British 1888 Mk III Pattern Bayonet by Enfield
Spear pointed unfullered blade, wood scale grips attached with two screws. Steel pommel with clearance hole and hilt with short quillon & muzzle ring. Black leather Mk 1 scabbard with steel throat and chape.
The blade is stamped at the ricasso with a broad arrow meaning War Department property, ‘EFD’ meaning the manufacturer, the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield, a crown inspection mark with ‘E’ for Enfield and an ‘X’ which indicates that the blade passed a manufacturer’s bending test. The other side of the blade is unmarked. The spine of the blade is stamped with another ‘E’ crown inspection mark. The exposed tang is stamped with ‘M’ and a further crown inspection stamp with ‘M’. The leather of the scabbard is stamped ‘WSC’ indicating the manufacturer Wilkinson.
The Mk III was the last iteration of the 1888 Pattern bayonet, and was manufactured between 1901 and 1904, almost entirely at Enfield, by converting old Mk I and Mk II bayonets. The only changes made were that the metalwork was refinished and the riveted wood grips were replaced with new ones attached by screws, allowing them to be removed by armourers for easier refinishing in the future. This example has been converted from a Mk II, because it has a clearance hole in the pommel – the clearance hole of the Mk I was in the grip and would be removed in the conversion.
Only a very small proportion of 1888 Patterns were overhauled to Mk III: 65,003 out of the more than 800,000 Mk Is and IIs produced. This was probably because of the introduction of the new 1903 Pattern, many of which were also produced by converting 1888s. An unknown number of Mk IIIs were produced in the same way and sold commercially by the firm Greener, but the government stamps on this example suggest that it was from the official production run.
The blade is bright and entirely clean, with the only marks being those from sheathing and drawing. The clarity of the blade markings suggest it has probably not been repolished since conversion. The hilt, tang, pommel, scabbard parts and a band at the ricasso of the blade are all blued with an excellent finish. The wood grips are undamaged, with only one very small, shallow dent between the rivets on one side. The scabbard leather is undamaged with only very light rubbing wear. A truly excellent example.