A military fighting (trench) knife is a combat knife designed for use at close quarters. These knives were developed in response to a need for a close combat weapon for soldiers conducting assaults and raids on enemy trenches in WW1. Initially, these knives were a private purchase item by soldiers and often these weapons were made by the troops themselves from cut down bayonets. Later, company armourers undertook the task of shortening bayonets for use by the troops.
This trench knife is fashioned from a Ross rifle bayonet and looks to have been professionally done, probably by a regimental armourer.
The 190mm single-edged, Bowie-style blade has a rounded spine and terminates in a clip point with a 60mm upper false edge. The blade is in good condition with age and use related marks and light scratches. One side of the blade shows crude sharpening scratches. The blade retains a sharp fighting edge.
The modified cross-piece is stamped with the letters ANL. The same letters are also stamped on the spine of the tang and at the end of the pommel. I am un-sure as to whether this is a unit identification or a private soldiers’ initials but the number of stamps (including a further two on the scabbard) are suggestive of military ownership.
The hardwood grip scales are in good used condition and are held firmly in place by the original fixings. The spine of the tang bears crowned inspection stamps. The modified pommel has had the press-stud mechanism ground flush. The pommel bears the original maker and designation stamps (originally this was a P1907 Ross Mk1 bayonet). The bayonet was originally made in 1908.
The bayonet is complete with its original Mk II leather scabbard with integral frog. The scabbard is in very good condition with scuffing to the leather commensurate with age. The stitching is intact and strong. The tip of the scabbard has a steel button bearing a Canadian inspection stamp. The foot of the scabbard is stamped with a Canadian government ownership mark and the Mk II pattern designation. The belt loop of the scabbard frog is stamped fore and aft with the letters ANL. A Canadian government ownership mark is stamped beside the ANL on the front of the belt loop.
This is a great example of a WW1 trench fighting knife converted from a 1907 pattern Ross bayonet.
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