The Rarest Enfield 'Hook Quillon' 1907 Pattern Bayonet Issued in 1911
Probably for many collectors, especially Australian, it is the most desirable and rarest regulation bayonet ever made or issued. This is an original 1907 Pattern SMLE sword bayonet, but, most importantly, it is the early example, with its long hook quillon still intact. The adapted removed or shortened type outnumber the rare original hook quillon type, probably, by several tens of thousand to 1. This example was made in 1911, bearing it's original King Edwards Crown, with ER stamp and Enfield maker stamp. And as was standard issue to the WW1, ANZAC, Australian Light Horse. The hook quillon SMLE issue bayonet, is a the very pinnacle of Great War bayonet collecting. They were used predominantly by the Australian Infantry and Light Horse Brigade in WW1, and due to their use in Gallipoli and the dessert were never returned to the ordnance for regulatory quillon removal as was instructed. In over 45 years we have had barely a handful of these rarest full hook quillon bayonets in original condition and unaltered, but the regular type we have handled, by comparison, many many thousands in the same period of time. Australian Light horse were like mounted infantry in that they usually fought dismounted, using their horses as transport to the battlefield and as a means of swift disengagement when retreating or retiring. A famous exception to this rule though was the charge of the 4th and 12th Light Horse Regiments at Beersheba on 31 October 1917. In 1918, some light horse regiments were equipped with sabres, enabling them to fight in a conventional cavalry role in the advance on Damascus. However, unlike mounted infantry, the light horse also performed certain cavalry roles, such as scouting and screening, while mounted.
The light horse were organised along cavalry rather than infantry lines. A light horse regiment, although technically equivalent to an infantry battalion in terms of command level, contained only 25 officers and 400 men as opposed to an infantry battalion that consisted of around 1,000 men. Around a quarter of this nominal strength (or one man in each section of 4) could be allotted to horse-holding duties when the regiment entered combat. A regiment was divided into three squadrons, designated "A", "B" and "C" (equivalent to a company), and a squadron divided into four troops (equivalent to but smaller than a platoon). Each troop was divided into about 10 four-man sections. When dismounting for combat, one man from each section would take the reins of the other three men's horses and lead them out of the firing line where he would remain until called upon. By the outbreak of World War I, there were 23 light horse regiments within Australia's part-time military force, consisting of 9,000 personnel. These were organised as follows:
1st Light Horse Brigade (Queensland): 1st (Central Queensland), 2nd (Queensland Mounted Infantry), 3rd (Darling Downs), 4th (Northern Rivers Lancers) and 27th (North Queensland) Light Horse Regiments
2nd Light Horse Brigade (New South Wales): 5th (New England) and 6th (Hunter River Lancers) Light Horse Regiments
3rd Light Horse Brigade (New South Wales): 7th (New South Wales Lancers), 9th (New South Wales Mounted Rifles), 11th (Australian Horse) and 28th (Illawarra) Light Horse Regiments
5th Light Horse Brigade (Victoria): 13th (Gippsland), 15th (Victorian Mounted Rifles), and 16th (Indi) Light Horse Regiments
7th Light Horse Brigade (Victoria): 17th (Campaspe), 19th (Yarrowee), and 20th (Corangamite) and 29th (Port Phillip Horse) Light Horse Regiments
8th Light Horse Brigade (South Australia): 22nd (South Australian Mounted Rifles), 23rd (Barossa), and 24th (Flinders) Light Horse Regiments
25th (Western Australian Mounted Infantry) Light Horse Regiment
26th (Tasmanian Mounted Infantry) Light Horse Regiment. The bayonet has excellent markings to the blade and it's scabbard leather but the any surviving regt markings on the steel hilt mounts are now fully obscured by age.