The Bill Hook is a traditional cutting tool that is used for cutting smaller woody material such as shrubs and branches.
Bill Hooks occasionally turn up with D/l\D markings and no makers mark. The D/l\D mark clearly identifies an item as being of Australian issue.
Finding information on Bill Hooks has been difficult. Being as they are, very much an Agricultural implement, I suspect that most of those that were brought home went out in to the garden shed, not in to a spare drawer inside the house. They are not a very glamorous item and would have held little appeal to most people. This means that survivability would have been low.
Bill hooks were made in Australia for WW1.
The manufacturers that I have been able to identify are:
GH Bishop and
HV Mckay Sunshine Harvester Works.
There may well be others.HV Mckay Sunshine Harvester Works
This example was recently sold at auction.
According to the research published by Keith Spencer in his latest book "Australian and New Zealand Cutlers and Cutlery 1788 - 1988" the only WW2 maker that he could actually identify was Marsden Products Pty Ltd. This was from the Government Gazette records. I am not aware of any Marsden marked bill hook being in any collections.
I recently came across the following Bill Hook in the posession of a Dealer. When asked about its history, all he could tell me was "I purchased it from a person who walked into my store about 2 years ago, and purchased it together with some WWII uniforms, bayonets and badges. The gentleman stated that he thought it was his fathers and might have used it when he served in the Pacific, but he wasn't sure."
The billl hooks shown below show no makers marks. One however carries a military acceptance mark as well as an Inspectors mark. There are some minor differences between the two bill hooks which would indicate different makers but it seems certain that they have been made to the same standard.
This bill hook has no markings at all.
This bill hook has no makers mark but has a military acceptance mark as well as an Inspectors mark
Recently, I was fortunate enough to be provided some information on the use of Bill Hooks or "Hooks, Bill" if one uses the appropriate Military terminology.
I was informed by Jack Neville a collector and 'expert' restorer of military vehicles and a foremost authority on Ford/Marmon Herrington gun tractors, that the Hooks Bill was a part of the equipment that served the 25 pound field gun in WW2.
Jack has provided me with a diagram of the layout of the No: 27 Limber (Trailer Artillery No: 27). Item No: 4 can be clearly identified as a Hooks, Bill.
Following on from the information provided by Jack, I contacted a colleague who served in the Royal Australian Artillery during the Vietnam War and he confirmed that he knew the Hooks Bill well and that "In Malaya and Vietnam all Artillery Guns had a Hooks Bill as part of the CES. I served on, 40mm Bofor, 88mm Mortar, 25 Pdr, 105mm Pack, 105mm towed and 5.5inch medium."
I would be very interested to find out if any other units were issued with Hooks, Bill. If you have any other information on their use, please .