Lebel Bayonet

Donation to the Archive

11th September 2018

A recent donation to the Archive relating to 263222, Captain Stewart Farningham MM included this Lebel Bayonet.

Capt. Farningham served from 1937 in the Royal Tank Corps and throughout the Second World War in the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment. Farningham was a Sergeant when he was awarded the Military Medal for his actions on 16th December 1941 at “El Cheima”, where he took over following wounding of his troop leader “until he himself was wounded...show[ing] great determination and marked ability as a leader”. Unfortunately, we are not entirely certain where, when or how Capt. Farningham came across this bayonet.

Bayonet smallThe Lebel Bayonet, which went through multiple modifications and variations, was in service with the French army from 1887 and was issued to soldiers serving in the First World War. It features a cruciform blade, a blade in the shape of a cross, which created wounds that were difficult to treat. This particular example features a brass hilt and diagonal hatching on the press stud. The serial numbers on the quillon and rear frog lug, while not easy to read, do not match, therefore the scabbard belonged to a different bayonet and vice versa.

As we already have a Lebel Bayonet in our collection which is in better condition, the Archive will use this bayonet as a reference example for forensic students who annually visit the Archive as part of their University course.