Fit for a Kingsman
The folding clasp knife, aka jackknife, aka pocketknife, aka penknife, aka peasant knife, et. al, in military ancillary use dates back to the Roman Legions as early as 200~ AD. Fast forward to the 19th Century and the level of inexpensive standardization that was brought about by the Industrial Revolution, and good folders became available on the cheap. By 1905, the British Army started to standardize the basic issue clasp knife (the Pattern 6353/1905), used for opening tins, working ropes, and other basic non-fighting tasks.
Typically made in Sheffield by a myriad of firms, they were marked with a Broad Arrow acceptance mark on the blade, included a sheepsfoot main and can opener secondary auxiliary blade with a tertiary marlinspike in some cases. By the 1930s, shell and bone handled knives fell by the wayside and scales were commonly made from “chequered black bexoid (plastic).” This was the standard Commonwealth jack used through WWII and Korea, with surplus stocks in wide circulation for decades after.
Here is my British Army WWII era clasp knife. Marked SSP 1943 with a Broad Arrow, it is a hoss at 5.1-ounces and is built like a tank.
The two blades are 2.75-inches long overall and the knife itself, when closed, is 3.75-inches.
The strong shackle on the heel enabled the knife to be used as an ersatz plumb in field construction and in use as a slungshot to throw lines.
A more pointed “dagger jackknife” was commonly issued to commando, paratrooper and Marine units as well as the gentlemen of the SOE.
In a form of flattery, this 1960s follow-up was made by Bianchi in Italy for the Italian military and is marked, Campobasso. It is lighter than the preceding Anglo-Saxon model, tipping the scales at 3.7-ounces. The two blades are 2.5-inches and the knife itself, closed, is 3.5-inches.
Post-war, the Brits themselves moved to adopt a slimmer version with metal scales. Today they are still made in Sheffield and, taking a key to the marketing behind Swiss Army knifes, Joseph Rodgers/George Wostenholm make “Genuine British Army” knives for the market in various models, with the below being one of the more svelte models, a single blade that weighs just 2.2-ounces.
I quite like it while the other ones see time in the safe.
As for the revolver, of course, it is a .38/200 Enfield No.2, 1943 production, the same date as the Bren gun brass cleaning kit.