As with the
discussion of "standard Service Rifles" it should be borne in mind that
many different weapon types were used by the Canadian Army in the 20th
Century. The number of variants for the standard rifles alone are
staggering; what is presented here are some representative samples of
bayonets for the most widely used rifles in Canadian service.
fighting was taught in the first half of the century, but after the Second
World War less and less emphasis was paid to it. Statistics showed that
bayonets were rarely used to injure or kill on the battlefield; even going
back as far as the US Civil War (1861-1865) bayonets seem more to have
been a psychological weapon than an instrument of death.
The bayonet was
a useful tool for shepherding prisoners of war, and could presumably be
used for utilitarian tasks (Pierre Berton tells us in Vimy that Canadian
troops used their sword bayonets to toast bread over open fires) though
Canadian soldiers have always been issued clasp knives and other tools for
tasks such as opening cans of food, and usually did them better.
the effectiveness of the bayonet, it was yet one more item among a
soldiers inventory of impedimenta - the spike bayonet could not be fixed
to a Bren Gun, for example, but photos of Bren Gunners usually show the
bayonet carried on the soldier's belt. Throughout the century the bayonet
retained a ceremonial importance beyond its actual battlefield worth;
regiments and units afforded the ancient privileges of Freedom of the City
considered it an honour to be permitted to parade "with bayonets fixed"
and infantry regiment colour parties still used the unsheathed bayonet to
guard their precious Colours.
should also be made differentiating the scabbard - a metal
(plastic on later bayonets) receptacle for the bayonet when not in
use, and the frog - a leather, web or nylon carrier for the
scabbard with which the bayonet could be attached to a waistbelt.
frogs are a separate subject to themselves; ceremonial frogs in
white leather (later plastic) were often very different from those
frogs designed for field issue (originally in brown or black
leather, replaced early in the century with khaki cotton webbing
and then in the 1950s with green webbing, finally replaced with a
nylon frog for the C7 in the 1980s). Many of the cotton frogs were
also simply whitened for ceremonial use.
photos and artifacts on this page are courtesy Ed Storey.
Pattern 1888 Bayonet
bayonet in use in 1900 was the Pattern 1888, the Mk II is shown
here with both a buff Slade Wallace General Service Mark I Bayone
Frog and the brown leather Canadian 1896 Oliver Pattern Bayonet
adoption of the all-Canadian Ross Rifle prior to World War One was
an important milestone for the nation's fledgling arms industry;
its impact on the fighting abilities of Canadian soldiers in 1915
was equally marked. The Ross came with its own bayonet, worn in a
brown leather frog (here we see the Mark II) as part of the Oliver
Pattern infantry equipment with which Canadian soldiers were
equipped prior to and in the early years of World War One.
Pattern 1907 Bayonet
Canadian adoption of the Short, Magazine, Lee Enfield (SMLE) came
about unofficially at first, as SMLEs from British casualties were
obtained by Canadian soldiers dissatisfied with the performance of
the Ross under battlefield conditions. In time, the SMLE
officially replaced the Ross in line infantry units. The SMLE
(later also called No. 1 Mk III) would soldier on until 1943 when
replaced by the later No. 4 Rifle.
sword bayonet was carried in a variety of frogs; shown at right
from the top are the 1908 Pattern web frog with helve carrier
attached, leather Canadian 1915 Pattern Olvier Bayonet Frong, and
the narrower 1937 Pattern Web No 1 Mk III Bayonet Frog with
Pattern 1913 Bayonet
of the Enfield P14 and Enfield P17 also saw the issue of these
bayonets, for use with that rifle. The frog at top is the standard
1937 Pattern also illustrated above, and the British No. 6 1937
Pattern Bayonet Frog (narrower and without retaining strap).
The No. 4
Mk I and No. 4 Mk I* rifles (introduced into Canadian service after
Dieppe) differed from the SMLE in that a spike bayonet was attached
with a simple socket attachment. The spike was much shorter than the
sword bayonet of the older Lee Enfield. A variety of web frogs were
used, including the longer version used by the sword bayonet, and
later purpose built spike bayonet frogs which were much shorter. These
will be found in khaki (1937 Pattern) and in green (as used by the
later 51 Pattern equipment).
Bayonets in various Mk I scabbards. Frogs are (left to right)
Spike Bayonet in British 1937 Pattern No. 1 Mk III Bayonet Frog
Spike Bayonet in Canadian 1937 Pattern No. 4 Mk I Bayonet Frog
II* Spike Bayonet in British 1937 Pattern No.1 Mk III/No. 4 Mk I
III Spike Bayonet in Canadian 1951 Pattern No. 4 Mk I Bayonet
The Mk 5
Sten Gun (issued primarily to parachute troops) could also be fitted
with a spike bayonet.
bayonet in Mk II Scabbard, Mark II* Bayonet in Mk III Scabbard,
and Mk II* Bayonet in US M5 Scabbard
frogs in use are the Canadian 1937 Pattern No. 4 Mk I Bayonet
Frog, Canadian 1937 Pattern No. 1 Mk III/No. 4 Mk I Bayonet Frog,
and the US M5 Bayonet Frog.
Spike bayonet was supplemented in Canadian service with blade
bayonets of various types, as used by the No. 4 rifle. They served
side by side with the spike bayonet.
No. 5 Bayonet was issued to the Exercise Eskimo infantry units
who were trialing the No. 5 Rifle in 1945. (The No. 5 is
popularly known as the "Jungle Carbine", a shortened version of
the Lee Enfield with a cutaway forestock and large flash hider
on the muzzle). With a similar attachment to the old SMLE
bayonet, the ring was wide enough to pass over the flash hider
on the muzzle.
No. 5 Rifle was not adopted, and in fact had the shortest
service life of any rifle in the history of the British Army,
being an official weapon for just five years; its heavy recoil
and "wandering zero" eventually led to it being dropped from
No. 7 Bayonet was issued to the Governor Generals Foot Guards
during the mid-1950s and appear to have been used strictly for
ceremonial parade use. Grips were possibly found in two colours,
red or black.
The No. 5, 7 and 9
Bayonet used the same scabbard which was similar to that issued
for the FNC1 Bayonet. The FNC1 Bayonet used the same blade
design as the aforementioned bayonets, with the pre-FN Scabbards
using a brass chape or throat piece, and the FN having a
blackened throat piece.
and C1 Bayonet
Bayonet was the standard bayonet used on the C1 and later C1A1
assault rifles, finally replacing for good the spike design in use
since 1943. The web frog was only produced in green; by the time
of the adoption of the FN in the late 1950s, 1951 Pattern gear
(and the soon to be introduced 1964 Pattern) was the official
pattern used by the Canadian Army. The frog at left is the
Canadian 1951 Pattern FN Bayonet Frog, which was replaced by the
frog at right - the Canadian 1964 Pattern FN Bayonet Frog.
Bayonet could also be fitted to the C1 submachine gun.
Bayonet was adopted with the C7 assault rifle. The scabbard was in
plastic rather than metal, and the Canadian 1982 Pattern C7
Bayonet Frog (the 1st type is illustrated here) used nylon in its
construction rather than the traditional cotton webbing.