Fighting knives used by British commandos and SOE during WW2

 

Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife - Beaded/Roped & Ribbed.

                                                               

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.  

On the picture to the left:

Beaded and Ringed Commando knife

Original WW2 cap badge for RCSSE

Original  WW2 pair of Shoulder titles for RCSSE

 

updated 2013-02-12


 

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

 

 

 

Commando knife with Pearled or Beaded grip with nine rings.

Marked with 9

 

Beaded and Ribbed

or beads and ridges model

At that time other companies started to produce F-S fighting knives also.

In the autumn of 1942, the Rodgers firm also produced what may be the finest of all the wartime Fairbairn-Sykes knives: the Beads and Ridges model or Beaded & Ringed.

It is named so by collectors for its distinctive grip pattern of rings of tiny beads, spaced with sections of rings.

The handle was cast in pure brass. The blades are delicate and uniform, and the weapon, though light, is perfectly balanced.

They are all black or nickel finish knives.

These knives are rare.

According to both Fredrick Stephens and Leroy Thompson the Beaded and Ringed Commando knife was a commercial variant for private purchase. This is not altogether correct. There are some rare cases of this type which were officially issued with the Broad arrow.

 

 

Beaded and ringed with six beaded rings.

It is very rare to find a knife with six rings.

(own collection)

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Roped & Ribbed.

Roped and ribbed with its scabbard.
Marked with
2


(private collection)

 

By the end of the war a variation was produced of the Roped and ringed or Ribbed and Roped.

It has a longer hilt than other knives of this type.

This variation is considered by collectors to be even more rare than the beaded and ringed.

According to Allan Locken not much is known about these knives, only that they were available during the war. Even the pictures are rare and information found in most knife publications witness about how rare they are. Here is however one of those knives which belonged to Mike Silvey which has the Broad arrow with the number 2 acceptance stamp.

 

Here you can see details of the grips of the two knives above:

Left - "Beaded and Ringed"

Right "Roped and Ringed".

Note the Beaded and ringed knife has the old type of blade with a small wedge.

Both types can be found with acceptance markings which can be seen here.

 

Beaded & Ringed together with Roped & Ringed were considered private purchase knives.
Although there are those knives with official Broad arrow like the two knives on this page. (My own collection)

 

Two different grips of Roped & Ringed.

Top 9 rings of Rope (own collection)

Left 10 rings of Rope
(Courtesy of Jarle Ostensvik)

 Note the different pommels

The parallel type of cross guard is clearly seen here.

 

 

Specifikations for Beaded/Roped and Ringed 
Length over all 11.6" - 13.1" 295 - 332 mm
Length of blade 6.4" - 7" 163 - 179 mm
Wheight 220 - 240 gram 230 - 255 gram

 


 

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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.