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Fairbairn-Sykes Knives
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Fairbairn-Sykes Knives

A Part of History
A handsome collector's item with WWII interest
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In his book, Ian Fleming’s Commandos,** Nicholas Rankin tells of the training of Special Forces soldiers at a top-secret training base in Scotland. “Two middle aged officers in uniform… would then appear at the top of the staircase and proceed to roll and tumble swiftly right down the stairs, emerging at the bottom in a fighting crouch with a pistol and a knife in each hand”.

Not a bad entrance for Captains William Ewart Fairbairn and Eric Anthony Sykes of the British Secret Service, two monumentally mythic figures from the earliest days of clandestine, super-secret, behind-enemy-lines warfare. Inventors of the whole concept of close-hand combat (and the world’s first SWAT team for the Shanghai Municipal Police), they led the training of SAS and OSS troops leading up to and during WWII. Legendary giants Sir William Stephensen (the model for James Bond, many say) and “Wild Bill” Donovan, the creator of the Office of Special Services, figured significantly in the careers of Fairbairn and Sykes, and Fairbairn, purported to be so skilled as to dodge bullets, has been suggested as Ian Fleming’s model for the character Q in the famous spy series. And yet, despite their over-the-top resumes, what William Fairbairn and Eric Sykes are chiefly known for today is the famous WWII Commando Knife which bears their names.

This double-edge dagger-shaped knife with a foil grip, invented by Fairbairn and Sykes in Asia, was issued throughout WWII to British Special Forces, including the SAS. Of interest today solely to collectors and history enthusiasts, Garrett Wade is proud to offer these beautiful replicas of a knife with a great history and a ripping good story. While these are a bit afield for us we love the history. They are really just neat collectors' items.

The Fairbairn-Sykes Dress Knife features a mirror finish blade and grip, and a distinctive brass pommel. The Fairbairn-Sykes Wasp Commando Knife features a mirror finish blade, and a beautiful handle comprised of stacked layers of brass and compressed black fiber washers. Both are 11-1/2” in length with a 6” blade. The Dress Knife weighs 9-1/2 oz. and the Wasp 8-3/4 oz. Both come with a leather sheath and a handsome felt-lined lacquered wood presentation case.

Made in Sheffield, UK.

** Ian Fleming’s Commandos: The Story of the Legendary 30 Assault Unit By Nicholas Rankin. Oxford University Press. 2011.

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