My thanks go to Andrew Dearlove for helping me with tonight’s bayonet; which is possibly my favourite bladed weapon in the collection: The No7 bayonet. The No7 was designed in 1944 for use with both the No4 rifle and the Sten MkV. Up until this point the No4 had been issued with a spike bayonet, which no one liked, and a way was sought to combine the socket attachment used to attach the bayonet to the No4 with the bowie style blade used on the jungle carbine bayonet, which was universally liked. The resulting bayonet was a complicated, but very elegant blade:The pommel of the handle was designed to swivel through 180 degrees to allow the bayonet to be affixed to a weapon or used as a fighting knife, a sprung bar holds the swivelling portion firmly in place:Pulling it back and twisting the base reveals the socket connector:Which then attaches to the No4 rifle in a conventional style:A large muzzle ring is designed to allow rounds to pass safely through:These were made to the same design as that on the Jungle Carbine, not to fit that weapon, but because the part was available and it ensured that even with worn out barrels and poor ammunition, the round would clear the bayonet. This was to prove the bayonets’ downfall as it was discovered if the socket was not fully engaged, the bayonet would still fit to the rifle, but the .303 round could still hit the muzzle ring on firing. Once this was discovered the bayonet was rapidly issued only for use with the MkV Sten and for ceremonial duties by the Guards in London where it was visually far better suited than a spike bayonet.
The grips of the bayonet are made of Paxolin, a resin impregnated cloth, with four deep finger grooves to allow the bayonet to be used as a fighting knife:The bayonet is marked ‘No 7 Mk 1/L’ on the ricasso:176,000 of these bayonets were produced from 1944 onwards until production ceased in 1948
Birmingham Small Arms Ltd. – 25,000; Elkington & Co. Ltd. Birmingham – 20,000; Royal Ordinance Factory, Poole – 30,000; Royal Ordinance Factory, Newport – 100,000.
As can be imagined with relatively low numbers, this is a comparatively rare bayonet when compared with the wartime spike bayonet. The bayonet was issued with the standard scabbard also used on the No5 and No9 bayonets:Despite being a flawed design, I really like this bayonet for the engineering involved and the general aesthetics which make it a particularly nice blade and a welcome addition to my collection.