard. That would account for the well-polished blade, the unused "newish" appearance of the scabbard leather, the brightly painted locket & chape and the professional quality of the brass grips.  Life in an arid, very hot Middle Eastern climate would account for the leather drying out, losing weight and shrinking. If an Honour Guard is not organised theatricality I cannot imagine what is.

 

Many thanks to all for your input.

 

Regards,

JMB

 

 

 

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