British M1888 Mark I Type II Naval Service Lee Metford Bayonet

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British Pattern 1888 Mk I Type II Royal Navy Issued Lee Metford Rifle Bayonet.

This scarce naval issue bayonet is in over-all good condition for its 125 years of age and is highly collectable. The 303mm double-edged blade is nicely marked on the ricasso with a flat crown above VR (Victoria Regina) and the production date, 3 ‘90 (March 1890). There are two additional dates on the ricasso, 01 ’93 (January 1893) and a ’03 stamp for 1903, besides which is a reissue mark. This later reissue mark ties in with there being both an army regimental mark and a naval service stamp on the pommel. The obverse ricasso is marked with an Enfield inspection mark, the British War Department broad arrow, and “WD” and a bend test stamp. The blade spine also bears two Enfield inspection stamps. The blade has minor age related tarnish and remains bright and free of rust or damage.

The wooden grips are firm and show minimal age related wear with two large brass rivets positioned close together. The wooden hilt scales are drilled with an oil hole on both sides above the top rivet.

The pommel is regimentally marked for the first battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, “1. W. K. 20” and also with an “N” denoting naval service. The naval service stamp also appears on the grip spine. It is uncertain whether the original issue was to the Royal Navy or to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, however, the naval stamp on the pommel is significantly more worn than the army stamp, which suggests that the bayonet was first issued to the navy. The press-stud locking mechanism is in good working order.

The bayonet is complete with the correct pattern black leather scabbard, which has some dents, tarnish and pitting on the steel furniture. The throat of the scabbard is stamped with "15 DP" over a struck out number "618" which denotes that it was reissued for drill purpose. It is possible that the third date stamp on the blade's ricasso was for its reissue as a drill purpose bayonet in 1903 but as there are no "DP" stamps on the bayonet itself I think that it is more likely that this was not the original issue scabbard. The black leather is in overall good condition with a small area of wear (which looks like a dent) and the stitching is intact and firm.

Despite the potentially mismatched scabbard, this is a scarce and highly collectable bayonet with rare naval issue stamps.