WW1 BRITISH FENCING RIFLE DATED 1916
This is a very interesting item, a WW1 British fencing rifle. This one was made by the G. G. Bonehill for troops to train bayonet/fencing drills as the thought early in the war was that skill with the bayonet was vital. Most of these rifles are from 1914-16 dates with this one dating 1916. Typically these rifles have the stamp "W.W. Greener Birmingham" or in the case of this example G. G. BONEHILL RIFLE MAKERS BIRMINGHAM above is the British broad arrow and above that the date of manufacture. Fully extended the rifle is about 65 inches in length.
This rifle has a spring loaded rod that will retract once hitting its opponent, simulating a thrust. These types of rifles were first used as early as 1863. In 1894 the Martini-Henry mark 4 was introduced, followed by the mark 5 in 1896 (these rifles are still available, but getting harder to find). In 1904 a new version was released to simulate the newly introduced SMLE rifle. The Lee Metford was also converted for use in this role as well. In all 10 versions were made during the run of these rifles, with the last model being retired in 1925.
This type of rifle rarely comes onto the market and is a definite talking point.