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~ Introduction ~


The F-S Knives made in India have always had a special fascination for me.  Although little is known about their production and issue, there is often a distinct style of manufacture that often sets them apart from other F-S Knives manufactured in more progressively industrialized countries.  India has a great tradition of bladed weaponry-making and although during the mid-20th century could not boast the industrial might of some other of Britain’s allies it certainly excelled in hand-crafting all manner of items on a local, small scale level.  The so called ‘bazaar’ made knife is likely where many Indian F-S knives originate.  These may have been merely copied from original knives brought in by servicemen who for one reason or another needed some made up ‘in theatre’, but there quality is most cases is every bit as serviceable as those formally produced examples.

The Second Pattern F-SSecond_Pattern_-_Variations_Of_The_Fairbairn-Sykes_Fighting_Knife.html
The Third Pattern F-SThird_Pattern_-_Variations_Of_The_Fairbairn-Sykes_Fighting_Knife.html
The Ribbed & Beaded F-SRibbed_%26_Beaded_Pattern_-_Variations_Of_The_Fairbairn-Sykes_Fighting_Knife.html
The Wooden Gripped F-SWooden_Gripped_Pattern_-_Variations_Of_The_Fairbairn-Sykes_Fighting_Knife.html

~ Variations Of The Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife ~

The Indian Pattern

Few of these Indian made knife are found with the official inspection/ownership mark of ‘⩚I’ but those that have been noted are very interesting and although scarce do raise more questions than they answer.  This would lead us to believe that at least some ‘official’ orders were placed with local manufacturers, although the quantities must have been very small as so few examples have turned up.  Such knives should not be confused with those of official contract, manufactured and purchase for India but outside of this country.  An example of this is the mid-war Third Pattern manufactured by Wilkinson Sword, these knives are covered in the Third Pattern section and are beyond the scope of this specific article.  What is under discussion here, are those F-S Knives made within India and that often have particular characteristics that indicate this - be they official or otherwise.

The most often encountered Indian F-S is the one pictured adjacent.  Although this knife is never found with any official markings, the regularity and consistency of its construction leads one to conclude this was indeed an officially manufactured and issued weapon.

The classic and very rare Indian F-S Fighting Knife with its distinctive scabbard and frog.

Collectors often refer to this knife as The Indian ‘Airborne’ F-S, and it is quite possible that this knife was indeed issued exclusively to airborne troops.  However I have to date not seen any evidence of this.  I see no harm in this association as the F-S Knife ultimately became known as a ‘Commando’ knife and in the early days of the Commandos, Airborne troops and Commando units were originally conceived as one in the same.  Of course it would be very interesting to see any original period image of one of these rare knives in use, so if you have such an image I would love to hear from you.

These knives are very well made and consistant in their construction.  Of particular interest is the grip portion of the hilt, these are always of brass with very light knurling and no pommel nut - instead there is a cavity in the pommel that has had molten metal poured into it to permanently affix the grip to the hilt.  A process that is consistant with traditional Indian manufacturing techniques.

The grip is fixed in place by pouring molten metal into a void within the pommel - classic Indian construction.

The featureless pommel with not nut, showing the smooth contour.  Not also on this example that much of the original black finish to the grip still remains.

Perhaps one of the most distinct details about the classic Indian pattern of F-S Knife is not the knife at all but the scabbard.  Constructed in the same style as the traditional bayonet type of sheath and frog, it is both superbly constructed and very durable - not something one can usually say about the more standards F-S scabbard.  There was a time when collectors felt that these were ‘cut-down’ bayonet sheaths but this is clearly not the case as the mouth of the scabbards are clearly shaped to fit the diamond cross section of the F-S blade - a detail that would be unlikely to happen if these were re-purposed sheaths.

A view of the back of the scabbard frog.

Aside from the known official (?) pattern of Indian F-S, there have been a few very interesting examples surface over the years.  All appear to be well made and loosely based on the Second Pattern.  So few of these are known it is difficult to draw too many conclusions other than perhaps they are either unique knife or part of a small production.  Whatever the origin and history of these they seem to share a uniquely Indian character - be it in their construction methods or style. 

A rare example of a locally made Indian F-S with correct Indian ownership mark of ⩚I.

Very few of these small production or locally made knives are marked in any way - be it official or otherwise and no examples to my knowledge have ever been observed with a makers mark.  There examples shown adjacent is certainly the exception.

This, possibly unique example has clear characteristics of an Indian produced F-S Knife and for that alone, it is a fascinating example.

The Cast Hilt F-SCast_Hilt_Pattern_-_Variations_Of_The_Fairbairn-Sykes_Fighting_Knife.html
The Indian F-S
The Australian F-SAustralian_F-S_Pattern_-_Variations_Of_The_Fairbairn-Sykes_Fighting_Knife.html
The A.A.S - A Guest ArticleThe_Australian_Army_Stiletto_by_Michael_Lobb.html
The American F-SAmerican_-_Variations_Of_The_Fairbairn-Sykes_Fighting_Knife.html
The Steel Hilt F-SSteel_HIlt_-_Variations_Of_The_Fairbairn-Sykes_Fighting_Knife.html
The Fat Gripped F-SFat_Gripped_-_Variations_Of_The_Fairbairn-Sykes_Fighting_Knife.html
The Ribbed & Roped F-SRibbed_%26_Roped_-_Variations_Of_The_Fairbairn-Sykes_Fighting_Knife.html

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A splendid and incredibly rare example of a local Indian made Second Pattern with official inspection/ownership stamp of ⩚I.

The J. Clarke F-SJ._Clarke_%26_Son_-_Variations_Of_The_Fairbairn-Sykes_Fighting_Knife.html
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Variations Of The F-S KnifeVariations_Of_The_Fairbairn-Sykes_Fighting_Knife.html