Very little information exists on what the Soldiers who served in the Boer War were issued with. Very few examples can be found. It is likely that the Australian troops who served in the Boer War were issued with the British clasp knives of that time. As most of these men came from rural communities and were already skilled horsemen it is reasonable to assume that many would have taken the clasp knife they already owned with them and some would have purchased one just for the adventure.
Boer War Clasp Knife Project. Seeking information on Boer War Clasp Knives in Australian collections.
Baker Wire Key. This unusual item would have been a Private Purchase.
Boer War Clasp Knives. Some examples of the issue British clasp knives from before to just after the turn of the century.
On August 18 1900 a navy contingent drawn from Australian colonies was sent to China to assist the forces combating the Boxer Rebellion. Some 800 men were deployed in this enterprise.
Boxer Rebellion Clasp Knife This knife belonged to a Victorian sailor.
Clasp knives issued to Australian troops in WW1 were of British origin. I have been unable to find any evidence of the manufacture of Clasp Knives in Australia during WW1.
Admiralty Pattern 301 This pattern clasp knife was very likely issued to Australian sailors.
Pattern 6353/1905 This pattern clasp knife was issued to Australian troops.
Pattern 9401/1917 Variation on the 6353/1905.
Pattern 9402/1917 Variation on the 6353/1905.
Private Purchase This clasp knife was carried by an Australian soldier!.
Pattern 8173/1914 This pattern clasp knife was also issued to Australian troops.
The Recruit's Companion. This booklet was produced by the Director General of Recruiting 1918.
Gift Knife A mystery!
WW1 British Clasp Knife Patterns Some information on the various patterns of clasp knives that were approved for the British Army during WW1, and as a consequence were very likely issued to Australian soldiers as well.
Australian manufactured clasp knives were issued to Australian Military Forces during World War 2. The most commonly encountered knife is an all metal model with a canoe shaped body. This knife was made in two patterns, both have a blade, a tin opener and a marline spike as well as screw driver and shackle to attach the knife to a lanyard or belt clip. These knives were given a dull Nickel plating to protect them. The First Pattern had a British style tin opener. In 1945 the Second Pattern with an improved tin opener was issued. These knives seem to have mainly been issued to soldiers.
A Royal Navy (RN) pattern knife was also manufactured in Australia. This was for issue to Naval personell.
Clasp knives issued to Australian troops and sailors during World War 2 that were made in Australia include:
Carr Fast Produced both canoe shaped all metal patterns.
Gregory Steel Produced both a first pattern canoe body clasp knife and a RN pattern clasp knife.
Sterling Produced only a second pattern canoe body knife.
Tatham Produced only a first pattern canoe body knife.
Whittingslowe Produced both canoe shaped all metal patterns.
Whittingslowe marked knives are by far the most common Australian made clasp knife found.
British clasp knives issued to Australian servicemen during World War 2.
Admiralty Pattern 301 This pattern clasp knife was issued to Australian sailors early in WW2.
Royal Navy (RN) Pattern
WW2 Army Clasp Knife
I suspect that other British clasp knives were issued to Australian servicemen during WW2. Unfortunately I have not been able to find out much information about the issue of these knives. Hopefully more information will come to hand.
Knives issued to the Army from the 1950's on were a mix of WW2 stock that was still on hand and knives obtained from Britain. I have no information on the numbers obtained from Britain at this time.
British clasp knives supplied to the Australian Army during this period were a 2 blade knife in stainless steel with no Australian markings.
Royal Navy (RN) Pattern clasp knives continued to be supplied to the Royal Australain Navy until the Stainless Steel clasp knife came in to service in the 1970's
Knives issued to Australian Defence Force personnel from about 1970 onwards were made of Stainless Steel and manufactured in England and Japan and I suspect most recently China. Most of these knives bear a NATO Stores Number (NSN) identifying them as Australian issue..
Joseph Rodgers has supplied a 2 blade knife and a 3 blade knife in stainless steel.
Stanley Rogers 3 blade knife in stainless steel.
John Nowill and Sons 3 blade knife in stainless steel.
Unknown maker 3 blade knife in stainless steel.
Shelham 3 blade knife in stainless steel.
Cooper Tools 3 blade knife in stainless steel.
Victorinox Swiss Army Knives.
Black Wolf 3 blade knife in stainless steel.
How Not to Display your Clasp Knives
Clasp Knife Information Sheet Please feel free to access this information sheet, print or download it as you wish. I hope you find it useful with your search for Australian clasp knives.