British M1888 “Green Howards” Boer War Lee Metford Mk1 Type II Bayonet
This bayonet is in good condition for its 124 years of age and is highly collectable. The 305mm double-edged blade is faintly marked on the ricasso with a flat crown above VR (Victoria Regina) and the date 6 ‘94 (June 1894). The obverse ricasso is marked with the British War Department broad arrow, bend test and Enfield factory inspection stamp. The spine also bears two Enfield inspection stamps. The blade has minor age related tarnish and small areas of pitting.
The wooden grip is firm and showing minor age related wear with two large brass rivets positioned close together with an oil hole above the top rivet. The wooden hilt scales bear a faintly impressed inspection stamp.
The steel pommel is bright with mild tarnish and the press-stud locking mechanism is in good working order.
The pommel bears the regimental mark of the First Battalion, Alexandra, Princess of Wales’ Own Yorkshire Regiment, “The Green Howards”. The weapon number “411” is also present and it may be possible to establish which soldier was issued this bayonet.
In 1897, the Green Howards fought in the Tirah Campaign (1897-1898) on the North-West Frontier of India then were deployed to South Africa in 1899 where they saw extensive action during the Anglo-Boer War. The regiment’s third Victoria Cross was awarded after the close fought Battle of Paardeberg in February 1900. The First Battalion remained in South Africa until the end of the Anglo-Boer Wars in 1902.
The bayonet is complete with its original black leather scabbard, which bears traces of a buff coloured paint. The scabbard may have been repainted prior to deployment in India and South Africa as it appears to be of the period. The steel furniture is bright with mild tarnish. The black leather is in excellent condition and the stitching is intact and firm.
The bayonet is held firmly within the scabbard.
In addition to the above mentioned markings, the ricasso also bears an out of service stamp and the steel pommel bears the two inverted broad arrows “sold out of service” stamp which is repeated on the scabbard. By 1903, the First Battalion of the Green Howards had been on continuous campaign for over 5 years (since 1897) and line infantry regiments like the Green Howards were among the first to be issued with the new Enfield P1903 bayonet and rifle, at which time their war weary equipment would have been decommissioned and sold off.