I was going to hold off on posting this bayonet until next year’s 100 years’ anniversary, but I was not too busy, so I could not resist posting this example now. I like 98/05 bayonets as much as the next collector of WWI German Militaria, but this example is my new “favorite” in my (very) small 98/05 collection.
This 98/05 bayonet is a souvenir item (most likely) converted as such shortly after WWI’s completion. It has two dedications engraved upon it “In Rememberance [sic] of Ypres” on the scabbard and “Souvenir of Passhendael [sic] Ridge” on the blade. The scabbard also possesses a stand of Central Powers’ flags (left to right) Germany, Turkey, Bulgaria, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire (acid-etched & colored).
Coincidently, I own a German fighting knife (pictured next to the bayonet), which possesses the same exact stand of flags etch with the addition of the slogan Mit Vereinten Kraften “With United Force” underneath the flags. My assumption (due to the use of the stand of flags’ etching) was this piece was constructed/created post-WWI for sale to returning Canadian/British veterans of the Third Battle of Ypres or their next of kin. The question would be; was it created in Germany (again, due to the use of the German patriotic stand of flags’ motif etching) or in Belgium proper? Additionally, the misspellings in both etches seem to me to point towards a German creation versus a Belgian making that mistake. Of course, there’s nothing to keep those extant acid etchings from being post-war exported to the United Kingdom (or anywhere else) and that could also account for the non-native misspellings.
Interestingly, Pack-Ohliger & Co Solingen made 98/05s for only one year (1916-1917). Finally, with the bayonet being dated 1917 that is a nice coincidence as that is the same year the Third Battle of Ypres (a.k.a. Passchendaele) occurred. Who knows, perhaps, a veteran of that battle could have picked the bayonet up during the fight and had it “jazzed” up after the war as a form of remembrance or (just as easily) purchased it as a souvenir during a post-war visit to the battlefield. With the war in full-swing, I highly doubt the German patriotic stand of flags’ motif etching was available for an Allied Soldier to put on a captured bayonet any time before very late in 1918.
Whatever its origins, it is most certainly not your average (yawn) 98/05 Bayo.
Double click images to enlarge.