Japanese Army Officer's Shin-gunto Sword and Scabbard : Major J D Bowtell, 12/40 Battalion

Place Asia: Timor, Koepang
Accession Number REL36469
Collection type Technology
Object type Edged weapon or club
Physical description Brass, Leather, Steel
Maker Kaneshige
Place made Japan
Date made c 1926-1941
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Japanese Shin-gunto Officer's Sword and scabbard and two attached surrender labels. The hilt has the standard army style gilded brass Shin-gunto fittings with cherry blossom menuki (hilt ornament) on each side of the handle under the binding. The tsuba (guard) is rectangular in shape with cherry blossom motifs in the corners and has three spacer plates. The kabuto-gane (pommel) is complete with a sarute (loop) and tassel which is faded blue and brown. The family crest (mon) has been removed. A brown leather hilt protector covers the handle and is laced (incompletely) down the edge. The tang, with two peg holes and a Seki Arsenal stamp, is engraved 'KANESHIGE' indicating that it was made by Kaneshige who lived in Mino province. The slightly curved, single edged blade has a regular, wavy harmon temper line. The steel scabbard is protected by a heavy leather battle cover that is laced at the throat. The white cotton cloth Japanese sword surrender labels have Japanese characters in black ink which translate as 'SHOWA PERIOD SWORD 675mm, UNIT 10459 48th DIVISION, ISHI YAMAKINGI [the owner]'.

History / Summary

Associated with the service of TX2030 Major J D Bowtell 12/40 Battalion. Born in 1908, John David Bowtell was a lieutenant in the Royal Australian Artillery (Militia) at the commencement of the Second World War. In October 1939, he transferred to the AIF, and in June 1940 was promoted to the rank of captain with 2/31 Battalion, AIF. In June 1942 he joined 40 Battalion (Militia) as Quarter Master. 40 Battalion became 12/40 Battalion in June 1945, and it was this unit that accepted the surrender of Japanese forces from the commander of the 48th Japanese Division at Koepang, Timor on 3 October 1945. Major Bowtell later served with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force in Japan after the war.