Wilkinson Sword Company Kukri (WSC 51)

Wilkinson Sword Company Kukri (WSC 51)

Code: 11919

£1,595.00 Approx $2018.99, €1861.14
 

A very rare Wilkinson Sword Company Kukri (WSC 51). This is a complete example, retaining its original scabbard, side knives, and near impossible to find original frog.

A little history:

The final design was sealed on 12th October 1950, and was officially designated the MK IV/MK4. These names appear on the official Wilkinson Sword productions drawings. Interestingly both the terms “Kookrie” and “Kukri” are used on the Wilkinson Sword Documents.

It is estimated that 1402 were finally produced by Wilkinson’s. This is an unusually small amount for a military production run, Less than 10% of serving gurkhas at the time would have been issued with them. This lends credence to the theory that the WSC order was an experiment in logistics, quality and cost.

The Wilkinson MK IV was based on the WW2 designed Mk III. Placed side by side the resemblance is striking. However, upon closer inspection there are certain features which set the two Marks apart.

Wilkinson’s produced a high quality kukri. The blades were all hand forged, the butt plates and scabbard chapes were both chromed. The steel used in production was to Wilkinson’s own specification. Such products don’t come cheap, and it is easy to see why the initial order was for such a small number.

Of the kukris produced, 1400 went for issue to the Army, and two were retained by Wilkinson’s themselves as samples for possible future orders.

Despite Wilkinson’s maintaining a dialogue with the Ministry regarding further production, none were ever made. Cost seems to be the main issue, as Wilkinson submitted plans for more cost effective models, but by this point, the  MK5 had been developed, and sourcing kukri in India was by far the more cost effective solution.

So what became of the 1400 that were produced and issued? Most seem to have found their way to the Far East, for issue in the Malaya and Borneo campaigns. These unforgiving jungle environments probably did nothing to improve the chances of survival. Infact, fifty (50) examples were returned to Wilkinson who were asked to rehilt warped English Beech grips. Later they were tasked with supplying a further four hundred (400) replacement hilts and rivet fittings.

Malaya lasted for twelve years, so it wouldn't take long to burn through 1400 kukris. They were issued, used, repaired, reissued, used, etc until they were either destroyed, rendered unserviceable, or replaced by something else. I don’t think many made it home.
Around twenty five examples are currently extant. They in various museums and private collections across the globe. The hardest part of the set to come by is the frog. I have seen less than five complete sets. For those want to collect a complete set of British Pattern Kukri, they are quite simply, the holy grail.

This example was issued and carried in Malaya by an officer of the 10th Gurkha Rifles, and has come direct from the family, having been owned by me for around twenty years. It retains its original grips, along with the aforementioned chakmak, karda, scabbard and frog. The grip has a small area of loss, there is some staining to the blade, edge nicks and it has been service sharpened, carried and used.

As far as I am aware, it is the only complete example currently for sale in the UK, and likely the whole world.

Strictly over 18's only. Photo ID will be required before this item can be dispatched.