British Lee Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine Bayonet
Single-fullered bowie knife blade with clipped point. Wood scale grips secured with two screws. Mk I steel scabbard with flush mouthpiece, round frog stud and drainage hole at the chape. Green canvas frog with retaining loop.
The ricasso of the blade is stamped on one side with a circle, the blade is otherwise unmarked. One of the wood grips is stamped with a broad arrow between the screws, and another broad arrow over ‘C’ over ‘I68’, possibly a manufacturer code. The various companies that produced components for the No. 5 were all assigned alphanumeric codes during the war. The pommel is stamped with ‘RO. RD. 5’. The reverse of the frog has a partly legible number written in ink: ‘0_84’.
The No. 5 Bayonet was developed during WW2 amidst ongoing discussions about the future of British bayonet design. The long 1907 Pattern sword bayonets were clearly a thing of the past, while the very short No. 4 spike bayonets were easy to manufacture but crude, and of little use as anything but a bayonet. The Armament Design Department based at Cheshunt designed a shortened knife blade bayonet, with prototyping done by Wilkinson. By 1943 the blade shape had settled on that of a Bowie knife, and production began at Wilkinson.
The No. 5 fitted to the new Lee Enfield No. 5 Mk I rifle designed at the same time: a shortened and lightened form of the No. 4 originally intended for airborne troops. In the event the No. 5 saw most use in the Far East, both during WW2 and in postwar conflicts, earning it the nickname ‘Jungle Carbine’.
This rifle had a new flared flash hider which made it incompatible with any older bayonets – the noticeably large muzzle ring of the No. 5 bayonet was shaped to accommodate it. It also fitted to the Sterling submachine gun designed in the same period. Around 330,000 No. 5 bayonets were manufactured between 1943 and 1945.
The blade is bright with some spots of patination. The hilt, pommel and base of the blade retain their original blued finish. The wood grips are undamaged with only a few light dents. The blueing of the scabbard has worn on the frog stud, at its edges and at the chape from rubbing and scratches. The exposed steel is bright in places and patinated in others. The frog has some rubbing wear and spots of orange staining.