Fairbairn Sykes fighting knife issue to Canadian troops

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Fairbairn Sykes fighting knife issue to Canadian troops

Steve F
Steve F

June 22nd, 2010, 11:29 pm #1

Does anyone have details on how common (or uncommon) official issue of the FS knives was to Canadian troops during the Second World War? I understand that they were issued to members of 1 CPB and I know that they were also available for private purchase in England, but what about official issue to other combat troops? Any ideas?
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Robert wilson
Robert wilson

June 23rd, 2010, 12:02 am #2

I believe there were several versions of this knife and one was issued to Canadian D-Day forces. Up until a few years ago I had the one issued to my father who's regiment landed on D-Day. He told me that when they were issued they made quite a hit with the boys in the regiment offering many of hours of entertainment. One of the games played with them was to try and stick them in a tree by throwing them. Need I say there was a few bets made here and there. It was also used by me when he returned home. Like a lot of the boys who's fathers fought in WW2 we lived in a VLA subdivision and liked to play war with all of dad's old war uniforms and equipment. lol
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Joined: February 5th, 2005, 4:07 pm

June 23rd, 2010, 12:49 am #3

Yeah, there was one, a Sykes-Fairbairn (spelling?) commando knife that I bought mail order in the late 1950s for around five bucks from a surplus store in the States. Unlike the Marine K-Bar that I carried for years, it wasn't much of a field knife. Don't really miss it. Wasn't worth a shit. Don't understand the hype around this knife at all. (except for eBay Airborne, SF, Commando hype.)

On one of my first jumps back in 2PPCLI after jump school, it was strapped onto my right jump boot, all gung-ho, like John Wayne and the 101st Airborne and 82d guys in the Normandy photos.
Sure looked good all 'chuted up ... until ...

Well, it disappeared as soon as I exited the C-119. So much for John Wayne and photo ops and airborne gung-ho image. That was the last time I ever saw that knife!

Yep, gone. Right out of the scabbard. As soon as I left the aircraft. Gone. It's probably still in Wainwright somewhere, waiting for some guy with a metal detector to come along. Then you'll see it on eBay as a genuine WW2 relic dug out of a field near Arnhem.

Now, the K-Bar, that is one sweet knife! Carried it for years. It's been everywhere. Still have it.
Best knife ever. "But what's this got to do with Canadian issue of the SF knife?" you might ask.

Well, unless you know the K-Bar, that is.
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Dave Hiorth
Dave Hiorth

June 23rd, 2010, 2:00 am #4

Does anyone have details on how common (or uncommon) official issue of the FS knives was to Canadian troops during the Second World War? I understand that they were issued to members of 1 CPB and I know that they were also available for private purchase in England, but what about official issue to other combat troops? Any ideas?
Yes they but not necessarily all of them were issued 2nd pattern FS knives. They were electric pencil engraved with a C Broad arrow. I have had two of them and seen another two in collections. The ones I had were electric pencil engraved on the tip of the scabbard and on the blade near the guard. I hope this helps and answers your question
Dave
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Jim Camirand
Jim Camirand

June 23rd, 2010, 3:13 am #5

Just wanted to jump into the discussion here as I have a Wikinson marked 2nd pattern FS logoed knife with scabber. On the metal tip of the scabber is etched the surname (Grant) and Ser. Number K74246 (which from Clive's book on Regimental Numbers only indicates "Unallotted Inf." in B.C.).

I obtained the knife from a friend who's dad, who was a Lt. in the RCA, but was only in England from March to July 1942. He brought it back from England when he returned at that time (we believe), as he has passed I do not know how he obtained it, although he was a sharp card player.....

I would love to know who Mr. "Grant" was and what unit(s)/service he served with.....

I have checked the "Last Post" in the Legion Magazine as well as Can. War Graves for the name / service number for "Grant" with no success. I also understand that unless you can prove an individual has been deceased for 20 years you can not obtain any info from Archives Canada.....

So.......a dead end on my search..............SO FAR.....

Thus, I would also like to know which Canadian units would have been issued the FS knife (in my case PRIOR to July 1942) and then go to the various Regimental Assoc. to see if I can see if they have a nominal roll etc.

Any comments / help would be appreciated.

I can be reached at jcamirand52@hotmail.com

Thanks Jim

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Liam
Liam

June 23rd, 2010, 4:35 am #6

Does anyone have details on how common (or uncommon) official issue of the FS knives was to Canadian troops during the Second World War? I understand that they were issued to members of 1 CPB and I know that they were also available for private purchase in England, but what about official issue to other combat troops? Any ideas?
My uncle was issued one of these when he was attached to David Stirlings' Long Range Desert Group in North Africa, circa 1942.
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Abner Picklewhite
Abner Picklewhite

June 23rd, 2010, 3:34 pm #7

These knives were issued to some Canadian signals officers that were operating "out front" and some RCA FOO's that were up front with line troops. They are not as rare as some people say and were certainly not strictly the province of special forces troops.

As to their suitability as a field knife, they were not designed as a dual purpose knife. They were made for sticking into the soft parts of peoples bodies to kill them and excelled at that. I don't think many fellows who carried them expected them to serve dual duty as can openers or anything like that, though I expect there are more than a few of them out there with broken tips from being misused.

I don't think I have ever heard of Naval combined ops fellows carrying these but It would be very interesting to find they had been issued with them.

Perhaps as a general warning I might mention there is one ex-SAS fellow around who is flogging many bogus copies of these knives out of Alberta and he has even hand written a book, claiming it to be the writing of Fairbairn. The book discusses the development and manufacture of the daggers. A pal of mine was "stuck" with a copy of each. Watch yourselves.
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Clive
Clive

June 23rd, 2010, 3:50 pm #8

Abner is quite right in his statement that the issue of F-S fighting knives were "not strictly the province of special forces troops".
I have a number of photos showing 'regular' troops wearing these. A wider issue may have been delayed or cancelled as these knives were invariable set aside as souvenirs and the cost of replacement for an item of issue for which training, and the opportunity to use them against the enemy, was limited.
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Joined: October 15th, 2008, 1:18 am

June 23rd, 2010, 10:09 pm #9

I have a pic of my grandfather wearing one (8th Recce) but dont know if they were issue or not. Cheers Brian
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Steve F
Steve F

June 23rd, 2010, 11:05 pm #10

Abner is quite right in his statement that the issue of F-S fighting knives were "not strictly the province of special forces troops".
I have a number of photos showing 'regular' troops wearing these. A wider issue may have been delayed or cancelled as these knives were invariable set aside as souvenirs and the cost of replacement for an item of issue for which training, and the opportunity to use them against the enemy, was limited.
that other troops besides airborne types are seen carrying FS knives but that only proves their use and not how they were obtained (purchased, traded or issued). I wonder if someone has seen mention of these knives in official type documents that shows their issue to the troops? I believe they were issued to all types of combat troops and am trying to find proof to back up my beliefs.
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