Fighting knives used by British commandos and SOE during WW2

 

2nd Pattern Private Purchase knives.

                                                               

Text and pictures by
Olof Janson unless otherwise stated
.

Special honour should be given to:

  • Robert Wilkinson-Lath
    am,
  • Ron Flook,
  • Roy Shadbolt.

Who have given me much assistance.  

 

 

updated 2013-02-10


 

INDEX

Forming of Commandos
The Shanghai fighting knives
1st Pattern F-S Fighting knife
2nd Pattern F-S Fighting knife
2nd Pattern F-S Fighting Private Purchase knife
2nd Pattern F-S Fighting w/o Wilkinson trademark.like B2, Fat Man, Reverse Knurling
3rd Pattern F-S Fighting knife
Beaded & Ringed - Roped & Ringed

Steel hilt and Different hilts

Wood handles.

US Marine Raider Stiletto OSS - Stiletto w.'Pancake Flapper' and

Odd knives

Three Indian F-S Commando Knives

Sheaths
Marks
UK Commando knives; Postwar production

 

 

Private Purchased knives from Wilkinson

 F-S Fighting knives of the 2nd Pattern are sometimes found with scroll etching on the blades. These are private purchased knives from Wilkinson. When stocks permitted they sold knives to other members of the armed forces and Britain's allies.

 A Private Purchase knife may be identified by having a name engraved in a scroll on the blade but that is not for sure.

 The price for the extra scroll was 1/6d!

Sometimes a Private Purchase knife is found without the scroll but you can never know for sure if it is a Private Purchase or from Government Contracts.

These knives were no different from any of the others supplied to Room 55a, Government Store. These Private Purchase knives were not Government Inspection of Wilkinson Inspection rejects as has been suggested by some collectors! Wilkinson accepted small differences in length of the blades. They inspected their own knives and these knives were by some strange reason not considered as weapons like the bayonets.

 

 A Private Purchase knife 2nd Pattern made by Wilkinson Sword.

 

Name scrolls on blades.

There are two different styles of scrolls:

One for the initials

One for the full name.

On Blue blade
Heavy scroll
Etching even on some Third Pattern F-S

Robert Wilkinson-Latham explains:
The etcher here, because of the length of the inscription, was unable to use the various scrolls from the etching plate so he has cut the two pieces of scroll work from two pressings of the Wilkinson Trade mark etch plate, spaced them on the blade and then hand lettered the inscription between the two in Yellow Chromate paint.
To give the impression of a panel, he then has 'Stopped' the bright metal on each edge of the blade and left and right of the inscription and scrolls with Yellow Chromate paint, allowing it to dry before using the glass rod and wool dipped in dilute Nitric acid to etch the blade.
Even with the war on, always attention to detail at Wilkinsons!!! 
(Courtesy of Roy Shadbolt)

 

Rare light etching on Black Private Purchase 2nd Pattern knife.

(Courtesy of John Fischer)

 

 

No sub standard knives sold for Private Purchase FS Knives by Wilkinsons.

 I have asked Robert Wilkinson Latham about a theory among some collectors:
Did Wilkinson Sword use the shorter blades for commercial purposes, because these blades did not fulfil the  demands of
MoD. What do you say about this conjecture?

 Robert Wilkinson Latham answered me:

No. At the time Wilkinsons were still hand grinding the blades and orders had to be pushed out in a rush. Remember there was NO Government inspection and as long as the Wilkinson Inspector passed it, it was shipped. I have noticed they do vary in the blade length but they certainly WERE NOT REJECTS and were perfectly serviceable blades. NO SUB STANDARDS BLADES LEFT THE FACTORY EVER!!!!

 


 

Here is a splendid example of a Private Purchase knife:

H.G. Giles F-S Commando knife
from 1942  made by Wilkinson Sword.

(Courtesy of Roy Shadbolt)

 

Please visit Roy Shadbolt's excellent website about these knives
The Wilkinson F-S Collection

 


 

I want to give special acknowledgement to these gentlemen, who assisted me with material for this article:

  • Robert Wilkinson-Latham,

  • Roy Shadbolt in USA. Please visit his excellent website about these knives
    The Wilkinson F-S Collection

  • John Fischer, USA

 

 

Forming of Commandos
The Shanghai fighting knives
 

There are three basic modells of the F-S fighting knife.

1st Pattern F-S Fighting knife
2nd Pattern F-S Fighting knife
2nd Pattern F-S Fighting Private Purchase knife
2nd Pattern F-S Fighting w/o Wilkinson trademark.
like B2, Fat Man, Reverse Knurling
3rd Pattern F-S Fighting knife
Beaded & Ringed - Roped & Ringed

Steel hilt and Different hilts

Wood handles.

OSS - Stiletto w.'Pancake Flapper' and
US Marine Raider Stiletto

Three Indian F-S Commando Knives

Odd knives

Sheaths
Marks
Sheaths
UK Commando knives; Postwar production

 

The Stalingrad Sword made by Wilkinson Sword.

 

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References:

Robert Wilkinson Latham His own web site
Alan W. Locken Commando 1940 - 1945
Robert A. Burlein Allied Military Fightingknives
Ron Flook British and Commonwealth military knives.
Fredrick J. Stephens Fighting Knives
Frank Trzaska The O.S.S. Stiletto - Knife World February 1998.
Frank Trzaska The Raider Stiletto - Knife World July 1997
Kelly Yeaton The First Commando Knives.
John Nowhill & son Sheffield
Michigan knives  
Dr. William Windrum  The earliest commando knivesAllan W. Locken Commando 1940 - 1945.