Modified 37 Pattern Bayonet Frog

We have previously seen how the British Army had introduced leather and brass tabs to allow spike bayonets to be carried in the 37 pattern bayonet frog that was designed for the very different SMLE sword bayonet and scabbard. This was an expedient design and many troops also solved the problem by simply cutting a small slot into the frog to fit the boss of the No4 scabbard. In many cases this was simply done with a soldier’s knife and the threads left loose to fray. In May 1944 this expedient was made official when an army instruction was distributed that formalised this modification. The order stated:

Open one side of the upper loop by carefully cutting the stitching. Lay the loop flat and cut a slit 1/2″ long horizontally in the desired position 3/4″ from the top edge of the web. After the slit has been securely reinforced by means of button hole stitching, the loop must be carefully re-sewn in its original position.

A diagram was provided to explain how this modification was to be made:imageIt is one of these modified bayonet frogs we are looking at tonight:imageThat this started out as a standard frog for the SMLE bayonet is evident from the upper loop to secure that bayonet’s handle under:imageThe modification itself can be seen on the upper loop where the slot has been cut as per the instructions and the hole stitched around with button hole stitching:imageThis then allows the scabbard of the No4 spike bayonet to be secured through this little hole:imageThis little modification is one of those fascinating cases of the War Office recognising a common practice undertake by troops and deciding that it was better to just formalise and regulate the practice as it was the simplest and most practical solution to the problem rather than trying to outlaw it.

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