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WW2 British & Commonwealth India Pattern Mk.III Bayonet - 1944 - Near Mint

WW2 British & Commonwealth India Pattern Mk.III Bayonet - 1944 - Near Mint

$250.00
Product code: 118

Availability: SOLD

Quick Overview:

AN EXCELLENT SECOND WORLD WAR BRITISH TRANSITIONAL INDIA PATTERN LEE ENFIELD NUMBER 1 MARK III BAYONET AND SCABBARD MANUFACTURED BY RFI (RIFLE FACTORY ISHAPORE) IN APRIL 1944 TO FIT THE SHORT MAGAZINE LEE ENFIELD, FITTED WITH A MARKED ‘38 PATTERN WEBBING FROG. 

Details

AN EXCELLENT SECOND WORLD WAR BRITISH TRANSITIONAL INDIA PATTERN LEE ENFIELD NUMBER 1 MARK III BAYONET AND SCABBARD MANUFACTURED BY RFI (RIFLE FACTORY ISHAPORE) IN APRIL 1944 TO FIT THE SHORT MAGAZINE LEE ENFIELD, FITTED WITH A MARKED ‘38 PATTERN WEBBING FROG. 

This scarce near mint bayonet is in superb original condition and was manufactured during the Second World War in April 1944.  The square hilt (not rounded as on the Number 1 Mark II and Mk II*) indicate that this is a genuine Number 1 Mark III despite the Mk II stamped on the blade. The fact that it has the Mk II stamp on its ricasso combined with its March 1944 manufacture date show that this is an early transitional blade (the first Mark III’s utilized Mark II and Mark II* blades).

On the obverse ricasso the markings are clearly visible, with the RFI manufacturer’s stamp, the MkII type mark (even though this is a Mark III) and 4 ’44 (April 1944) date stamped at the base of the blade.    It also bears the King George VI Crown and initials GRI (George Rex Imperator - 1938 - 1952), while on the reverse ricasso there are a couple of inspector’s numbers and marks IS 284, IS 336 and IS 104.  Both the mahogany grips and scabbard are in excellent original condition while the 12 inch blade retains almost all of its original blueing.  The Scabbard is stamped and embossed with the manufacturers mark W.Co. and the date 1944 and also still retains much of its original bluing on the locket and chape (see pictures). The ‘38 Pattern bayonet frog is in similarly excellent condition and is indistinctly stamped with a manufacturers mark and the date 51 on the rear face.

Interestingly, photographs of the later Chindit expeditions and Imphal, Kohima and Arakan battles show many of the troops equipped with this Mark III bayonet.  It also appears to have been widely issued by the time of the re-invasion of Burma by 14th Army in late 1944 and 1945 as many photographs from numerous different formations show troops equipped with India Pattern bayonets. A photograph of Brigadier Mike Calvert with Lt-Colonel Freddie Shaw, carrying an India Pattern Bayonet, and Major James Lumley in the ruins of Mogaung town in 1944, is attached for reference.

These bayonets are rare, especially in this condition.  They were made to fit the India Pattern Mark 1 or Mark 2A Lee Enfield Rifles manufactured for use in the Far East Theatre of Operations, and specifically Burma as the long 1907 bayonet had proved unwieldy in the early Jungle fighting against the Japanese.  Whilst a number of RFI Mark II and III bayonets stamped DP, which stands for Drill Purpose, have turned up in recent years, this is not a DP model.  On those models, RFI cut down the No.1, 18 inch bayonet to 12 inches and dulled the edge and point to create a drill bayonet.

This bayonet however is not a cutdown (it has no blood gutter), nor is it stamped DP.  It is a Transitional India pattern Number 1 Mark III in near mint original condition from a well regarded maker: steel and wood hilt with a round steel press button and internal spring, two piece mahogany wood grips, secured by two steel screw bolts, steel crossguard with muzzle ring and short quillion.  Single edged unfullered steel blade with false top edge, dated 4/44.

Maker: Rifle Factory Ishapore (RFI)
Overall Length: 425.0 mm
Blade Length:  307.0 mm
Blade Width (at guard):  24.0 mm
Scabbard: Blued steel and embossed leather with a circular fixing stud (makers stamp).
Overall Length of Scabbard:  325.0 mm
Frog: Tan webbing dated 1951

This is an excellent ‘near mint’ early Transitional India pattern Mark III bayonet; you will not find a better example of one of these WWII British and Commonwealth used bayonets anywhere, it’s a ripper.

Additional Information

Weight (kg) 1.5000
Country of Origin British, Other
Pattern India Pattern Mk.III Bayonet
Bayonet Type Knife
Maker R.F.I.
Year of Manufacture (circa) 1944
Overall Length (mm) 425
Blade Length (mm) 307
Blade Width (at guard) (mm) 24
Scabbard India Pattern Mk.III
Overall Length of Scabbard (mm) 325
Frog ‘38 Pattern