One of the first tools in human history.
Already during the ice
age the knife was a vital part of human equipment for survival. The knives at
that time were made by parts of bones, which had been sharpened. These men
hunted animals to have protein. They had no possibility to stay in one place
long enough to grow crops to eat. These people were nomads. Protein was
essential for there survival. They used their knives for slaughtering and
cutting the captured animals. For this reason the knife was an essential tool
for survival. It was one of the very first tools used by men in the history of
human beings. This happened some 20 000 years ago. Later on knives were made
from different types of stone like flint, copper, brass, iron and at last steel.
knife or dagger is also one of the oldest weapons in the world and it is most likely
impossible to make inventions any more. The unique feature of the F-S
Fighting knife was the composition and the perfect balance.
sure Fairbairn-Sykes brought with them some specific ideas how they wanted a
true fighting knife to look like. Jack Wilkinson Latham had a tremendously
experience of different types of knives. In the archives of Wilkinson Sword a
drawing has been found with his stamp and double dates on. One date is 4th of
November 1940 – the same date as they met. The other date goes back to March
1931 - Years before the Shanghai knives.
design of the F-S resembles a classic dagger design which was common in Europe
for hundreds of years.
admit that the unique feature of the F-S Fighting knife was the composition and
the perfect balance, we perhaps have to look for a forth man who contributed to
this feature -
Captain (later Colonel) Leslie Wood R.E. was a key figure in SOE, the Commandos
and others. He remembered:
‘… I helped
to get Fairbairn and Sykes over to us from the Shanghai Riot Police … I was
responsible for getting the well known “Fighting Knife” made and I seem to
remember that I slightly altered the balance to ensure that they could be tossed
from hand to hand without visual assistance. I expect Fairbairn and Sykes helped
We have to
remember that there was a war going on and the British needed to encourage the
public opinion in every possible way. The Commando units were an invention by
Winston Churchill. A special knife for these Commandos was a strong contribution
to the propaganda war.
For sure this
knife is not a one man show but a joint design by W.E. Fairbairn, E.A. Sykes,
L.J.C. Wood and J. Wilkinson Latham to bring out the best Fighting knife for the
best of the best as Fairbairn said.