Object Title

Pritchard-Greener bayonet

Pritchard-Greener bayonet

Development

The designer of this bayonet was Captain Arthur Pritchard born in 1898 he enlisted into the Royal Berkshire regiment in early 1915. He returned to Britain in 1916, and approached Wilkinson Sword, with the idea for a bayonet for the Webley Mark VI service revolver. His idea was to create a small bayonet, made from the tip of the 1897 Infantry Officer's sword. The problem Wilkinson Sword had at that time was that it was already producing the 1907 bayonet for the SMLE rifle as well as the 1908 Cavalry Trooper's sword. It was seen as quite impractical for them to cut down existing swords not to mention the cost of labour involved in assembling these bayonets. Pritchard's idea was too difficult for them to achieve at this time.

Pritchard's bayonet instead was produced at Greener's, a rival of Wilkinson Sword. Much of their business was reconditioning obsolete weapons. The company had a surplus amount of Model 1874 Gras bayonets, which were used in place of the 1897 sword tip. Although the manufacture of the bayonet was labour intensive the cost was cut by recycling the Gras bayonets. Two patterns of this bayonet were produced, the common gunmetal hilted version and the rarer steel hilted version. Both of the same form, it is likely that change to gunmetal might have been for economic reasons rather than practical reasons.

Use and effect

The Pritchard-Greener bayonet was never a standard issue of the British Army. It could be purchased privately, by officers and would probably have been a useful addition to trench raiders, to use in close-quarter combat. Few were made and no evidence exists to prove they were used in the trenches. However, one can imagine the psychological boost it would have provided men leaping into enemy trenches from No-Man's Land. It would also have served as a potentially useful backup weapon, if the revolver misfired or ran out of  ammunition.

Statistics

Blade length 26.6 cm (10.5 in)
Country of manufacture Britain
Date entered service about 1916
Manufacturer W.W. Greener
Overall length 32 cm (12.6 in)
Primary operator Britain
Weight 460 g (1 lb)

Author

Henry Yallop