(click to enlarge)
Type Description Blade


      in. mm. in. mm. in. mm.  
Plug Bayonet
Plug bayonet styled closely after the British military plug bayonet of the late 17th Century, used for "Other Ranks" (i.e., enlisted men). However, the markings are not typical of British military plug bayonets, so it is unclear who made and used this particular bayonet.

The markings on this example are on the crosspiece, rather than the blade, as is typically encountered on regulation British military plugs. The grip is walnut, when most British O.R. bayonets used less-expensive oak. British bayonets had a brass finial on the end of the pommel. This one has an iron washer. However, this could have been a repair, after the finial was broken or damaged.

Other than these slight differences, this example is a dead ringer for the short blade British O.R. plug used with a dragoon (short musket). The blade was originally, perhaps, an inch or two longer than it is today.

Surviving military plug bayonets for use by ordinary soldiers are very scarce. Because of this, I will probably never be able to precisely identify or date this piece. However, the latter part of the 17th Century is the most likely period of manufacture, circa 1690.

Crosspiece (side): "F" and "4" (modern marks)

Crosspiece (front): cross and "3" (period marks)

Crosspiece (back): cross or sword and "V" (period marks)

Thumbnail image of long-shanled socket bayonetThumbnail image of long-shanled socket bayonetThumbnail image of long-shanled socket bayonetThumbnail image of long-shanled socket bayonetThumbnail image of long-shanled socket bayonetThumbnail image of long-shanled socket bayonet Long Shank Dutch/Liege Socket Bayonet Socket bayonet for use with an .80 caliber flintlock musket.

The long shank Dutch/Liege socket bayonet was among the earliest socket bayonet patterns. It was used by Britain and likely other countries. In 1715, at the end of the War of Spanish Succession (Queen Anne's War), Britain purchased 20,000 Dutch muskets and flat-bladed bayonets to replenish depleted Army stores until British production could make up for wartime losses. In his book, The Socket Bayonet in the British Army 1687–1783, author-researcher Erik Goldstein, illustrates a nearly identical bayonet, marked in the same way as this example, as the type believed purchased by Britain in 1715.

This example has a two-step I–mortise, indicating that it is the earliest of its type. Most had a third step added during their service life to create a L–mortise, however, this example remains unmodified. The blade is of a flattened hexagonal cross-section, with long shank and a square shoulder with no guard. Later short-shanked Dutch/Liege bayonets had a prominent oval guard at the blade shoulder.

The bayonet is made of iron, which probably accounts for its acquiring a slight bend near the point. The socket is formed by an overlapping weld at the top. The socket length is 2.9375 in. (75 mm.). The blade width is 1.125 in. (29 mm.).

A very scarce bayonet, seldom encountered outside of a museum.

12.00 305 16.50 419 1.00 25.4 Socket: "O" over "No   ?063"
Volunteer Sword/Socket Socket bayonet for use with a .65 caliber flintlock musket.

These were made outside of the British Ordnance System for private sale. This example is identical to bayonet B58 documented in Skennerton's book, British and Commonwealth Bayonets. According to Skennerton, these date from 1775–1800.

The blade is single edged with a shallow fuller on both sides. Blade is 1.25 in (32 mm.) wide. The horizontal blade orientation positions the blade edge down when fixed. The 3.625 in. (92 mm.) socket is cut for a top stud.

This design was not widely used, so these don't turn up all that often.

19.875 505 23.50 597 .855 21.7 Ricasso: "CC"

Collar: "2" "X" and two sets of two parallel hash marks

Pattern 1853 Socket bayonet for use with the Pattern 1853 Enfield Rifle-Musket.

This example has no British government markings, indicating that it was likely imported to the USA during the American Civil War.

According to British socket bayonet authority Graham Priest, the “J•R” marking indicates that the bayonet was likely made in Liege, Belgium. The other ricasso marking may be an incomplete CHAVASSE. There was a retailer, Horace Chavasse & Co., at Alma street, Aston Newton (near Birmingham, England) 1860–1868. Chavasse has been documented as also having marked and exported P1856 sword bayonets.

The socket length is 3.00 in. (78 mm.).

17.25 438 20.25 514 .787 20.0 Ricasso: "P (dot) B" and “CHAVAS”

Socket (rear edge): 2 punch marks and 7 notches

Pattern 1888 Mk. I Knife bayonet for use with the .303 caliber M1888 Lee-Metford and Long Lee-Enfield rifles. 

This example was made in February 1899 at the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield Lock (RSAF Enfield).

The wood grips are secured by two large brass rivets.  Pommel has clearance hole to accept the Lee-Metford rifle's cleaning rod and a clean-out hole in the grip, behind the aft rivet. Double-edged blade.

11.875 302 16.625 422 .655 16.6 Ricasso (L. Side): Crown over 2 99". Various reissue dates "02, 03, and 03" and inspector's stamps.

Ricasso (R. Side): broad arrow proofmark over "EFD" Enfield inspector's mark (crown over 58 over E) and "X" bending test mark.

Pommel:  "2165"

Pattern 1895 Socket bayonet for use on the .303 caliber M1895 Martini-Enfield rifle.  The Pattern 1895 bayonets were altered Pattern 1876 bayonets, originally made for the caliber .577–450 Martini-Henry rifle.

This example was converted at RSAF Enfield in January 1900. This example saw service in the Middle East, probably Egypt.

According to Skennerton, Pattern 1895 bayonet conversions were only done at Enfield, with 86,234 conversions done between 1895–1902.

Alterations include compressing the socket to the smaller diameter, filling the original mortise, and cutting a new mortise 90 degrees from the original to allow the bayonet to hang underneath the barrel when fixed. A filled portion of the original P1876 mortise is visible under bright light.

The socket length is 3.00 in. (78 mm.).

21.50 546 25.125 638 .650 16.5 Ricasso: broad arrow proofmark and "1 00" and Enfield inspector and bending test proof marks.

Blade (Right): "479" in Arabic

Blade (Left):  "184" in Arabic lined through and British inspector mark

Pattern 1903 Knife bayonet for use with the .303 caliber Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield No. I Mk. III (SMLE) rifle. This rifle was the British mainstay during World War I.  The SMLE also saw extensive use by Commonwealth countries during the Second World War.

The Pattern 1903 design combined the Pattern 1888 blade and crosspiece, with a new pommel design. The P1903 had a short service life, as the blade length was determined insufficient when combined with the shorter rifle.

This example was made in October 1903 by the Wilkinson Sword Co. of London and appears to have underwent repair at the RSAF Enfield in 1916.

The P1903 was produced for British use from 1903–1907, at which time the P1907 was adopted. New production will carry dates in the aforementioned period. Many earlier P1888 bayonets were also rehilted with the P1903 pommel. These will have earlier dates. Commercial production for colonial use may have continued beyond this period (see the commercial example shown on the Afghanistan page).

11.75 298 16.50 419 .660 16.6 Ricasso (left):  "10 03"

Ricasso (right): broad arrow, bend test mark, Enfield proofmarks, "16",  and "Wilkinson, Lond."

Pattern 1907 Sword bayonet for use with the .303 caliber Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield No. I Mk. III (SMLE) rifle. The Pattern 1907 bayonet is widely recognized as the bayonet used with the SMLE in both the First World War and Woeld War II.

Millions of P1907 bayonets were produced in Britain, Australia, India, and the USA. This example was made in December 1918 by Sanderson Bros. & Newbould Ltd. of Sheffield.

The scabbard pictured is a No. I Mk. II scabbard with the teardrop frog stud. Some scabbard producers adopted a round frog stud, which was approved in 1915.

17.00 432 21.75 552 .655 16.6 Ricasso: Crown over "GR" over "1907" over "12  18" over "Sanderson" and broad arrow proofmark

Scabbard:  British inspector's mark on chape.

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© Ralph E. Cobb 2009 All Rights Reserved       Top

Click here to read my article on Bayonets for the Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield Rifles.

A listing of British and Commonwealth bayonet markings is available on Bryan Brown’s Old Military Markings Web site.

British Bayonets: through World War I

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