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My Father's USN MK2 Knife

Article about: My father was a cook in the Coast Guard during WW2 at the New York Port of Embarkation. I grew up listening to his stories of course, but one day he pulls out a knife. I asked him how he got

  1. #1
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    Default My Father's USN MK2 Knife

    My father was a cook in the Coast Guard during WW2 at the New York Port of Embarkation. I grew up listening to his stories of course, but one day he pulls out a knife. I asked him how he got it, and he said something to the effect of "... when you left the service, you checked out, and they had buckets for all the stuff you were supposed to give back, and sometimes guys would forget to dump some stuff....". I laughed.

    I was fascinated with it, but he wouldn't let me touch it (I was about 10 years old). He hung it up on the wall in his room in the basement, where I'd often stare at it and wonder what he used it for. Maybe jungle fighting in the Pacific, house to house combat in France? I knew he was a cook, but I took a lot of liberties with my imagination.

    A few weeks ago, I suddenly remembered the knife. My Father passed away a few years ago, so I asked my Mom if she could send it. She not only sent the knife, but a few U.S.N spoons I also remember from childhood that my Father kept during his service.

    In addition, she sent a few certificates he received for completing some correspondence courses during his enlistment. I laughed when I saw them. While I was in the Marine Corps, one thing EVERYBODY hated was having to complete those courses. Didn't know they had them in WW2!

    I'll post pics of the knife this weekend. Here is some information I found regarding it:



    Scabard :

    Tempting to say it's plastic, but in actuality its fiberglass. The metal collar is marked "USN MK2" on the front and "NORD-4723 BM CO 2 V*P*.

    The NORD 4723 designates that it was produced and issued under that Navy contract number between November 1943 and July 1944:

    Code:
    Contract #     Contract $   Est. Quant  Dates of Delivery
    
    NORD 4723       $521,000     600,000     11/43 7/44      Mark 1 / Mark 2
    
    NORD 6581       $240,000     275,000      7/44 2/45      Mark 2
    
    NORD 6804        $79,000      95,000      6/44 4/45      Mark 1
    
    NORD 8114       $592,000     675,000      3/45 8/45      Mark 1 / Mark 2
    
    NORD 8676       $125,000     150,000     3/45 12/45

    The markings of B.M. Co. and the stylized V P logo indicate the Beckwith Mfg Co. a division of Victory Plastics made this scabard.



    Knife :

    Blade looks to be 7". it's marked "Camillus" and "USN Mark 2" on the underside of the guards, not the blade. However, mine has one guard removed, so the "C" is missing. Not sure why it's missing, My Father didn't explain much about the knife, and I never knew enough to ask.

  2. #2

    Default Re: My Father's USN MK2 Knife

    Great that you have it now they are a very well made knife. Here is one that I found some pics of on the net.

    Eric
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    [h=3]e plu·ri·bus u·num[/h]

  3. #3

    Default Re: My Father's USN MK2 Knife

    Eric above, has shown an early knife which is blade marked rather than the later
    guard marked types.

    The piece of crossguard could have been removed so the knife could be
    oriented in the hand in the dark, or without looking at it - all by 'feel'
    but this only works if the remaining guard faces the bottom
    or sharp side of the blade.

    Below, an practically unissued Camillus I have with the same scabbard.
    Thanks for posting the Navy Ordnance ( NORD ) list, Johnee - It will
    help me date mine as I've never known the exact time it was
    produced. We canassume that knives were paired with
    scabbards within a relatively short time frame.........
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    Regards,


    Steve.

  4. #4

    Default Re: My Father's USN MK2 Knife

    Very nice one Steve, when did they change to the guard markings what year?

    Eric
    [h=3]e plu·ri·bus u·num[/h]

  5. #5

    Default Re: My Father's USN MK2 Knife

    Lol, I can't remember offhand, but later in the war ! This also happened to the US-M3.

    I've heard it might have had something to do with weakening the blades,
    but I think it was to make the manufacturers names less noticeable.

    There were several companies who made the Mk2, including 'Ka-Bar'
    which has become a generic name for this type of knife........
    Regards,


    Steve.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: My Father's USN MK2 Knife

    I couldn't find any information (in the few hours of my searching) when the markings transition from blade to guard. That would be a nice piece of info.

    WalkWolf, my knife is just like yours, minus the guard with the "C" in Camillus.

    I don't know exactly when my father entered the service, but I just ordered his service record info online via NPRC. I DO however have his Discharge Certificate (NOT dd214), dated November 1945. (His discharge certificate is strikingly similar to mine from the MC, however his is more "official" as it has signatures/notary info and possibly some type of serial numbering, where as mine is simply a token paper just for framing).

    Thanks for the additional info.

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