Commando Fighting Knife

West Highland Museum

This iconic knife is usually known as the First Pattern. It was designed by William Fairbairn and Eric Sykes in 1940 in response to the conditions of World War Two. The duo had been given responsibility for training the recently-formed special forces in ‘unconventional warfare’. This included the commandos in Lochaber and specialist men selected for the Special Operations Executive (SOE).

Wilkinson Sword manufactured the fighting knives that were used for close combat by the British Commandos and Allied special forces.

Techniques for effective use for this weapon were taught at Highland training centres including Lochailort Special Training Centre and Achnacarry, the Commando Basic Training Centre from 1942-1945. Though undoubtedly a distressing object intended for lethal purposes, it is important for giving us an insight into the desperate situation facing those working to bring an end to conflict in Europe.

This dagger was saved from destruction after being given to police in Fife as part of a knife amnesty. Fortunately, a serving police officer recognised its historic importance.

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Date: 1940s
Materials : Metal, Nickel Plated
Size : 17.5cm

Associated Activity

On Reflection

Memorialising… The Commandos



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