This heavy multi-purpose tool, useful for chopping and cutting through the brush, was approved for military trials in 1871 but ultimately rejected due to the relatively high cost of manufacture.
The 20in (50cm) sawback ‘leaf’ form blades were made by Kirschbaum in Solingen. With perhaps only 1600 made (most were supplied to the 86th Regiment at the Cape and the 60th Rifles in Nova Scotia), this is one of the most sought-after of all British bayonets – as evidenced by the sale of this example for £2500 (estimate £80-120) at Amersham Auction Rooms 17.5% buyer’s premium) on August 6.
Stamped at the ricasso FW with a maker’s mark, this is one of the few survivors sold in recent years that comes with its steel-mounted leather scabbard.
In 1920 Army stores recorded a total of 1003 Elcho bayonets being held, with 117 in ‘serviceable’ condition and a further 886 in ‘doubtful’ condition. It is believed that they were sold out of service the following year.