The Fairbairn-Sykes (F-S) Fighting Knife or Commando Knife as it is commonly known comes in a number of variants, the main three being the 1st pattern, 2nd Pattern and 3rd Pattern, but even within this grouping there are variants with different hilt types, such as the beaded and ribbed, ribbed and roped, hexagonal grip, wood grip, etc. Furthermore, in the post WWII years other variations were developed such as those used on the Indonesian Kopassus knives. Within this mix of variations there are a few knives that stand out as complete oddities in the F-S story and leave many unanswered questions as to why, and in some case for whom, they were made.
1st Pattern F-S knife Variants
The E etch
The 1st Pattern F-S knife with its S-shaped guard and etched ricasso is widely recognized but within this pattern there are several variants that are totally odd. Our first knife is to all intents and purposes a standard 1st pattern but the ricasso is longer than that usually encountered in order to allow for the additional etching of an E. Only a few examples of knives with this etch are known, but what does it signify? Many theories have been put forward as to its meaning but none have yet been proved. One was that it signified the ‘E’ course, a course that Agents are supposed to have undertaken, but to date no reference to such a course has been found. Do you know what the E signifies?
This article appears in the September 2022 issue of KNIFE Magazine. Premium Online Members can read the whole thing by clicking the blue box below.