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Thread: Kukri Bayonets from the Nepalese Horde

  1. #1
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    Kukri Bayonets from the Nepalese Horde

    I'm not a collector of Kukris myself, but bayonets. Although, my Grandfather was stationed in India during WWII and I have a kukri he mailed home from war. The family story is that my grandmother pulled it out when the package arrived and split the scabbard and sliced her hand badly in the process.

    I've always been interested in the Kukri bayonets. Your discussions of the Kukris turning up from the surplus dealers involved in this Nepalese deal made me think of this.

    Before this latest massive import, almost all of the genuine Nepalese Kukri bayonets were imported by Anthony Carter at one time back in the 70s. I believe there were around 2 dozen. Other than a few of them in museums in the India region, this was thought to be all of them. (At least that's what the bayonet collecting world thought) I'm attaching some photos of one of the bayonets from the 70s import with this message.

    Shawn
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  2. #2
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    Part 2

    When the new Nepalese horde begin arriving in England and then the US, I begin hearing rumors that some Kukri bayonets had turned up. I knew some dealers that were going through the piles of stuff and being allowed to sell some items at gun shows. When asking them about the kukri bayonets, I kept hearing that .... Yeah we saw one... they shipped one to England to sell... yes, I had one, but sold it... And so on. I had several people trying to grab me one, but no luck. Finally, the dam broke and I did manage to grab a few.

    In the early grouping the overall form of the bayonets was very consistent. Obviously hand made and not identical, but close. The new ones are not at consistent.

    Here is the first one. Notice the blade form is entirely different. The socket is still the Nepalese copy of the EIC Windus pattern. Also, there is no cross hatching on the socket. The engraving is essentially the same. Unquestionably genuine and came right out of the new Neaplese horde.

    Shawn
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  3. #3
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    Part 3

    This is the last one I picked up from the same source. It is different again. Notice the socket is not the Windus pattern, but the standard India Pattern. Also, the blade material has corroded differently than the socket. The socket is a softer iron and the blade a better quality steel. You can see the weld junction where they were joined. Normally, I would suspect this as being a fake. But.... it came right out of the pile of sockets with the others. Also, you can't see this in the photos, but the blade condition near the tip is the same as the socket. Especially along the back edge. It is fairly common to have a steel tip on British bayonets and you can often see the weld line where the steel and iron join. I've handled quite a few of the genuine ones and carefully examined dozens of the fakes so, I am reasonably certain that this one is genuine as well. It certainly helps that the arsenal mark is on the blade.

    I am being told that there are no more kukri bayonets in the wharehouses. But.... I wouldn't be a bit surprised if some more turn up. If you run across any of a different form, I would be very interested in purchasing it. Or, at least cataloging some photos.

    Shawn
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  4. #4

    Great Photos

    Shawn,

    I'd like to thank you for your post. Those are great photos and that is one of the more detailed discussions of these bayonets that I've heard.

    I may have missed it in you posts, but how do you know that these actually came from the AC/IMA horde? You mention picking one out of a "pile of sockets", did you visit the warehouses yourself?

    Best,
    Benjamin Judkins

  5. #5
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    AC horde

    No, I didn't have that pleasure myself. I know several guys who have gone through some of it. These particular ones came from a dealer I know that brought boxes of bayonets in from Altlanta Cultery. Mostly socket bayonets, but a few sword bayonets as well. The sockets all had the same rusty finish on them, obviously from the same cache together. From what he said, they were very selective about what they let him take out of the warehouse. This is a bit of supposition on my part, but I think they were letting him take the rustiest ones to sell at gun shows and holding back the better ones for their direct customers.

    The two kukri bayonets from the bunch had the same kind of slick rusty finish as the rest of the group.

    Most of the sockets were Windus patterns, but a few standard Brown Bess and a smattering of other odd ones. The native made bayonets will likely be showing up as US Rev war bayonets soon. In fact I've seen them already.

    There was another type of bayonet related to the Kukri bayonets that showed up in this horde. These David Harding has attributed to the Royal Nepalese Army. They are marked on the socket the same way as the Kukri bayonets, but also have an interesting inscription to Kali on the blade. The following paragraph is a quote from some correspondence with David Harding.

    Large inscription on socket= shri goraknath sahaya = help/assistance (of) holy Goraknath/Lord Goraknath. This is a Hindu invocation to Goraknath a mystic devoted to the god Shiva. It is probably an ownership mark of the Shri Goraknath battalion of the Royal Nepalese Army. Blade inscription = shri kalika sahaya = help/assistance of holy Kali. Kali is goddess of destruction and the Gurkhas' main deity. In the festival of Dashera weapons are blessed. This may help their potency!

  6. #6
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    Bayonet with inscriptions

    Here are photos of the bayonet from the last post.
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  7. #7
    Thanks Shawn, I had one of these chupri bayonets & saw 2 others that a British dealer had that I was told reputedly came from the Firepower internatio/IMA?Atlanta cutlery hoardl along with hundreds of other old rifles,bayonets, swords etc.

    There clearly genuine & rare, but they are my research leads me to belive there chupri or yataghan style knife bayonets, not true kukri bayonets.

    There is one true kukri shaped bayonet in the National museam in kathmando.


    {picture courtesy of Himalayan imports.}

    Also an old painting showing similar kukris on parade.

    So while a lovely fascinating & rare piece, sadley there not the true kukri bayonet.

    Jonathan

  8. #8
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    kukri bayonets

    Yes, I agree the blade shape is not a true Kukri. These bayonets are thought to date no later than about 1820. Also the inscriptions tie them to the Ghurkas.

    I have a photograph of the display you show. We have discussed for some time that some of the Kukri bladed bayonets on Brown Bess sockets are probably real, but late 19th century. Most of these I believe were made for British tourists in the early 20th century. I am still uncertain as to whether that are any true Kukri bayonets. The presence of bayonet in the museum display is interesting, but not conclusive. Museums have often been duped and many fakes have been put on display.

    I have not heard of the painting you described. Any chance of a photo?

  9. #9
    Ive seen the display in Khatmando, Ill see what my own photos show, I think they were somewhat clearer. Many museaum have been duped indeed, anyone doing that to the king of Nepal in the 1930s would have died a painfull death. But sure errors can occor.

    Ill try to find a picture of the painting & my old chupri bayonet.

    It was inscribed (in a rectangular cartouche) read - 'Saal 83'

    Saal- Year (Vikram Samvat Calendar)
    83 - 1883 V.S.

    Now 1883 Vikram Samvat corresponds to 1826 A.D.

    However it could also be pre. Aprill 1827 A.D. as the V.S. calendar starts from April.

    The second inscription reads - 'Shri Gorakhnath Sahay' which is in Sanskrit (The religious language of the Hindus)

    So perhaps meant something like "Lord Gorkanath Helps." Or the "Helper of Lord Gorkhanath." ???

    Jonathan

  10. #10
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    Dated

    I would love to see photos of your bayonet, especially with the date cartouche. I have not heard of this before and it really would help nail down the date on these things. Fantastic!

  11. #11
    Hi Shawn, Hunted through some of my pictures last night & so far found 2 of the cartouches & full inscription. Must have more of bayonet & details & of the photo of the painting on a cd or partialy damaged old hard drive somewhere. Will post when found. {Sadley might be a long time though.}

    Hope these hope anyway.

    Jonathan




  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Judkins View Post
    Shawn,

    I'd like to thank you for your post. Those are great photos and that is one of the more detailed discussions of these bayonets that I've heard.

    I may have missed it in you posts, but how do you know that these actually came from the AC/IMA horde? You mention picking one out of a "pile of sockets", did you visit the warehouses yourself?

    Best,
    Benjamin Judkins
    Hi Benjamin I thought you might be interested in this snippet of further info regarding the origin of these bayonets.

    According to "Guns of the Gurkhas" by John Walter covering the guns & bayonets found in the Atlanta cutlery/IMA Nepalese hoard "subtantial numbers of these bayonets were found in Lagan Silkhana"

    Jonathan

  13. #13
    Jonathan,

    Thanks! Another valuable piece of the puzzle. I don't know how I missed that. The "substantial" part is certainly interesting.

    All the best,
    Benjamin

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