The fourth of July is coming. What does that mean to anyone today except beer and brats? How many people are really thinking about the struggle for Independence, Liberty, and the establishment of the greatest nation on earth? Please remember the sacrifices made to make us free, the men and women who have struggled and died to keep us free, and fly your flag proudly. God bless America and its people.
The masters of mayhem were certainly the weapons designers at places like Aston House and other SOE stations. These two "hatpins" are wicked, deadly needles of steel with triangular grooved blades. The triangular shape provides great rigidity in small sizes. It also creates a hole that is difficult for the body to heal. This is why Triangular bayonet blades were outlawed. It is also why many men pierced by a small sword in a duel died of infection from the un-healing wound. Today there are similar self-defense weapons available from different makers. They are easily concealed and light to carry. Making one would not be too difficult either. They have no other function than killing, whether in defense or in assassination. If you are caught carrying one the courts may not be sympathetic. Concealed weapons are always viewed as more evil than exposed ones. That is the strange posture of the legal system. But i won't get into the political correctness (or incorrectness) of self-defense or carrying weapons.
Who knows what this is?
FOR THE ANSWER: Check out the page on Odds & Ends.
Alright who out there (who besides Ron Flook) knows what sort of knife this is? I'll give you a couple clues. It came in a box with a Smatchet and another similar dagger. It was made in India during, (or possibly even after) WW-II. It is named after a famous British general who fought the Japanese in Burma. The answer is found on the page for Odds & Ends along with additional photos.
Update on my book
For those of you who asked how my book is coming I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is I am rewriting a lot of it. I had to lay it aside for months at a time due to other obligations. Now that summer is here I determined to get it finished. BUT when I started going through it to do a light edit I found that I had lost the flow by carelessly plugging in new information. So that is the bad news.
The good news is I am making good progress. The book will be a little shorter but a lot more readable with better flow and more new photos and information. Since restarting on it I have made contact with several people very important to the story. They are a Mr. Yeaton, son of Kelly Yeaton, William Cassidy, author of “The Complete Book of Knife Fighting,” and a man whom I refer to as Fred. Fred is an anonymous source who actually owns the original F-S that Fairbairn commissioned from a friend in London. The exciting part is that the friend was not Wilkinson Sword Co. Yes you’ll have to buy the book when it’s done to find out who that friend was. In addition to new information I have added some one of a kind knives and more clandestine weapons like hat-pins and sleeve daggers. So the good news tends to outweigh the bad news. Exciting stuff I have been learning!
Here is one of the recent additions to my collection. It is a second pattern blade which has an antique dagger handle and pommel added. The silver guard is the F-S style. It is lying on my keyboard to give me inspiration during a break. The knife came is a metal scabbard with a leather frog. The back of the frog is identified to the owner with the words: QSM Grant. I am told that QSM stands for Quartermaster Sergeant Major.
Some important tips
Here are some important tips on buying third pattern knives to keep you from buying a knife that is not what it is advertised as. A knife with a handle like this is not brass handled. It is an alloy handle whose black surface is gone and with the copper flashing showing. Underneath this is an ugly, grey alloy handle.
A handle with obvious mold parting lines down each side is not a WW-II knife. It is post war and usually not very good quality. The other give-away is the roughly sheared and thin cross-guard whose edges were not polished
Knives with handles like this in brass or blackened are NOT WW-II and they are NOT British Commando Knives. They are made in Pakistan and usually of poor quality. Some have short blades and others have the traditional 7 inch blades. The British Commandos never used Pakistani knives. Another clue is there is no Top Nut.
Knives with Guards stamped: "Sheffield England" are almost always Post-World War II knives. Knives stamped on the guards: NATO 1979 are definitely Post-war!! I have seen some advertised as original WW-II knives and dated to 1979. The war ended in 1945 in case you were sleeping that day in history class.
These numbers on the handles are mold numbers were used to track quality issues. They range from number 1 through 4. They have nothing to do with model or pattern numbers. A number 2 does not designate the knife as a second pattern. I have had "experts" on Ebay argue this with me! Got any questions, email me and I will respond.
My Fairbairn Book
Here is a snippet from my forthcoming book:
More germane to our story is the research into the use of a fighting knife. Fairbairn soon determined there was no suitable fighting knife to be found in Shanghai. So in 1930-31 Fairbairn, along with his compatriot Eric Sykes, set out to design a fighting knife to suit their specific methods of combat. Their production of a “suitable” fighting knife began by experimenting with and converting readily available obsolete bayonets. Documenting that enterprise is a major part of our story.
Some of the best sources of information on these early knives were William Fairbairn’s son John, and daughter Dorothea. John was a Captain in the British Army. While living in Shanghai Dorothea Fairbairn was only a teenager. In 1941, despite her youthful age, she was already deeply involved in the war effort as a Secretary for the S.O.E. assigned to Station XII, Aston House. (Much later in her life she described to Leroy Thompson her memories of her father’s involvement in knife making in the 1930s in Shanghai.)
“Dorothea Fairbairn told me more than once that she remembered her father bringing home various experimental knives made from bayonets early in the war.”
So, beyond any doubt, we know right from the beginning of our story, fighting knives were being made “from bayonets” in the early 1930s in Shanghai, China. Many people have testified to such activities and we shall hear from them in due time. Another principle player in this story is a young American Marine, Lt. Samuel Yeaton. Lt Yeaton arrived in Shanghai in late December of 1931.
John Fairbairn described the making of the first Shanghai model F-S fighting knives saying they used a hunting knife he describes as a “Pig Sticker” for inspiration. John Fairbairn says: “It began with a hunting knife, a very nice hunting knife, and we thought what a lovely weapon this was. It was a pig sticking knife actually, but we made our first knives from the tops of bayonets, there in the armory” It might have looked something like this magnificent Shakespeare knife manufactured by the Wilkinson Sword Co.
 When Fairbairn and Sykes arrive in England they find themselves in the same situation, where the military had not considered fighting knives a necessary part of a soldiers gear.
 Noted author of “Commando Dagger” and many books on military topics.
 Miss Fairbairn is probably referring to her time in Shanghai in the mid nineteen thirties.
 Wm. Cassidy “A Brief History of the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife.”
You can find out more about me on the "Stories" pages. My hobbies have included training in Japanese martial arts, including Kenjutsu, many forms of knife fighting, long range rifles and tactical firearms. I have written several self published books on muzzle-loading firearms, knife-fighting and textbooks on gas engines and compressors. I am working diligently on my 400+ page F-S book.