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A pair of Native Military Corps spears as issued to Native guards in South Africa during WW2. The hide covering the socket was apparently done by the troops themselves. Note that the top spear has had the tip broken and reprofiled 20160306_150043.thumb.jpg.4611f5f80c53d7

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Edited by Brandon Eldridge

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Hello Chris,if you look carefully between the stitching of the hide you can see the socket part of the blade. I'm reluctant to remove the hide because that is the way I received them. They do have the finger groove towards the butt end, apparently the police spears had the metal butt cap and the army spears did not.  I bought these in Dullstroom about 12 years back.

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I am fascinated by the fact that troops ANYWHERE were issued spear during WWII and, apparently, in several models.  Of course, when I lived briefly in Nigeria our 'maguardi' [watchmen] kept a bow and poisoned arrows with him as he slept peacefully in my neighbours garage every night, so I suppose I shouldn't be surprised but... wow!

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Hello Peter,I think the authorities of the day, in South Africa anyway, were reluctant to issue firearms to the local natives. I believe that these spears were made in England. I know that there should be manufacturer's marks on the socket but in order to see that I have to remove the hide covering the socket. I am tempted but do not know if it will affect value,I'm burning to see the manufacturers marks....advice anyone  ? The sockets are merrily corroding away under the hide which concerns me.

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The NMC men did not use spears on active service.  The men of colour that did go to North Africa and Italy were all in non-combatant roles. The black soldiers drilled with spears instead of rifles, because, as Brandon wrote, the authorities did not want to arm them with rifles.  The NMC were used to guard properties and installations in South Africa and I expect that they were then armed with spears to be used with lethal intent.

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hi Brandon nice spears fyi in 1939 at the anc annual conference they passed a resolution to support the union govt only on the condition that African soldiers were armed the union govt was prepared to use African soldiers only in a non combatant role ie drivers mechanics stretcher bearers etc etc interestingly Africans from british protectorates were promised arms but when they arrived in the western desert they were given knobkerries and spears so as to not upset Africans from the union of south Africa this seems to follow the reluctance to arm native troops from the early days I believe that during the Zulu wars only 1 in 10 native troops had a rifle and were issued with only 4 rounds of ammunition I can still remember in Rhodesia in the 70s black guard force members armed with 303 lee enfields and the trusty spear

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Thankyou Brett and Mickey, very interesting, I am keen to know which companies made these things. When I bought these things I was informed that they were Anglo - Boer war era,which I did not believe, I found out only later what they were,still a "nice to have "

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I can understand your reluctance to meddle with them, Brandon.  I have a little background in musuem work, where the First through Fifth Commandments are 'Thou shalt not do anything you can't undo.', which includes cleaning, coating and very definitley dismantling!  That said, interesting items with a fascinating back story.  I should have thought of the 'no guns to the Apaches' angle myself.  

By the way, welcome to the GMIC!  I hope you'll find something to interets you and have more things and ideas to share! Happy Easter.

Peter

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Thankyou Peter,I will take your advice, my house is like a museum, I have been collecting since I started earning money.  I have a very modest bayonet collection, amongst other things. I am like a kid in a candy store here,educating myself in things military.  Sitting here on my small Zululand farm and enjoying the break,Happy Easter to you too  !

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Ta!  I spent two years in Nigeria a few decades ago now but hadn't the wit nor money to look out and grab any really nice artifacts.  The best I could do was a 'made for tourists' Tuareg sword, which oine of my daughters has now absconded with for her knife collection [along with my skean dubh and a couple other items].  My collecting these days is mainly of computer files and repro. British Army kit, as I re-enact both the Napoleonic and WWI periods.  But, like Kat, I love blades and have a foundness for the unusual - my original collecting was the then under-popular field of the Indian Army.

Enjoy the entended weekend.

Peter 

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hi Brandon a bit of info for you a large number of police and military assegais were made by 2 manufacturers (don't know who) in the uk around 1915 they were either marked with a broad arrow or a u for the union of south Africa defence force the groove near the butt end is for the thumb  so they are carried at the same angle on parade the black south African prisons guards carried them into the 70s I believe, im wondering if the hide binding was added later by the users as they were made with a knurled steel binding or of course maybe made by a manufacturer closer to home at a later stage

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