Knife Tales-Part 1

yeomanry calvaryman's knife

Knives have held a special significance in culture and people's lives since the beginning of human history. Starting in 2017, we will be adding fun and interesting knife stories to our blog for all you knife enthusiasts. We will start with one close to home!

This rather unimpressive battered looking old knife holds a special place in Gregg's heart. Owned by his grandfather, who fought in WWI, both in the Battle of Gaza and the trenches of France from the age of 14 (lied about his age to get in), then by his dad who was a pilot in WWII, it is "the knife that started it all" for Salter Fine Cutlery. This knife was the inspiration which led to Gregg's lifelong love and respect for knives. Here is the brief version of its story:

Granddad Salter tried to enlist in the calvary when he was 14. Told to come back the next day when he was at least 15, he did and lied about his age to go fight for his country. After riding through the Middle East, he fought and was wounded twice in the 2nd Battle of Gaza. While being transported back to England, his ship was sunk and he was rescued. 

Recovered from his injuries, and in need of all men fit enough to fight, he was then sent to the trenches of France. During one battle, his knife was lost in the mud and muck. Later, another soldier found it and seeing Granddads name scratched on the side, returned it.

Eventually the knife returned to England, was used by Great-Granddad Salter, then passed to Gregg's dad. Then came WWII and dad joined the RAF, becoming a pilot and one of only two in his 50-man training class to survive the war.  

At one point, while flying a bomber, the knife fell from his pocket and was rattling across the floor toward an open hatch in the bottom of the plane. Dad's radio operator spotted it, unstrapped himself from his harness and crawled along the floor to retrieve the knife just before it would have fallen out into oblivion.

Adored and recognized as a symbol of how fortunate he was that both the knife and both his Granddad and Dad managed to survive two world wars, it now holds the most special place in Gregg's own personal knife collection.

From the top clockwise, this little piece of history, possibly made by R. Kelly and Sons of Liverpool and stamped "Sheffield"  includes:

  • A button hook for all the buttons on a calvaryman's uniform
  • A small blade, obviously over-sharpened over time
  • A can-opener
  • A combination file and screwdriver
  • A large blade, again over-sharpened and altered by unconventional knife-making means
  • A corkscrew
  • A reamer for cleaning the horse's hooves

Do YOU have a special knife or a special knife story?  If so, we would love to hear from you and share it with our readers!

WWI Calvaryman's Knife


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