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One of the more unusual and less often encountered F-S variations, the ‘Cast Hilt’ F-S is quite distinctive in having the whole hilt...crossguard, grip and pommel all cast together in one piece and subsequently cast directly onto the blade.  Aside from the few examples that have surfaced over the years almost nothing is known about these knives. 

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~ Variations Of The Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife ~

The Cast Hilt Pattern

No markings have to date ever been recored on any example (be they official inspection or makers marks) that would give any indication as to origin.  Some collectors feel a possible American connection, however there is no evidence for this and it is likely only reflective of the cast grip being of somewhat similar construction to the US Marine Raider Stiletto.  I suspect these knives may have a Sheffield, England connection, as I have on rare occasions an unused example that came with a standard Sheffield marked leather sheath, presumably original (?).

This splendid example of the scarce Cast Hilt F-S was finished all black and retains most of the original finish.

It is not known what the correct scabbard or sheath for this knife is, as most that surface come paired with the standard late-war pattern of scabbard.  Still and as mentioned previously, there are a few that surface with a standard Sheffield type leather sheath that may be original and correct for this pattern but as so few examples are known, it’s difficult to be certain one way or the other.

This example has been finished in a light gray coating.  From the few examples known, this seems to bee the more common form of finish.

In studying the surviving examples a few details can be extrapolated.  As there appears to be no variation in the manufacturing details, it seems reasonable that these were all produced by the same manufacturer - who what was of course is simply unknown.  It is also clear that this was an economical product and as the alloy hilt is of a non strategic material, it may be reflective of the late-war period when such (strategic) raw materials such as steel and brass were becoming more strictly controlled.

The economical and simplistic construction of this knife does put one in mind of the equally rare Steel Hilt, the latter having been thought to have been produced in part to supply the needs of D-Day.  Perhaps this Cast Hilt knife shared a similar design directive?

The only real variations we see in this scarce variation of F-S is in the coating that was applied.  From surviving examples it would seem the most prevalent finish applied was that of a light grey coating and this is sometimes found only on the grip - leaving the blade unfinished or just ‘in the white’.  A few examples have been noted coated all black.  And these appear to be of slightly better quality (only just), so I can’t help but wonder if these were the earl production of this pattern and the all black coating was simply dropped or replaced to save time/cost ?  The interesting knife shown adjacent (left) appears to have had a copper wash applied to the blade.  I am unsure if this is original or now.  Note also the leather sheath.

This knife has what looks like a copper wash applied to be blade, original?

Another example of the Cast Hilt F-S, interestingly this knife was found in the south of England and reported to have been the property of an elderly gentleman who served as a Paratrooper in WWII. Courtesy John Greatbatch collection

In many ways the Cast Hilt F-S is somewhat of a mystery.  With almost no information surviving to shed any light on it’s origin, we are only left with speculating about those examples that have survived.  It is my view that these are of late-war production and most likely produced to fulfill official contracts and not private purchase.  Let’s hope that as more examples are discovered then more details will come to light.  One thing is clear and that is that these interesting F-S variants keep us guessing and most certainly add an intriguing aspect to our collecting and study of the F-S Fighting Knife.

This superb example shows very little wear and retains most of it’s original blackened finish.  The sheath-knife stye scabbard is likely original and is presumed correct for this pattern.

Of particular interest is that this knife is purported to have been originally owned by a member of 42 Royal Marine Commando.  Courtesy of the Jeff Diamond collection.

The Cast Hilt F-S
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