World War I Gallery
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Bayonet
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Title: Bayonet
Identifier: 2006.4.1.1-2
Donor: Mike Giguere
Item Date: 1914-1918
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A World War I bayonet with steel blade inside a metal sheath. The blade has a steel handle, with remains of dark green paint. It has 2 rivets on each side and one knob near the end of the haft. The guard where the blade and haft meet has a circular gap on one side where the bayonet would fit onto a rifle. The blade is shiny steel with a long shallow groove along each side. A faint mark on the upper (not sharp) edge of the blade near the handle is indecipherable. There is a slit in the end of the haft which would correspond with fixing the bayonet onto a rifle. The sheath fits snugly over the blade as if held in by a spring mechanism. There is a lever-like attachment near the mouth of the sheath which may release the spring (inoperable to gentle pressure). The sheath is painted black and has 2 thin grooves on each side finishing at the point with a knob.

A bayonet is a blade that is attached to the barrel of rifle for use during close combat. Tradition says that the bayonet was developed in Bayonne, France in the early 17th century. Developed to defend against a cavalry charge the bayonet was adopted by nearly all European armies. Despite the fact that technological warfare improved greatly during the Twentieth century, the bayonet was used by all sides fighting in the First World War. Bayonets were provided for use as a personal offensive weapon for close combat in trench warfare. In reality most soldiers preferred to use clubs, blades or knuckledusters. The bayonet ended up most commonly used to guard the grenadiers of a raiding party whose job was to toss hand grenades into trenches as they ran past. Most bayonets including those used by the British and the Canadian forces are a simple knife design. The French also used a needle blade bayonet and the Germans developed several bayonet types including a saw-back blade. http://www.firstworldwar.com/weaponry/bayonets.htm

The bayonet belonged to the donor's great uncle, Roy Vining, who served overseas during WWI and was wounded. After returning home he died during the Spanish Influenza epidemic due to weakened lungs from his wound overseas. This item is accessioned into the Benares collection which interprets the WWI era.
Mike Giguere's family was originally from South Western Ontario. His mother, Winnifred Vining Giguere, grew up on a farm and joined the air force in 1941. His father, Paul Giguere, was born in Guelph and was a Catholic French Canadian. He also served in the air force and was a Lancaster Bomber Pilot. After moving to Mississauga in 1957, Mr. Giguere worked in public relations and advertising. His mother worked as a history department head for St. Martin's High school in Mississauga.
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