1950s post-WW2 Mk.3 kukri

P1140240I’ve got a couple of things you’ll want to see,” said my favourite antique dealer, as he brought two kukris out from under the counter.  One was a lion’s head kukri with a filigree pattern metal handle and the other was a wooden-handled kukri in dark brown leather sheath complete with military-type frog (belt hanger).

The wooden-handled kukri was the more attractive of the two, even though it was so recently arrived that the antique dealer hadn’t even had time to clean the blade.

1950s MK.3-profile kukri

1950s MK.3-profile kukri

What did I buy? In short, a typically Mk.3-profile (WW2 and later) kukri with a non-Mk.3-style handle.   A Mk.3 would have a full-tang handle (where the handle consists of two wooden scales riveted either side of a wide, flat tang), whereas my new acquisition had a thin, rat-tail tang running through the centre of the handle and peened over at the butt.  The bolster and butt cap are white brass.

The blade has the typical MK.3 ‘dogleg’ halfway along the spine, which is 7mm thick at the bolster and 5mm over the ‘belly’ of the blade – just the dimensions I like.  The belly itself is modest at 6cm, giving a very slim and light appearance.

The kukri, I am told, is not an official issue pattern, but is an unofficial design made in Dehradun in the 1950s and issued to the Gurkhas alongside the official Mk.3 and Mk.4 kukris.

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The lower of the two

The lower of the two

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Note tinder pouch between straps

Note tinder pouch between straps

Tinder pouch open, with tinder clearly visible

Tinder pouch open, with tinder clearly visible

Since I was inquisitive, I teased out some of the tinder from the tinder pouch.  It turns out to be compressed cotton bolls, and the tiny hard inclusions are cotton seeds.

Cotton tinder from tinder pouch

Cotton tinder from tinder pouch

The metal-handled 'lion's head' kukri I didn't buy!

The metal-handled ‘lion’s head’ kukri I didn’t buy!

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About Nigel

Retired law firm project manager based in Jersey, British Channel Islands. When he isn't shooting clay pigeons, he's polishing his collection of kukris or digging his vegetable patch.
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