Clasp Knives

Boer War

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 Brtitsh 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.

Baker Wire Key  Baker Wire Key. This unusual item would have been a Private Purchase.


WW1

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.

AP301  Admiralty Pattern 301 This pattern clasp knife was very likely issued to Australian sailors.
6353/1905  Pattern 6353/1905 This pattern clasp knife was issued to Australian troops.
8173/1914  Pattern 8173/1914 This pattern clasp knife was also issued to Australian troops.
9401/1917  Pattern 9401/1917 This clasp knife was issued to an Australian soldier!.
Recruit's Companion   The Recruit's Companion. This booklet was produced by the Director General of Recruiting 1918.
Gift Knife  Gift Knife A mystery!
WW1 British Patterns  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.


WW2

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 Clasp Knives  Carr Fast Produced both canoe shaped all metal patterns.
Gregsteel Clasp Knives  Gregory Steel Produced both a first pattern canoe body clasp knife and a RN pattern clasp knife.
Sterling Clasp Knives  Sterling Produced only a second pattern canoe body knife.
Tatham Cutlery Clasp Knives  Tatham Produced only a first pattern canoe body knife.
Whittingslowe Clasp Knives  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.

British RN pattern Clasp Knives  Royal Navy (RN) Pattern
Richards Clasp Knives  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.


Post WW2

Knives issued to the Army from the 1950's on were a mix of WW2 stock that was still on hand and Stainless Steel knives obtained from Britain. I have no information on the numbers obtained from Britain at this time.

Post WW2 British Clasp Knives  British clasp knives supplied to the Australian Army during this period were a 2 blade knife in stainless steel with no Australian markings.

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..

They include:

Joseph Rodgers Clasp Knives  Joseph Rodgers has supplied a 2 blade knife and a 3 blade knife in stainless steel.
Stanley Rogers Clasp Knives  Stanley Rogers has supplied a 3 blade knife in stainless steel.
Shelham Clasp Knives  Shelham has supplied a 3 blade knife in stainless steel.
Cooper Tools Clasp Knives  Cooper Tools has supplied a 3 blade knife in stainless steel.
Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Soldier  Victorinox Swiss Army Knife "Soldier " and "Electrician" model.
Black Wolf Clasp Knives  Black Wolf has supplied a 3 blade knife in stainless steel.

Civilian version  Civilian version

Information Sheet on Clasp Knives

Please feel free to access the following information sheet, print or download it as you wish. I hope you find it useful with your search for knives.

Clasp Knife Information Sheet