British pattern 1907 bayonets marked to the royal air force: an archaeo-historical investigation
A known total of 83 World War One period Pattern 1907 bayonets for the ‘Rifle, Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield, Mark III’ have pommel markings indicating issue to the Royal Air Force, formed on 1st April 1918. They bear alpha-numeric serial markings best interpreted as stock-taking marks, suggesting a maximum total of 70,000 were allocated for use by that air force. The written sources indicate that from at least 1922 to 1937, bayonets and the rifles to go with them were a regular part of an aircraftman’s equipment. Neither these nor a search of unpublished documents in the National Archives and the British Library provide a possible explanation why these weapons would be issued to the Royal Air Force, suggesting an archaeo-historical approach was more appropriate. This article sets out our results and conclusions on the subject.