Then there were all of the assorted punch daggers, knuckle and trench knives from WW-I. Whether they were suitable for combat in WW-2 or not is questionable. But some men either modified their issue knives to have knuckles or ordered custom knuckle knives. The BC-41 is the iconic knuckle knife and some say the “BC” stands for British Commando. To be honest I have not thoroughly looked into that.
Simple hunting knives were a good option, since they provided greater versatility and functionality than the double edged F-S. I have seen photos of commandos reportedly butchering livestock with their command daggers. There is no knife more poorly designed for that chore than an F-S knife! A good folding knife would have been far more useful for those domestic or survival chores.
Many “combat” knives were modified from kitchen knives, made from files or other sharp or pointy tools like awls or sharpening steels. Bayonets and swords were chopped down to more manageable sizes and re-purposed into fighting knives. I even saw a fighting knife made from ½ of a sheep shears. Desperate times demand desperate methods. Many collectors focus on theater-made or modified knives, those created in the theaters of combat. Many of those primitive knives gave more mental comfort than martial advantage. Often the blades were poorly shaped and questionably heat treated. The up-side for today’s collector is they are usually inexpensive to buy and are limitless in style.
So not everyone wanted a Fairbairn-Sykes and many who were issued one did not carry it. I was contacted by one person whose grandfather preferred his leather washer handled dagger over his Wilkinson First Pattern. When you wonder how it’s possible for mint condition F-S knives to show up in sales and auctions, remember not everyone was in love with the F-S knife and some troops probably stuck them away in a footlocker or sea bag and carried their trusted hunting knife.
My next post will be a segment from my F-S book.