Markings on British and Commonwealth Bayonets

Last updated: 11/15/2003

The history of the British bayonet goes back to the 17th century, and because of this the British bayonet is one of the more interesting types of militaria to collect. The definitive work on the subject is undoubtedly British & Commonwealth Bayonets, by Skennerton and Richardson (ISBN 0-949749-04-4, copyright 1986, published by Ian D. Skennerton, distributed in Australia by Arms & Militaria Press, PO Box 80, Labrador 4215, Australia, and in North America by Arms & Militaria Press, PO Box 5659 Grants Pass, OR 97527 USA, and by I.D.S.A. Books, P.O. Box 1457, Piqua, OH 45356 USA), from which most of the information presented here has been gratefully pilfered. Information about the cyphers has been lifted from British Enfield Rifles, Volume 1, SMLE (No. 1) Rifles Mk I and Mk III, by Charles R. Stratton (ISBN 1-882391-16-0, published by North Cape Publications, P.O. Box 1027, Tustin, CA 92781 USA).

The information on British Regimental markings is extracted from British Military Bayonets from 1700 to 1945 , by R.J. Wilkinson Latham, 1967, Hutchinson & Co. (Publishers) LTD., 178-202 Great Portland Street, London W.1.

Manufacturers and armorers stamped information on each bayonet about when and by whom it was manufactured, when and where reworked (if ever), and the like. Being able to read and interpret these markings enables the collector to ascertain some information about the weapon and possibly deduce some of its history, all of which adds to the collectibility of the piece. The following tables and diagrams illustrate the more common markings found on British and Commonwealth bayonets, organized by country.

Items in italics are updates based on personal communications.


Terminology - Names of Bayonet Parts

The names of the various parts of the bayonets and associated scabbards are listed in the following table and illustrated in the following diagrams.

Glossary - Names of bayonet parts
1 False edge 17 Shoulder
2 True edge 18 Locking ring
3 Fuller or blood groove 19 Elbow
4 Muzzle ring 20 Zig-zag slot
5 Crosspiece or crossguard 21 Chape
6 Bolt 22 Rivet
7 Grip 23 Locket
8 Pommel 24 Pipe back
9 Locking bolt 25 Ricasso
10 Press stud 26 Finial
11 Mortise slot 27 Quillon
12 Drain hole 28 Locking bolt spring
13 Frog stud 29 Knuckle guard
14 Mouthpiece 30 Hilt
15 Tip or point 31 Wire lace
16 Socket

Socket Bayonet

Knife Bayonet

Sword Bayonet - 1

Sword Bayonet - 2

Sword Bayonet - 3

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Cypher - Great Britain

On British manufactured weapons the cypher consists of a stylized crown (the style of which changed over time) above the initials of the reigning monarch. The initials, monarch, and dates of reign are indicated in the following table.

Initials on British manufactured weapons
Initials Monarch Dates
V.R. Victoria Regina (Queen Victoria) 1837-1901
E.R. Edwardius Rex (King Edward VII) 1901-1910
G.R. Georgius Rex (King George V) 1911-1936
E.R. Edwardius Rex (King Edward VIII) 1936
G.R. Georgius Rex (King George VI) 1937-1952

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Cypher - India

On Indian manufactured weapons produced prior to about 1952, the cypher also consists of a stylized crown above the initials of the reigning monarch, but the letter "I" (for Imperator) is added to the initials. In approximately 1952 (a few years after Indian independence) the crown was changed to an Ashoka (four crouched lions) and the initials were changed to R.F.I, for Rifle Factory Ishapore. The corresponding initials under the cypher are indicated in the following table.

(The cyphers on weapons produced in India are somewhat different. I cannot be certain that the following information applies to Indian-produced bayonets (since I don't own any), but it does apply to rifles and so the information is provided here for the sake of completeness.)

Initials on Indian manufactured weapons
Initials Dates
E.R.I., G.R.I 1907-1943
G.R.I. 1944-1951
R.F.I. 1905-1970

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Markings - Great Britain

The following table lists the main markings found on British-manufactured bayonets. During (and after?) World War II Great Britain stamped manufacturing codes (much like Germany did) instead of manufacturer names on weapons parts. The table below does not contain all the codes, but rather just the ones used on bayonets, as identified in Skennerton's book.

Note: World War II codes consisted of a letter ("N", "M", or "S") followed by a number. "N" stands for "North", "M" for "Midlands", and "S" for "South".

Markings on British bayonets
Marking Meaning
or Government acceptance mark
Sale or sold out of service mark
'89 Manufacture date (1889)
11 17 Manufacture date (November 1917)
CHAPMAN J. Chapman; maker
EFD, D, or ENFIELD Royal Arms Factory, Enfield; maker or repairer (D - post 1925)
J A C J. Chapman; maker
MOLE R. Mole; maker
RE Remington; maker
SANDERSON Sanderson Bros. & Neubold; maker
S & N Sanderson & Neubold; maker
W Winchester; maker
WILKINSON Wilkinson Sword Company; maker
W.S.C. Wilkinson Sword Company; maker
Hopkinson; maker
Royal Ordnance Factory, Poole
B. & J. S. Ltd B. & J. Sippel Ltd.
Vickers, Crayford; maker
F.F. & S. Ltd F. Fisher & Sons, Ltd.
F 191 France-British Electrical
H.G. Barrow, Hepburn & Gale Ltd.
J.W.(S) Ld J. Wilson Ltd.
S. M. Hopkinson contract (L1A4 bayonet)
S.M.C. or S.M. Singer Manufacturing Co.; maker
Scottish Motor Traction Co.
Cinque Port Artillery
V.N.S. Viners Ltd.
M 1 Accles & Pollack
M 44 J.B. Brooks & Co. Ltd.
M 47 A Birmingham Small Arms (B.S.A.), Small Heath; maker
M 53 Camelinat Ltd.
M 58 Jabez, Cliff & Co. Ltd.
M 78 Elkington; maker
M 121 W.J. Hill Ltd.
M 158 J. Lucas Ltd.
M 166 M.C.L. & Repetition Co. Ltd.
M 198 Morris Springs
N 26 F. Fisher & Sons, Ltd.
N 30 Howard & Bullough; maker
N 56 Prince-Smith & Stells; maker
N 64 Sheffield Steel Products
N 67 Singer Manufacturing Co.; maker
N 69 London Sand Blast & Decorative Glass Works
N 76 Temporal Spring Co. Ltd.
N 79 Viners, Ltd.; maker
N 96 Baird Engineering; maker
N 152 B. & J. Sippel Ltd.
N 165 Restwell Spring Co.
N 187 Radcliffe; maker
S 7 Auto Engineering
S 9 Barrow, Hepburn & Gale Ltd.
S 41 Grundy, Ltd.; maker
S 67 London Sand Blast
S 68 Lines Bros. Ltd.
S 128 Wembley Tool Co.
S 158 Bramlands Engineering
S 169 Chiswell Wire Co.
S 191 France-British Electrical
S 195 H.E. Gibbs
S 200 Gramophone Co.
S 201 Grant & West Ltd.
S 229 McLoughlin Machinery Ltd.
S 268 Shalston Engineering
S 286 Vanden Plas (Eng) 1923 Ltd.
S 294 Wilkinson Sword Company; maker
S 356 N.J. Edmunds Ltd.
S 361 S.E. Norris & Co.
S 376 Lewisham Engineering; maker
S 377 Joe Thompson
E-M Enfield-Martini
R.A.M.C. Medical Corps
U.M.P. Ulster Mounted Police
ONTEX Retailer's name (commercial bayonet)
Board of Ordnance acceptance mark
War Department acceptance mark (discontinued in 1895, although it's been reported on examples dated 1897 as well)
Enfield Royal Small Arms Factory (R.S.A.F.) inspection mark
Birmingham R.S.A.F. inspection mark
B.S.A. inspection mark
Wilkinson inspection mark
Birmingham R.S.A.F. repair mark
Solingen mark, British inspector
Liege (Belgium) mark, British inspector
French mark, British inspector
Cancellation mark
* Corrosion or rust mark
N Naval service
L Land (Army) service
D.P. Drill purpose
Downgraded, usually to drill purpose
Bending mark, proof of blade

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Markings - Australia

Markings on Australian bayonets
Marking Meaning
Department of Defense
Department of Defense
A.M.C. Army Medical Corps (New South Wales)
LITHGOW Manufactured at Lithgow
LYSAGHT Manufacturer
MA Manufactured at Lithgow
N.S.W. New South Wales
N.S.W.G. New South Wales Government
OA Manufactured at Orange
P.P.M.S.G. Victorian marking (Port Phillip)
Q.N.C. Queensland Naval Cadets
S.A. South Australia
SLAZ Slazenger (wood only)
V.A. Volunteer Artillery (New South Wales)
V.V. Victorian Volunteers
W Waxed finish, scabbard
W.T. William Tranter
Colt (US manufacture) (but possibly not; additional research underway)
Queensland Government
Queensland Police
1 M.D. 1st Military District (Queensland)
2 M.D. 2nd Military District (N.S.W.)
3 M.D. 3rd Military District (Victoria)
4 M.D. 4th Military District (South Australia)
5 M.D. 5th Military District (Western Australia)
6 M.D. 6th Military District (Tasmania)
Australian Forces, or Royal Australian Air Force (not certain)
Early Lithgow inspection mark
Lithgow inspection mark
Orange inspection mark
Government acceptance mark
Lithgow manufacture mark
Early Lithgow proof mark
Early Lithgow manufacture mark, with pattern acknowledgement (1907)
Australian manufacture mark with pattern acknowledgement, as seen on Pattern 1907 and Owen bayonets
Scabbard marking
Bend test mark, proof
9/47/R Refurbished, with month & year
10 '44 Month and year of manufacture
Sale mark

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Markings - Canada

Markings on Canadian bayonets
Marking Meaning
Canadian Government ownership mark
Canadian Government ownership mark (post-WWII)
B C B G A British Columbia Brigade fo Garrison Artillery
B C P R British Columbia Provisional Regiment of Garrison Artillery
C R I Canadian Regiment of Infantry
D C Dominion of Canada
H L I Hochelaga Highland Light Infantry (reserve unit from Galt, Ontario)
L C Lower Canada
L C M Lower Canada Militia
M D Militia & Defense
M & D Militia & Defense
NELLA Nella Cutlery, maker of C7 bayonet
O R Oxford Rifles
P E I Prince Edward Island Regiment
P E I G A Prince Edward Island Garrison Artillery
P W R Prince of Wales Regiment
Q C B I Queens County Battalion of Infantry
R C A F Royal Canadian Air Force
R C N Royal Canadian Navy
R C R Royal Canadian Rifle Regiment
R R C I Royal Canadian Regiment of Infantry
s for Spencer rifle (found on elbow)
U C Upper Canada
U C M Upper Canada Militia
V M I Volunteer Militia Infantry
V M R Volunteer Militia Rifles
V R Victoria Rifles
Ross Factory inspection mark
Quebec Arsenal inspection mark
Long Branch
Canadian Arsenals Ltd.
Canadian Arsenals Ltd.
10/15 Acceptance date (into service)
Cancellation mark
Stevens-Savage (United States)
Stevens-Savage (United States)
Victory Plastics (U.S.-made Scabbards)

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Markings - India

Markings on Indian bayonets
Marking Meaning
East India Co. ownership marking, Quartered Heart
(script) Various Indian script letters for issue marks and numbers
R.F.I. Rifle Factory Ishapore
F R 55 Factory Repair, 1955
J.U. (unknown) Jhelum Arsenal
M.I.L. Metal Industries, Lahore
N.W.R. North West Railways
S & R Swinburn & Son (?)
Bend test mark, proof
1 41 Date of manufacture, January 1941
Indian Government ownership marking, later version of E.I.G. mark
East India Government ownership mark, pre-Great War
Inspection mark, for East India Co.
Inspection mark, for East India Co.
Ishapore inspection mark
Indian inspection mark
12 / 14 Conversion date, December 1914

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Markings - New Zealand

Markings on New Zealand bayonets
Marking Meaning
Ownership marking
Ownership marking

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Markings - South Africa

Markings on South African bayonets
Marking Meaning
S.A. South Africa
S.A.P. South African Police
MAKERS S.A.R. & H South African Railways and Harbors Dept.
A E Co Manufacturer's initials
Cape Government, South Africa
Union of South Africa
South Africa Defense Corps (current)

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Markings - Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous Markings on British and Commonwealth bayonets
Marking Meaning
G.S. George Salter; maker
P.O.F. Pakistan Ordnance Factory

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British Regimental Markings

Some British bayonets have regimental markings stamped on the pommel (and possibly elsewhere). These identify the regiment of the British Army to which the bayonet was issued; when a bayonet was re-issued to a different regiment, the original regimental markings were normally lined out like this, and the new regimental markings were stamped near the original ones.

To properly decode the regimental markings one needs to know what the abbreviations and letters stand for. The following list summarizes the regimental abbreviations as of 1881. Pre-1881 numbers are difficult to establish as to the date of change. Some regiments have the same number pre- and post-1881 but the majority have changed, i.e., pre-1881 20th Foot were East Devons; post-1881 20th Foot are Lancashire Fusiliers.

Regiments of the British Army issued with bayonets
Pre-1881 Mark Regiment Post-1881 Abbreviation
(none) The Royal Garrison Artillery R.G.A.
S. & M. The Corps of Royal Engineers (Sappers & Miners) R.E.
1st Foot Gds. The Grenadier Guards (The First Regiment of Guards) G.G.
2nd Foot Gds. The Coldstream Guards (The Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards) C.G.
3rd Foot Gds. The Scot Guards (The Scots Fusilier Guards) S.G.
(none) The Irish Guards I.G.
(none) The Welch Guards W.G.
1st Foot The Royal Scots (Lothian Regiment) R.S.
2nd Foot The Queen's (Royal West Surrey Regiment) W.SR.
3rd Foot The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) E.K.
4th Foot The King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) LAN.
5th Foot The Northumberland Fusiliers N.F.
6th Foot The Royal Warwickshire Regiment WK.
7th Foot The Royal Fusiliers (The City of London Regiment) R.F.
8th Foot The King's (Liverpool Regiment) LI.
9th Foot The Norfolk Regiment NK.
10th Foot The Lincolnshire Regiment LIN.
11th Foot The Devonshire Regiment DVN.
12th Foot The Suffolk Regiment SK.
13th Foot Prince Albert's (Somerset Light Infantry) ST.
14th Foot The Prince of Wales's Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) W.Y.
15th Foot The East Yorkshire Regiment E.Y.
16th Foot The Bedfordshire Regiment BD.
17th Foot The Leicestershire Regiment LEIC.
18th Foot The Royal Irish Regiment R.I.
19th Foot Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own (Yorkshire Regiment) YK.
20th Foot The Lancashire Fusiliers L.F.
21st Foot The Royal Scots Fusiliers S.F.
22nd Foot The Cheshire Regiment CH.
23rd Foot The Royal Welsh Fusiliers W.F.
24th Foot The South Wales Borderers S.W.B.
25th Foot The King's Own Scottish Borderers K.O.S.B.
26th Foot The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) S.R.
27th Foot The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers IN.F.
28th Foot The Gloucestershire Regiment G.R.
29th Foot The Worcestershire Regiment W.R.
30th Foot The East Lancashire Regiment E.L.
31st Foot The East Surrey Regiment E.SR.
32nd Foot The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry CLL.
33rd Foot The Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) W.RID.
34th Foot The Border Regiment B.R.
35th Foot The Royal Sussex Regiment SX.
36th Foot The Worcestershire Regiment (2nd Battalion) W.R.
37th Foot The Hampshire Regiment HTS.
38th Foot The South Staffordshire Regiment S.STF.
39th Foot The Dorsetshire Regiment DT.
40th Foot The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) S.L.
41st Foot The Welch Regiment WEL.
42nd Foot The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders) R.H.
43rd Foot The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry OX.
44th Foot The Essex Regiment EX.
45th Foot The Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) DY.
46th Foot The Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry (2nd Battalion) CLL.
47th Foot The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment N.L.
48th Foot The Northamptonshire Regiment NN.
49th Foot Princess Charlotte of Wales's (Royal Berkshire Regiment) BRK.
50th Foot The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) W.KT.
51st Foot The King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry) Y.L.I.
52nd Foot The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (2nd Battalion) OX.
53rd Foot The King's Shropshire Light Infantry SH.
54th Foot The Dorsetshire Regiment (2nd Battalion) DT.
55th Foot The Border Regiment (2nd Battalion) BR.
56th Foot The Essex Regiment (2nd Battalion) EX.
57th Foot The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment) MX.
58th Foot The Northamptonshire Regiment (2nd Battalion) NN.
59th Foot The East Lancashire Regiment (2nd Battalion) E.L.
60th Foot The King's Royal Rifle Corps K.R.R.
61st Foot The Gloucestershire Regiment (2nd Battalion) G.R.
62nd Foot The Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire Regiment) WTS.
63rd Foot The Manchester Regiment MAN.
64th Foot The Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire Regiment) N.STF.
65th Foot The York and Lancaster Regiment Y.&L.
66th Foot The Royal Berkshire Regiment (2nd Battalion) BRK.
67th Foot The Hampshire Regiment (2nd Battalion) HTS.
68th Foot The Durham Light Infantry DM.
69th Foot The Welch Regiment (2nd Battalion) WEL.
70th Foot The East Surrey Regiment (2nd Battalion) E.SR.
71st Foot The Highland Light Infantry H.L.I.
72nd Foot The Seaforth Highlanders (Ross-shire Buffs, The Duke of Albany) SEA.
73rd Foot The Black Watch (The Royal Highlanders, 2nd Battalion) R.H.
74th Foot The Highland Light Infantry (2nd Battalion) H.L.I.
75th Foot The Gordon Highlanders GOR.
76th Foot The Duke of Wellington's (West Riding Regiment) (2nd Battalion) W.RID.
77th Foot The Middlesex Regiment (2nd Battalion) MX.
78th Foot The Seaforth Highlanders (2nd Battalion) SEA.
79th Foot The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders CAM.
80th Foot The South Staffordshire Regiment (2nd Battalion) S.STF.
81st Foot The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (2nd Battalion) N.L.
82nd Foot The Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment) (2nd Battalion) S.L.
83rd Foot The Royal Irish Rifles (1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles) R.I.R.
84th Foot The York and Lancaster Regiment (2nd Battalion) Y.&L.
85th Foot The King's Shropshire Light Infantry (2nd Battalion) S.H.
86th Foot The Royal Irish Rifles (2nd Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles) R.I.R.
87th Foot Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers) R.I.F.
88th Foot The Connaught Rangers CT.
89th Foot Princess Victoria's (Royal Irish Fusiliers) (2nd Battalion) R.I.F.
90th Foot The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) (2nd Battalion) S.R.
91st Foot Princess Louise's (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) A.&S.H.
92nd Foot The Gordon Highlanders (2nd Battalion) GOR.
93rd Foot Princess Louise's (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) (2nd Battalion) A.&S.H.
94th Foot The Connaught Rangers (2nd Battalion) CT.
95th Foot The Sherwood Foresters (2nd Battalion) DY.
96th Foot The Manchester Regiment (2nd Battalion) MAN.
97th Foot The Queen's Own (Royal West Kent) (2nd Battalion) W.KT.
98th Foot The Prince of Wales's (North Staffordshire Regiment) (2nd Battalion) N.STF.
99th Foot The Duke of Edinburgh's (Wiltshire Regiment) (2nd Battalion) WTS.
100th Foot The Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) LEIN.
101st Foot The Royal Munster Fusiliers (Royal Bengal Fusiliers) M.F.
102nd Foot The Royal Dublin Fusiliers (Royal Madras Fusiliers) D.F.
103rd Foot The Royal Dublin Fusiliers (The Royal Bombay Fusiliers) D.F.
104th Foot The Royal Munster Fusiliers (Bengal Fusiliers) M.F.
105th Foot The King's Own (Yorkshire Light Infantry) (2nd Battalion) (The Madras Light Infantry) Y.L.I.
106th Foot The Durham Light Infantry (2nd Battalion) (Bombay Light Infantry) DM.
107th Foot The Royal Sussex Regiment (2nd Battalion) (Bengal Infantry) SX.
108th Foot The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (2nd Battalion) (Madras Infantry) IN.F.
109th Foot The Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) (2nd Battalion) (Bombay Infantry) LEIN.
(none) 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalion The Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort's Own) R.B.
L.T.C. The Royal Army Service Corps (Land Transport Corps) R.A.S.C. or A.S.C.
A.M.D. The Royal Army Medical Corps (Army Medical Dept.) R.A.M.C. or A.M.C.
A.C.D. The Royal Army Ordnance Corps (Army Commisariat Dept.) R.A.O.C. or A.O.C.

M.M.P. Military Mounted Police
M.F.T. Military Foot Police
R.M.C. Royal Military College
R.M.A. Royal Military Academy
S.M. School of Musketry

The regimental markings are normally (but not always) expressed in the following form:

(weapon number)
For example,


decodes to the 42nd bayonet of the 3rd Company 1st Battalion of the Leinster Regiment.

Volunteer / Militia / Reserve markings are different, and are normally (but not always) in the following format:


For example,


decodes to the 3rd Company, 3rd Middlesex Rifle Volunteers. In this type of marking,

V = Volunteer
Y = Yeomanry
M = Militia
R = Reserve

The placement of these markings is indicated in the following table.

Location of Regimental Markings
Item Location
triangular or socket bayonets across the blade, close to the shoulder
sword bayonets pommel, on the side away from the body when worn
scabbards frog stud or top of the mouthpiece

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By way of illustration, below are the markings on 2 British bayonets in my collection, and my (probably partially incorrect) decoding of them:

Example 1
Location Markings Interpretation
left ricasso Pattern 1903, manufactured December 1902
top of spine Enfield inspection mark
right ricasso Enfield manufacturer, Enfield inspection mark, Indian inspection mark, bending proof mark

Summary: Pattern 1903, manufactured in December 1902 at Enfield, used post-1952 in India

Example 2
Location Markings Interpretation
left ricasso Pattern 1907, manufactured August 1918 by Sanderson
right ricasso Enfield inspection marks, bending proof mark
left pommel Canadian government ownership mark

Summary: Pattern 1907, manufactured in August 1918 by Sanderson, inspected at Enfield, ended service life in Canada

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