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Socket bayonet

Article about: First post. Please can anyone help identify this? Blade is 17". The markings between blade & socket are crown, B and 54. Right next to the socket is J.F. On the socket itself is 69/

  1. #1

    Default Socket bayonet

    First post. Please can anyone help identify this? Blade is 17". The markings between blade & socket are crown, B and 54. Right next to the socket is J.F.
    On the socket itself is 69/267. Thanks for any help.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Socket bayonet

    It's a British 1853 Pattern Socket Bayonet, I believe, for use with the 1853 Enfield Rifle. The Crown/B/54 is an inspector's mark from the Royal Small Arms Factory Birmingham. Many of these bayonets were modified in 1872 for use with the Martini-Henry rifle, but this one is still in it's original configuration.

    J.F. would be the maker's mark, which is not one I'm familiar with, but I will look and see if i can ID it for you. The other numbers are a rack marking.

    Rob

  3. #3

    Default Re: Socket bayonet

    Thank you so much Rob. My Grandfather brought three bayonets back from WW1. We gave the other two away to family when he died but my Father found this one in a box last week. I wonder if these were still in service? He joined up and trained as a cavalry man in 1914, but was converted to machine guns before being sent off to Mesopotamia.
    thanks again
    Neil

  4. #4

    Default Re: Socket bayonet

    No problem and welcome to the forum.

    These bayonets certainly weren't officially 'on issue' with the British Army in WWI, but had been used by the Indian Army up to the 1890s. With service in Mesopotamia there's no end to the possibilities where your Grandad may have come across this (most of the troops in Mesopotamia were Indian Army). Having said that, things like this could have easily been kicking around army stores and depots in the UK and made lovely souvenirs.

    It sounds like he joined the Machine Gun Corps when it was formed in late 1915. This is perfectly possible for a cavalryman, as all machine gunners were withdrawn from infantry and cavalry units and formed into this new separate corps. If you give us his name it might be possible to work it out, if any of his records survive.

    I couldn't identify J.L. as a maker, although a lot of these weapons were produced on contract by the 'Birmingham trade' (as they called it), so it's very likely J.L. was a manufacturer in the Birmingham area.

    Rob

  5. #5

    Default Re: Socket bayonet

    Thank you Rob.
    Well that is interesting. Grandad was apparently diverted to India after the war ended and from what I recall wasn't de-mobbed until 1919. His name was William H W Hagley. He joined the Staffordshires initially and trained as cavalry in Norfolk.
    When I have searched for his record in the past I drew a blank.
    Many thanks for anything you can turn up.
    with best wishes
    Neil

  6. #6

    Default Re: Socket bayonet

    Quote by nexstarneil View Post
    Thank you Rob.
    Well that is interesting. Grandad was apparently diverted to India after the war ended and from what I recall wasn't de-mobbed until 1919. His name was William H W Hagley. He joined the Staffordshires initially and trained as cavalry in Norfolk.
    When I have searched for his record in the past I drew a blank.
    Many thanks for anything you can turn up.
    with best wishes
    Neil
    Did he join a Staffordshire infantry or cavalry regiment? Obviously the North and South Staffs Regiments were both recruiting madly in 1914, but if we assume he joined the Staffordshire Yeomanry there are some interesting looking matches with their history. I got this info from the excellent 'The Long, Long Trail' website (The Staffordshire Yeomanry in 1914-1918):

    1/1st Staffordshire Yeomanry
    August 1914 : moved with the brigade to Diss (Norfolk) and placed under orders of 1st Mounted Division.
    27 October 1915 : brigade embarked at Southampton for Salonika. En route, the destination was altered and by the end of November the regiment had arrived at Cairo. Remained in Egypt/Palestine theatre until May 1918.


    I see they moved to Norfolk for a year or so (his training as cavalry?). If he was a machine gunner he was certainly transferred to the Cavalry MGC at around the same time that they left for Salonika, and his service history may have diverted from the Staffs Yeomanry.

    It needs confirmation, but that's a very strong match for a research 'lead' in my experience.

    Rob

  7. #7

    Default Re: Socket bayonet

    I looked up William H W Hagley on Ancestry.ca, although I have the world version so i can look up UK records (I am actually a British ex-pat) and found this under British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920:

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    I can't confirm 100% that it's him as there are several William Hagley's including some with the middle initial 'H', but it's such a good match with what we know, it has to be a strong possibility. It gives his army number as "100201", his unit as "MGC Cav" (Machine Gun Corps - Cavalry) and shows his entitlement to the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

    Cool eh?

    Rob

  8. #8

    Default Re: Socket bayonet

    Well Rob, that's absolutely brilliant, thanks.
    My cousin has those very medals although I'm sure there were more than two on the ribbon, I will check. I'll feed this back to my father, who is now 80, to see if he can find anything in the paper mound or photo albums to close the circle.
    best regards
    Neil

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