Iconic British WW1 Pattern 1907 bayonet made in 1915 by the Wilkinson Sword company and bearing very rare unit markings for the 1st Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Section, Royal Engineers. The use of aircraft in armed conflict was in its infancy during World War One. The anti-aircraft searchlight section of the Royal Engineers consisted of one officer and nineteen other ranks to operate three searchlights. The section was deployed to France in 1915.
The 435mm, single edged blade has a long narrow fuller and rounded spine. The edge was service sharpened. The blade is in good condition, bright and without rust or damage. There are crude sharpening scratches along the edge.
The ricasso is marked with a faint crown over the pattern date 1907 and the date of manufacture 9 ’15 (September, 1915) below which is stamped “Wilkinson.” The obverse ricasso bears the War Department broad arrow, bend test stamp and two Enfield inspection stamps. The obverse ricasso is also stamped with the numeral 21 and the letter G.
The crosspiece and muzzle ring are bright and clean, as is the steel pommel which is stamped “1. A. A.” over “R. E.” The pommel also bears a cancelled stamp of “D. 2. C.” and the numeral 243, the latter being an issue or weapon number. The wooden grip scales are in good condition with some marks and age related colouration. The scales are held firmly in place by the two screws. The push button locking mechanism is in good condition and works well.
The bayonet is complete with its black leather scabbard with a tear-drop frog stud. The scabbard is in excellent condition. The leather is stamped with the War Department broad arrow, the letter, W (Wilkinson) and R.E (Royal Engineers) over the date ’15 (1915). The stitching is intact and strong. The steel locket and chape retain much of their original blueing. The bayonet sheathes and draws smoothly and is held firmly within the scabbard.
This is a good example of the iconic British World War One Enfield bayonet, made exceptional by the very rare unit markings linking it to the early days of combat flying.