British Lee Enfield 1907 Pattern Bayonet, Transjordan Frontier Force, Dated 1917 by Sanderson
Straight single-fullered knife blade, steel hilt with muzzle ring, wood slab grips secured by two screws, steel beaked pommel with oil hole and locking button. Black leather No. 1 Mk 2 scabbard with steel locket & teardrop frog stud and steel chape piece.
The ricasso is stamped on one side with a crown over 1907 (the pattern) ‘8 ‘17’, indicating the manufacture date of August 1917, and the maker’s mark ‘Sanderson’. On the other side it is stamped with a ‘broad arrow’ War Department stores mark, three crown inspection marks with ‘E’ from Enfield and an ‘X’ indicating that it passed a manufacturer’s bending test. The pommel is stamped with ‘T.J.F.F.’, indicating issue to the Transjordan Frontier Force, above ‘1085’, probably a rack number. The scabbard’s locket is stamped beside the staple with ‘RE’ within a circle.
The Transjordan Frontier Force was formed in 1926 by the British High Commissioner for Palestine to patrol and secure the borders of the relatively new Emirate of Transjordan, a British protectorate. Despite its name and area of activity, it was formally part of the imperial forces of Palestine, although security in the Transjordan was regarded as ensuring security for Palestine. were initially drawn from the Arab Legion, which was the regular army of the Transjordan, as well as the disbanded Palestine Gendarmerie, but the TJFF was much more a British creation than either of these, with up-to-date equipment and training.
Using tactics for highly mobile desert fighting developed in WW1, the TJFF was composed primarily of cavalry (in the mounted infantry role), with a camel company (see attached picture, note the visible 1907 bayonets on the belts of each man) and later several mechanised companies of armoured cars equipped with Vickers machine guns. Its senior officers, majors and above, were all British while captains and below were a mixture of Arabs, Circassians, Sudanese and Jews. It was mainly tasked with supporting local police against civil unrest and banditry, preventing cross-border incursions from Ikhwan raiders, and discouraging expansion of Saudi Arabia and Syria into the new Emirate. During the Palestinian Revolt of 1939 it countered arms smuggling and illegal migration.
In WW2 the TJFF was expanded to around 3,000 men, grouped into a cavalry regiment and a mechanised regiment. In May 1941 the mechanised D Company was ordered into Iraq as part of the campaign against the German-backed revolutionary government – its soldiers refused to cross the border and reportedly pointed rifles at their officers, so the company was withdrawn and disbanded.
Moving past this slight embarrassment, the TJFF successfully supported Allied forces in the Syrian campaign of June 1941, playing to its strengths as advance guard, scouts and flank protection for Indian Army infantry, as well as guarding the railway lines. It was deployed to the Turkish border in 1942, and its mechanised regiment was sent to the Persian Gulf in 1943 to help control locust swarms. In 1944 it returned to Syria as a peacekeeping force.
After WW2 the TJFF was increasingly dragged into policing the spiralling violence between Jews and Arabs in Palestine, which inevitably made it unpopular. With Transjordan soon to become independent, the TJFF was disbanded in 1948 and its members absorbed into the Arab Legion, which became the modern Jordanian Armed Forces.
The blade is clean and has an even finish, with some polishing marks and small nicks to its edge towards the end of the fuller. There are a few noticeable dents to the wood grip on the outer side (as worn). Some patination to the hilt, pommel and scabbard parts all have a bright finish – any original blued finish may have been polished off. Speckled pitting to the scabbard parts.