A rare Steyr manufactured M1904 Knife Bayonet & Scabbard with rare original leather and canvas webbing combination frog, made specifically for the Ulster Volunteer Force (U.V.F.). With distinctive and identifiable hump back grip, This bayonet knife & scabbard were originally part of a cache of arms involved in the Larne gun-running operation. Its rare to get the bayonet, and in cracking condition, but, the frog is even rarer, and to know the name of the UVF man by whom it was used is very interesting indeed.
See the original 1910’s photo in the gallery of the UVF all armed with the Steyrs and this bayonet affixed.
The smuggling exercise was master-minded by Major Frederick Crawford and Captain Wilfrid Spender on behalf of the Ulster Unionist Council, to equip the recently formed Ulster Volunteer Force (U.V.F.). The U.V.F. had been set-up to fight against the imposition of Home Rule and Crawford was tasked with the procurement of arms. He approached several manufacturers including Steyr, and after several failed attempts, due to Customs intervention, the Larne plan was hatched.
The ruses and schemes used to conceal the true nature of the shipments coming into Ireland would however have been familiar to the UVF and UDA of 70 years hence. Barrels of “bleaching powder”, their seams packed with farina (a type of starchy wheat powder) so as to “leak” convincingly when offloaded, baize-covered crates of “musical instruments” and “furniture”, steel cylinders marked as industrial filters, and bogus consignments of “cement” and “pitch” destined for phantom construction firms were all among the disguises employed by resourceful loyalist gunrunners. Front companies were established at both ends and sometimes vital intermediate points of smuggling routes, such as John Ferguson & Co. set up with the assistance of Conservative MP Sir William Bull (another example of the original UVF’s wider support base). Involved in various schemes throughout this period was Fred Crawford, whose tireless and energetic efforts to arm the UVF, while not always successful – a caper involving a Maxim gun at a German Army range outside Hamburg ended in farce with Crawford literally making a run for it – did much to sustain support for armament which at times showed signs of flagging.
In spite of the myriad and often ingenious means used, aided by the reluctance of HH Asquith’s Liberal government to wholeheartedly combat unionist smuggling in spite of its sponsorship of Home Rule, by late 1913 the UVF was far from well-equipped. A significant number of its guns had been seized by the authorities while in transit, a major setback taking place when 4,500 Vetterli M1870/87 rifles were impounded in London by the Metropolitan Police under the Gun Barrel Proof Act of 1868. Under-armed local-level UVF units reduced to drilling with wooden rifles pressed for action. A major injection of arms was required to transform it from a theoretical into a substantive force.
The Clyde Valley episode has been recounted in great detail in many other sources, most notably ATQ Stewart’s The Ulster Crisis (where it forms the centrepiece of the book) and Guns For Ulster by Crawford himself, so only an overview will be provided here. The bare facts of the case involve the transit of 25,000 rifles plus 3,000,000 rounds of ammunition from Hamburg to landing sites in Larne, Bangor, and Donaghadee, the enterprise, codenamed Operation Lion, being masterminded by Fred Crawford. The arms were supplied by Bruno (or Benny) Spiro, a Hamburg arms dealer dubiously described by Ronald Neill in Ulster’s Stand for Union. Spiro gave Crawford a choice of several deals of differing makeups, the one accepted consisting of 10,900 M1904 Steyr-Mannlichers and 9,100 Mauser Gewehr 88s. 4,600 Vetterlis whose shipment had been delayed due to British government action would also make the journey, along with 3,000,000 rounds of ammunition. The price was £45,640. Sir Edward Carson was aware of the plot and gave it his blessing with the words “Crawford, I’ll see you through this business, if I should have to go to prison for it”.
The gunrunners of 1911-14 provided a source of inspiration to the leaders of the loyalist paramilitary organisations of the post-1969 conflict. The walls of the Eagle, the modern UVF’s headquarters, are adorned with images of fallen volunteers, the faces of those “killed in action” such as John Bingham, Charlie Logan, and Aubrey Reid. Superseding all though is a framed portrait of Sir Edward Carson, ratifier of Crawford’s Hamburg scheme, whose inscrutable countenance gazes down upon the room like St Peter in a Russian Orthodox shrine.
We have acquired three other original UVF issue Austrian made bayonets, in more worn condition, originally recovered from an historical stored cache all to be sold separately. See last photo in the gallery of an historical UVF arms cache [photo 1972]
3rd Pattern, grip stamped Broad Arrow 13, no maker's mark. The number 1 of the 13 is miss-struck. This inspectors mark was used on knives supplied by John Clark and Son, supplier to the Government of FS knives and Smatchets. Apparently used by Sgt Sid Meddings B Troop. 4 Commando. He served in No 4 Commando Under Lord Lovat. No. 4 Commando was a battalion-sized British Army commando unit, formed in 1940 early in the Second World War. Although it was raised to conduct small-scale raids and harass garrisons along the coast of German occupied France, it was mainly employed as a highly trained infantry assault unit.
The unit's first operation was the successful raid on the Lofoten Islands on 4 March 1941. The next two planned operations were both cancelled and it was not until 22 April 1942 that No. 4 Commando took part in another raid, Operation Abercrombie, a raid on the French coastal town of Hardelot. On 22 August 1942, No. 4 was one of three commando units selected for the Dieppe raid. Under the command of Lord Lovat, No. 4 Commando landed on the right flank of the main landings and successfully silenced a German gun battery. This was the only complete success of the operation, which was eventually aborted, after less than 10 hours, following heavy losses.
As part of the 1st Special Service Brigade, No. 4 Commando took part in the Normandy Landings in June 1944. Landing on Sword beach 30 minutes before the rest of the brigade, their first objectives were to capture a strong point and gun battery in Ouistreham. After the commandos eliminated these positions they rejoined the brigade, reinforcing the 6th Airborne Division at the Orne bridges. Before the invasion the brigade had been informed that they would stay in France for only a few days. The commando remained there for a further 82 days, protecting the beachhead's left flank. During that period, No. 4 Commando endured over 50 percent casualties. Finally withdrawn to Britain in September 1944, they were reassigned to the 4th Special Service Brigade for the assault on Walcheren island. At the end of the war No. 4 Commando became part of the occupation force in Germany, but together with all other army commando units were disbanded in 1946. The knife and the medals were given to his friend/relative in the 1970's, from whom we acquired them, the full size medals were kept by Mr Meddings.
The first pilot's helmet made, in WW1, for the US Army Air Service [designed for use with electric earphones]. U.S. Air Service Western Electric Type 1-A Flying 1917 Patt U.S. Air Service Type 1-A Pilot’s Western Electric Leather Flying Helm The Type 1-A Flying Helmet was the first flying helmet standardized by the United States Army Air Service in 1917. It remained in use throughout the mid-1920s. A similar example, also with earphones lacking, is in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the helmet was worn by Lt. Byron M. Bates. WWI U.S. Air Service Western Electric Type 1-A Flying Helmet and Airplane, Interphone Type S.C.R. 57. The Western Electric Type 1-A was the first helmet to incorporate radio telephone communication equipment. The russet brown leather helmet is lined in flannel and laces in the back for a snug fit. The crown of the helmet is also fitted with an strap and buckle for further adjustment. There are leather housings for earphones mounted on each side (earphones lacking) and coverted in leather. Tag mounted on the inside reads "Western Electric Co. Inc. / No. 1-A Helmet / Medium Size". Thaw came from one of the 100 wealthiest families in the United States. (During her lifetime, Thaw’s grandmother donated $6 million to charity.) In 1913 he soloed in a Curtiss hydroaeroplane, bought for him by his dad. When the war began, he went to France hoping to join the French air service, but settled for the French foreign legion and fought in the trenches for months until the air service made him an observer. Despite bad eyesight, Thaw became an ace, and is probably the first American to fly in combat.The first U.S. aviation squadron to reach France was the 1st Aero Squadron, which sailed from New York in August 1917 and arrived at Le Havre on September 3. A member of the squadron, Lt. Stephen W. Thompson, achieved the first aerial victory by the U.S. military while flying as a gunner-observer with a French day bombing squadron on February 5, 1918. As other squadrons were organized, they were sent overseas, where they continued their training. The first U.S. squadron to see combat, on February 19, 1918, was the 103rd Aero Squadron, a pursuit unit flying with French forces and composed largely of former members of the Lafayette Escadrille and Lafayette Flying Corps. The first U.S. aviator killed in action during aerial combat occurred March 8, 1918, when Captain James E. Miller, commanding the 95th Pursuit Squadron, was shot down while on a voluntary patrol near Reims. The first aerial victory in an American unit was by 1st Lt. Paul F. Baer of the 103rd Aero Squadron, and formerly a member of the Lafayette Flying Corps, on March 11. The first victories credited to American-trained pilots came on April 14, 1918, when Lieutenants Alan F. Winslow and Douglas Campbell of the 94th Pursuit Squadron scored. The first mission by an American squadron across the lines occurred April 11, when the 1st Aero Squadron, led by its commander, Major Ralph Royce, flew a photo reconnaissance mission to the vicinity of Apremont.
The first American balloon group arrived in France on December 28, 1917. It separated into four companies that were assigned individually to training centers and instructed in French balloon procedures, then equipped with Caquot balloons, winches, and parachutes. The 2d Balloon Company joined the French 91st Balloon Company at the front near Royaumeix on February 26, 1918. On March 5 it took over the line and began operations supporting the U.S. 1st Division, becoming the "first complete American Air Service unit in history to operate against an enemy on foreign soil." By the beginning of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive the Air Service AEF consisted of 32 squadrons (15 pursuit, 13 observation, and 4 bombing) at the front, while by November 11, 1918, 45 squadrons (20 pursuit, 18 observation, and 7 bombardment] had been assembled for combat. During the war, these squadrons played important roles in the Battle of Château-Thierry, the St-Mihiel Offensive, and the Meuse-Argonne. Several units, including the 94th Pursuit Squadron under the command of Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, and the 27th Pursuit Squadron, which had "balloon buster" 1st Lt. Frank Luke as one of its pilots, achieved distinguished records in combat and remained a permanent part of the air forces.
Inert WW1 German 1915/1916 Stick Grenade, an interesting transitional period example with the head section being the early 1915 type and the haft being the later pattern with the porcelain ball to the inside of the wood. Haft nicely stamped “5 ½ SECONDE” and a Berlin makers mark. The Stielhandgranate (German for "stick hand grenade") was a German hand grenade of unique design. It was the standard issue of the German Empire during World War I, and became the widespread issue of Nazi Germany's Wehrmacht during World War II. The very distinctive appearance led to it being called a "stick grenade", or "potato masher" in British Army slang, and is today one of the most easily recognized infantry weapons of the 20th century Germany entered World War I with a single grenade design: a heavy 750-gram (26 oz) ball-shaped fragmentation grenade (Kugelhandgranate) for use only by pioneers in attacking fortifications. It was too heavy for regular use on the battlefield by untrained troops and not suitable for mass production. This left Germany without a standard-issue grenade and improvised designs similar to those of the British were used until a proper grenade could be supplied.
The "stick grenade" first appeared in the midst of World War I; it was introduced in 1915 for use by the German Empire's armed forces. As time went on, the design further developed, adding and removing certain features. Aside from its unique and unusual appearance, the Stielhandgranate used a friction igniter system, a method very uncommon in other nations but widely used in German grenades.
During World War I, the original design of the Stielhandgranate, under the name M1915 (Model 1915), was in direct technological competition with the British standard-issue Mills bomb series. The first design model of the Mills bomb – the grenade No. 5 Mk. 1 – was introduced the same year as the German Model 1915, but due to delays in manufacturing it was not widely distributed into general service until 1916. (There was a small period of time where German troops had large supplies of new Model 1915 grenades, while their British opponents only had a very small number.)
As World War I progressed, the Model 1915 Stielhandgranate was further improved with various changes. These received new designations corresponding for the year of introduction, such as the Model 1916 and the Model 1917. Old glue marks / residue towards the top of the haft and grenade head. Old collectors label attached. This item is empty and safe, legal to own within the UK. The thread to attach the bottom cap to the handle is not present, but the cap is original and complete with pulling cord and porcelain ball.
In it's original case, with mounting base plate and screws. Constructed of brass, aluminum, and glass, the compass proper is supported by three arms projecting horizontally from a vertical circular aluminum base plate. Baseplate has four holes for mounting to A/C instrument panel. Compass is ball shaped, with glass viewing port. A brass correction device is brazed to the top of the compass. A circular compass needle is mounted on a needle point inside the compass body, with enamelled direction marks. The viewing glass is held in place by a brass retaining ring, which is marked: "Air Compass Type 5/17 No. 44693H." An ID plate is mounted on the base plate and marked "H. Hughes & Son Ltd./ London/ Creagh Osbourne/ Patent 1148/ 15, 17736/ 15??It is set in it's original RFC wooden case with affixing screws for the aircraft and an attached small electrical wired tube with screw thread." Captain Frank Osborne Creagh-Osborne (1867/1943) was Superintendent of Compasses at the Admiralty and a British inventor. He developed several compass systems which were manufactured by H. Hughes & Son Ltd, Dent & Co & Johnson Ltd and also by Sperry Gyroscopes and wrote several books about the development and use of aerocompassesHenry Hughes was born in 1816. In 1838 Henry Hughes & Son was founded at 120 (later at 59), Fenchurch Street, London as a maker of chronographs and scientific instruments. Henry died in 1879 and his son Alexander J. succeeded him as chairman. The firm was incorporated as Henry Hughes & Son Ltd in 1903. Hughes & Son worked together with Captn. Creagh-Osborne among other inventors. During the early part of the war, the RFC supported the British Army by artillery co-operation and photographic reconnaissance. This work gradually led RFC pilots into aerial battles with German pilots and later in the war included the strafing of enemy infantry and emplacements, the bombing of German military airfields and later the strategic bombing of German industrial and transportation facilities.
At the start of World War I the RFC, commanded by Brigadier-General Sir David Henderson, consisted of five squadrons ? one observation balloon squadron (RFC No 1 Squadron) and four aeroplane squadrons. These were first used for aerial spotting on 13 September 1914, but only became efficient when they perfected the use of wireless communication at Aubers Ridge on 9 May 1915. Aerial photography was attempted during 1914, but again only became effective the next year. By 1918, photographic images could be taken from 15,000 feet, and interpreted by over 3,000 personnel. Parachutes were not available to pilots of the RFC's heavier than air craft ? nor were they used by the RAF during the First World War ? although the Calthrop Guardian Angel parachute (1916 model) was officially adopted just as the war ended. By this time parachutes had been used by balloonists for three years.
On 17 August 1917, South African General Jan Smuts presented a report to the War Council on the future of air power. Because of its potential for the 'devastation of enemy lands and the destruction of industrial and populous centres on a vast scale', he recommended a new air service be formed that would be on a level with the Army and Royal Navy. The formation of the new service would, moreover, make the under utilised men and machines of the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) available for action across the Western Front, as well as ending the inter service rivalries that at times had adversely affected aircraft procurement. On 1 April 1918, the RFC and the RNAS were amalgamated to form a new service, the Royal Air Force (RAF). The RAF was under the control of the new Air Ministry. After starting in 1914 with some 2,073 personnel, by the start of 1919 the RAF had 4,000 combat aircraft and 114,000 personnel in some 150 squadrons.
The dress sidearm, combat use sharpened, that was based on a bayonet but never made to fit a rifle. Before the regulation 1933 pattern Holbein dress SS Dagger was designed, the Heer dress sidearm, with eagle head pommel, bright nickle finish with black grip and black scabbard, was the dagger of choice for enlisted men when walking out, and this dagger continued to be worn by men right into the war period, by both Heer and SS. Mint polish blade very good condition hilt and undented scabbard with frog stud. Manufacture marking of E.u.f Horster Solingen, with their logo. 15 3/4 inches long overall. in very nice condition overall, light surface wear overall, and signs of use but nothing more, no damage or denting. Photos in the gallery of the same dagger worn with uniform of an SS Artillery Rotenfuhrer of the Gotz von Berlichingen Division, page 93 of Robin Lumsden's SS Regalia
Very Good Princess Mary Box and Original Content of an officer's silver bullet pencil, card from Princess Mary, and a Gallipoli souvenir bullet round, inert and safe, with Turkish crescent moon and star, also date stamped in the traditional Hijri Islamic calendar for 1329, which translates to 1911 in the Christian calendar. Not suitable to export due to bullet shaped souvenirs.
They were sent to the British troops in the frontline trenches in WW1 at Christmas 1914.
During World War One King George V and Queen Mary got very involved in active war work. The King mainly visited battlefields (as recorded on the King at the Front postcards) while the queen organised clothing drives, visited hospitals and other welfare organisations. Princess Mary, then 18, often accompanied the Queen and according to the book Princess Mary, Viscount Lascelless became intensely concerned, with Christmas looming, about the well-being of the soldiers and sailors serving far from home. With her parents consent the following letter of appeal was published in November 1914.
"For many weeks we have all been greatly concerned for the welfare of the soldiers and sailors who are so valiantly fighting our battles by land and sea. Our first consideration has been to meet their more pressing needs and I have delayed making known a wish that has long been in my heart, for fear of encroaching on other funds, the claim of which have been more urgent. I want you all to help me send a Christmas present from the whole nation to every sailor afloat and every soldier at the Front. On Christmas Eve, when, like the shepherds of old, they were wont to hang out their stockings, wondered what the morrow had in store. I'm sure that we should all be happier to feel that we had helped to send our little token of love and sympathy on Christmas morning something that would be of useful and permanent value, and the making of which may be the means of providing employment for trades adversely affected by the war. Could there be anything more likely to hearten them in their struggle than a present received straight from home on Christmas Day Please will you help me, Mary."
In support of this appeal many periodicals of the day published or referred to her letter.
The following example appeared in the Illustrated War News of 4 November 1914 'Princess Mary is appealing for help to send a Christmas present, from the Nation, toevery Sailor afloat and every Soldier at the front. Remittance should be addressed to H.R.H. the Princess Mary, Buckingham Palace, S.W., the envelopes marked Sailors and Soldiers Christmas Fund.' The appeal was very successful for it had reached 131,000 Pounds by 16 December .It was initially decided that the Gift would be received by every sailor afloat and every soldier at the Front wearing the King's uniform on Christmas Day 1914. The difficulty for the committee was deciding how many to get manufactured. They calculated that 145,000 sailors including Royal Marines and 350,000 soldiers including the Indian Contingent qualified. It was therefore calculated that between 55 and 60,000 pounds would be needed to cover the cost of nearly 500,000 gifts. The final Fund total was reported by the Committee on 30 June 1919 as 193,667 pounds 4s and 10d. Monies from the fund is also reported as having been used, to buy War Bonds and, in War Loans. The funds that remained at the end were apparently transferred to Queen Mary's Maternity Home founded for the benefit of the wives and children of sailors, soldiers and airmen of the newly formed Royal Air Force. Abridged from an original article by Grahame Barber. 2nd Lieutenant R C Leach of the 1st Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment wrote to his mother describing Christmas 1914:
I think we must have had a decidedly more cheerful Christmas than you at home. For a start on getting into billet I found 15 parcels waiting for me. They had a special Post Office bag for them. Well on Christmas morn I spent till about 1.30 issuing presents to the men; both yours which were very welcome and those sent in bulk to be divided amongst the troops, each regiment getting a certain share. There were also Princess Mary's presents which consisted of a packet of cigarettes, a pipe, a packet of tobacco and a Christmas card from King and Queen. Not an exportable item.
manufactured circa 1933. Used by the Fire Protection Police [under the control of the SS]. With original leather frog. Plated blade, plated hilt with checquered celluloid grip. Double 'S' quillon guard. An organization that was an auxiliary to the Ordnungspolizei, and during the war was absorbed into the SS. Feuerschutzpolizei. By 1938, all of Germany's local fire brigades were part of the ORPO. Orpo Hauptamt had control of all civilian fire brigades. ORPO's chief was SS-Oberstgruppenfuhrer Kurt Daluege who was responsible to Himmler alone until 1943 when Daluege had a massive heart attack. From 1943, Daluege was replaced by Obergruppenfuhrer Alfred Wunnenberg until May 1945.
ORPO was structurally reorganised by 1941. It had been divided into the numerous offices covering every aspect of German law enforcement in accordance with Himmler's desire for public control of all things. Small lateral crack in both quillon.
As you might be aware, being a militaria and specialist bookshop for over 100 years we have had all manner of examples of ‘trench art’. It is known principally for artefacts and souvenirs made by our boys in the trenches of the first world war, and later in the second. Small pieces of military, discharged kit, artillery shell cases, bullet shell cases, and simply pieces of brass metal that were ‘hanging around, could be converted, with a little skill and effort, into useful or decorative items, for the folks back home. The creation all manner of curious pieces were constructed, from paperknives, butter knives, miniature tanks, to planes, miniature hats, dinner gongs, or armoured cars. in fact all manner of souvenirs for their loved ones. A relatively popular item was the petrol cigarette lighter, which was mostly made for their own immediate use, usually created from discharged bullets, or very small shellcases. They were no doubt extremely useful, in fact pretty much vital, especially during the privations of life in the wet and intolerable confines of a trench, in the days where smoking was nigh on compulsory.
Trench art continued to be made into the Second World War, but was not made in the same quantities as it was in WW1. The Second World War war was far more mobile, and not static as it was in the first world war, with little or no ‘down time’, unlike WW1, what with areas of trenches being maintained and occupied by soldiers of both sides, sometimes for months or even years on end.
Over the years we have seen many types of lighter but a Boys tank bullet converted to a lighter has to be one of the rarest we’ve seen, in fact I can’t remember the last one, it has possibly even as long as 40 to 50 years ago.
A .55 Boys Mark 2 Anti-Tank Rifle.55 Boys Mark 2 1942 Dated Anti-Tank Rifle Round, converted to use as a piece of functional, servicemen's, 'trench art', a useful lighter on campaign. The rifle developed by Captain H C Boys, a designer at the Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield resulting in the .55 Boys anti-tank rifle being adopted in 1937. Although the round was adequate against light tanks in the early part of the war, the Boys was ineffective against heavier armour and was phased out in favour of the PIAT mid-war. During the early campaigns, like Norway and France, the Boys performed adequately against the thinly armored Panzer I, II and IIIs. The first German tanks knocked out by British troops were by a Boys during the Norwegian campaign. Sergeant Major John Sheppard of the 1/5th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment (TA) was deployed near the village of Tretten to help protect the right flank when three German Panzers approached his position. Taking up the Platoon’s Boys, which he had never used before, Sheppard fired three rounds into each tank, knocking out two of them and making the rest third retreat. For his actions that day, which helped keep the right flank of the British position solid, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.The Boys anti-tank rifle was a bolt action rifle fed from a five-shot magazine, loaded by means of a 5 round stripper clip. The rifle was large, heavy with a bipod at the front and a separate grip below the padded butt. The Boys anti tank gun was also made in Canada and sold to America, we sold it to Russia, and Finland, and many thousands were captured at Dunkirk by the German's and issued by their special anti tank units. See photos in the gallery of the British Desert Rats using in against Rommel in Africa, the Finns using it against the Russians in the Finish Russian Winter War, and by the Germans in WW2. Not suitable top export due to bullet shape.
20th century. Fine gilt in very good condition, case decorated with a stunning faux shagreen finish in torqoise green. Mounted on a silver ferrule attached to a most charming and elegant slender cane. We show a photograph from ITV's Poirot [John Suchet] with Poirot holding his near identical example. There were 1500 patents for gadget canes in America alone. There were once gadget gun canes, sword canes, musical, political, Doctor's compact, perfume, flask, picnic, microscope, fishing pole, scientific instrument, pipe, cigarette holder, vinaigrette, barometer, undertaker, and horse measure. A x3 magnification, somewhat more effective for impressive amusement rather than efficient service as a monocular.
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