Single-fullered ‘yataghan’ downward-curving blade, cross hilt with lower quillon with round finial, and upper quillon projecting from the muzzle ring. Black chequered grips (technically, knurled) of pressed leather, attached to the tang with three rivets on one side and four on the other. External leaf spring which actuates the locking catch, attached by a single screw. Steel beaked pommel. No scabbard.
Blade length: 22.5 inches (57.1cm), overall length 27¾ inches (70.5cm), muzzle ring diameter 21mm
The blade is stamped at the ricasso on one side with a knight’s helm, indicating the manufacturer C F Kirschbaum of Solingen, Germany. The pommel is stamped next to the mortise slot with ‘176’, probably a rack number.
In 1859 growing tensions in Europe raised concerns about Britain’s vulnerability to potential invasion. To bolster national defenses the War Office sanctioned the establishment of ‘Volunteer Corps’. These units were somewhat a reinvention of the militia – non-professional soldiers who were expected to provide their own uniform and equipment, train at regular intervals and be ready for mobilisation in case of invasion. Providing their own equipment extended to arms too – some volunteers rifle units were provided with Army surplus but many instead pooled money and purchased weaponry from the commercial market. The 1860 Pattern Short Rifle became a popular choice for volunteers, as it was modern and more accurate than surplus 1853 Patterns.
This bayonet lacks any British government inspection, stores or usage marks, only the maker’s mark and a rack number positioned in the usual place for British arms. This suggests that it was sold on the commercial market but used in an organised British-style unit, i.e. the Volunteers. Germany would have been the obvious place to source bayonets – their arms factories produced large quantities of good quality equipment and were used to taking British government contracts.
Some small nicks to the edge (unsharpened) and light patination in places. The hilt, pommel, rivets and exposed tang have a dark patina. The locking button functions well. The leather grips are in good condition with little handling wear and no losses.