British Naval Contract Lanchester SMG Bayonet
Straight single-fullered shortened 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 & circular frog stud and steel chape piece. Green canvas frog. Blade 12.8 inches, 17.6 inches overall.
The ricasso is stamped on one side with a crown with ‘GR’ over 1907 (the pattern) ‘S294’, the wartime manufacturer code assigned to Wilkinson, ‘W S C’ for Wilkinson Sword Company, and ‘2 44’, indicating the manufacture date of February 1944. On the other side it is stamped with two ‘broad arrow’ War Department stores marks, and another small mark. The leather of the scabbard is stamped ‘W 11’ and the chape piece of the scabbard is stamped beside the staple with ‘W J M’ within a diamond.
The Lanchester was a British 9mm calibre submachine gun inspired by the German Bergmann, manufactured during the Second World War and primarily used by the Royal Navy. While the Lanchester was compatible with the existing stocks of 1907 pattern bayonets produced for the Lee Enfield No.1 rifle, in 1943 the Admiralty placed an order with Wilkinson for 87,600 new bayonets with a blackened finish on the blade. The bayonets for this contract all carry the ‘S294’ code used by Wilkinson from 1942 and have a different style of marking to older production 1907s.
The blade has its original dark blackened finish distinctive to the type – notably the finish appears to have been reapplied after shortening and reprofiling was carried out. The hilt and pommel have a browned finish with some wear to raised edges. Only a few small dents to the wood grips, which appear to have a thumb notch on one side next to the hilt. The scabbard parts have been blued with some patination, and denting at the tip of the chape. The scabbard leather is good with only minor surface dents and scratches. Some light rubbing to the frog, no loss of stitching.
The blade has been shortened from its original 17 inches. In 1944 there were proposals to convert the various No. 1 pattern bayonets in store to No. 5 pattern, which would entail shortening the blade to around 12 inches – it is possible this was one of those converted. The scabbard is of standard length.