Original British WWII Early 3rd Pattern Broad Arrow Marked Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife with Scabbard
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very good example of an early "Third Pattern" British Fairbairn-Sykes commando dagger, with a blacked brass handle and original scabbard. As brass was a "strategic material," only the early examples of the third pattern have brass handles, with later war produced models having blacked alloy handles. The handle dates production to late 1943 - early 1944. The knives varied somewhat in size, and this example measures 11 ½”, with a 6 ¾” blade. It example comes with the standard belt scabbard, with worn elastic at the top, which is definitely WWII production, and well broken in.
Condition of the knife is very good, still with relatively sharp edges, and some of the original black finish on the blade. The plain blued steel cross guard is tight on the blade with no wobble, and still has most of the original finish. It is marked with I over a British "Broad Arrow" proof on one side, with ENGLAND on the other. This marking was required when many were exported as surplus post WWII for the collector's market. The handle is overall very good but appears to have been stripped of the black finish.
The original scabbard is in good condition, with the expected wear from being used in service. The leather is well broken in and soft, with some creasing and a few small tears. The brass chape is still present, but has some denting at the bottom. It still has the original elastic strap at the top.
An increasingly hard to find knife that would fit into any British WWII collection.
Blade length: 6 3/4”
Blade Style: Spear Point Knife
Overall length: 11 1/2”
Scabbard length: 7 1/4" with belt loop
History of the FS British Commando Dagger:
The demand for a good fighting knife was so very urgent that a meeting was arranged in November 1940 between W. E. Fairbairn, E. A. Sykes and Jack Wilkinson Latham at Wilkinson Sword Company.
Fairbairn and Sykes described the type of knife they envisioned and the purpose for which it was intended. As discussion continued, preliminary sketches were drawn
up and modified time and time again.
As Robert Wilkinson Latham tells it: 'In order to explain exactly their point, the two men rose to their feet and one, it was Fairbairn my grandfather mentioned, grabbed the wood ruler from his desk and the two men danced around the office in mock combat'.
The very first 1st Pattern F-S Fighting Knives were made in November 1940. In January 1941, the full war full production started, according to Robert Wilkinson Latham.
The grip was made from solid brass and cut by 16 lines per inch in a diamond pattern. The grip and hand guard were nickel plated. The hand guard was curved to S-shape.
The blade was grounded by hand. For this reason it is difficult to find two blades of exactly the same size and shape. This model was produced in very limited numbers.
The very first 1st Pattern Wilkinson Sword F-S knives were ordered the 14th of November 1940. Order 294 mentions 500 'RBD and Commercial knives' but possibly less. They were called in this way in the order to disguise the actual type of knife.
The 1st Pattern was delivered from November 1940 until April 1941. 17th of December 1940 5000 "hunting knives" were ordered. This order concerned the first 1st Pattern knives. Price for each was 13 s 6d. All together 6 779 - 1st pattern were made according to Robert Wilkinson Latham.
In 1941 to speed production, the design was simplified and it was called the 'New Pattern' in Wilkinson Sword Contract Book and Pall Mall Works Orders, which is now called the 2nd Pattern. The blade was still drop forged and hand ground, but without special square ricasso. The hand guard was no longer curved, though otherwise the grip remained the same. This pattern was made between 12th of August 1941 until the end of 1943.
Originally, these were nickel-plated as the First pattern knives had been, but as production increased, the blade was left bright steel, and the grip was instead blackened. After 6th of February 1943, the blade was also finished black, so the entire knife was now black.
Markings were also minimized to reduce production time, so often the only markings would be the broad arrow proof on the grip.
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