Object Title

Lead-cored studded trench club

Lead-cored studded trench club


Clubs and maces reappeared in the early months of 1915, as trench stalemate set in and trench raiding for prisoners, intelligence gathering and simply to dominate 'no man's land' was attempted by both sides.  Although clubs were used by all the warring nations, they were particularly popular with British troops. This was due in part to no standard trench dagger being issued to them and perhaps also, at least initially, because British troops looked on daggers unfavourably as an assassin's weapon rather than a soldier's.

The majority of trench clubs were not improvised by the soldiers that would use them but purposefully manufactured by supporting arms.  The Royal Engineers cast flanged mace heads in their thousands which were then fitted to the standard British entrenching tool handle.  These were produced from 1915-18 and in one week alone the Hazerbrouck Workshops had over three thousands of these weapons in store, ready to be issued.  Another common British version is this lead-filled truncheon type club, with hobnails hammered into the head.  Again, this type would have needed to be purposely manufactured, rather than improvised in the field.

Use and effect

A suitably weighted club could be fiercely effective, even against helmeted opponents.  Private Stephen Graham of the Scots Guards describes a six man raiding party, all being armed with clubs coming across the enemy when they 'flew at them and pounded their heads with clubs and down went one Fritz in a heap.  One was killed, the other bruised and overwhelmed'.  It seems 'one sharp blow on the head from one of these' was usually enough to kill or disable an enemy for capture.


Country of manufacture Probably Britain
Date entered service 1915
Manufacturer Unknown
Overall length 45.7 cm (18 in)
Primary operator Probably Britain
Weight 450 g (1 lb)


Henry Yallop