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Antiques and Collectibles: Bayonet

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Forum: Antiques and CollectiblesReplies: 3, Views: 100
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Fountain, FL
(Zone 8a)

July 7, 2009
9:17 PM

Post #6790048

A friend brought over an old bayonet he got in trade for yard work. We're thinking WWII or maybe WWI. He'd like to find info on it if possible ie: age and value, country of origin. The first picture is of the markings at the base of the hilt.

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Fountain, FL
(Zone 8a)

July 7, 2009
9:23 PM

Post #6790063

The second picture is of the bayonet and sheath...this one showes the best detail of the sheath. Picture #3 will show the best detail of the whole bayonet. There are/is other markings on the other side of the blade, but I really don't think I can get them...will try if need be.

Thumbnail by Ginger_H
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Fountain, FL
(Zone 8a)

July 7, 2009
9:24 PM

Post #6790068


Thumbnail by Ginger_H
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Camarillo, CA

July 19, 2009
3:46 AM

Post #6836674

The bayonet would appear to be a British model. The bayonet's engraved crown is the British Crown Imperial and the initials G.R.I. (George, Rex, Imperator) refer to King George the V's official title, "King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India" (reigned between 1911 and 1936). Since the Lee-Enfield rifle was in production from 1907 to 1953, the initials could refer to his son King George the VI who reigned between 1936 and 1952.

The following except from Wikipedia give a history of the rifle that this bayonet was probably used with: "The iconic Lee-Enfield rifle, the SMLE Mk III, was introduced on 26 January 1907,[7] along with a Pattern 1907 (P'07) Sword Bayonet and featured a simplified rear sight arrangement and a fixed, rather than a bolt-head-mounted sliding, charger guide. The design of the handguards and the magazine were also improved, and the chamber was adapted to fire the new Mk VII High Velocity spitzer .303 ammunition. Many early model rifles, of Magazine Lee Enfield (MLE), Magazine Lee Metford (MLM), and SMLE type, were upgraded to the Mk III standard. These are designated Mk IV Cond., with various asterisks denoting subtypes.[19]

During the First World War, the standard SMLE Mk III was found to be too complicated to manufacture (an SMLE Mk III rifle cost the British Government 3/15/-)[20], and demand was outstripping supply, so in late 1915 the Mk III* was introduced,[19] which incorporated several changes, the most prominent of which were the deletion of the magazine cut-off,[17] and the long range volley sights.[21] The windage adjustment capability of the rear sight was also dispensed with, and the cocking piece was changed from a round knob to a serrated slab.[21] Rifles with some or all of these features present are found, as the changes were implemented at different times in different factories and as stocks of preexisting parts were used.[22] The magazine cut-off was reinstated after the First World War ended,[21] and not entirely dispensed with until 1942.

The inability of the principal manufacturers (RSAF Enfield, Birmingham Small Arms, and London Small Arms) to meet military production demands led to the development of the "peddled scheme", which contracted out the production of whole rifles and rifle components to several shell companies.[23]

The SMLE Mk III* (redesignated Rifle No.1 Mk III* in 1926) saw extensive service throughout the Second World War as well, especially in the North African, Italian, Pacific and Burmese theatres in the hands of British and Commonwealth forces. Australia and India retained and manufactured the SMLE Mk III* as their standard-issue rifle during the conflict[24], and the rifle remained in Australian military service through the Korean War, until it was replaced by the L1A1 SLR in the late 1950s. The Lithgow Small Arms Factory finally ceased production of the SMLE Mk III* in 1953."

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