German trench knife : Private W H Kane, 1 Battalion, AIF

Place Europe: Western Front
Accession Number REL32850
Collection type Technology
Object type Edged weapon or club
Physical description Steel, Wood
Maker Delta
Place made Germany
Date made c 1916
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

German trench knife with the maker's name 'DELTA' impressed into the single edged blade and KRFSPACH AINZ (worn) near the ricasso. The hilt has a steel cross guard with a single turned back front quillon and two piece wood grips that have eight ribs along the centre.

History / Summary

This German trench knife was captured by William Henry Kane, who was born on 8 August 1894 in Castlemaine, Victoria. He joined the AIF on 15 July 1915 as part of the 12th reinforcements to 2 Battalion, but didn't leave for overseas duty until the 30 December 1915 which made him ineligible for the 1914-15 Star. Kane transferred to 1 Battalion on 3 June 1916. He was twice wounded during the war. The first time was at Pozieres on 22/25 July 1916 in his left leg. On 24 August 1918 he received a gun shot wound in his right side.

Private Kane was awarded the Military Medal in August 1918. The recommendation for the award reads, 'On the 9th August 1918 near Chipilly north east of Amiens, Private Kane was a member of a party of six who carried out valuable and daring patrol work, with three others he rushed an enemy post. One officer, thirty-one other ranks and seven machine guns were captured. Later in company with another man, he rushed another enemy post and captured nine prisoners and two machine guns. He later did fine work in mopping up after an advance was made with the other members of the patrol where a further twenty-eight prisoners were captured.'

Kane was discharged from the Army on 10 April 1919. This same year he married Emma Provost on 30 July in Macksville NSW. He enlisted again for service on 7 March 1942. He was posted with 11 Australian Garrison Battalion in Darwin, and was discharged on 29 December 1943.

It is unclear when Private Kane acquired this German trench knife, but it is possible that he took it off one of his prisoners during his actions at Chipilly in August 1918. The knife's shape and design is fairly typical - men equipped themselves with both official and privately supplied examples. As Private Kane acquired this knife possibly for his own use, so did many other soldiers on both sides.