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Old 11th February 2009, 09:04 PM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,712

The mk.3 kukri came into being in Febuary 1943 according to Indian sources & was certainly in mass production by 1944. It is sometimes mistakenly referred to as the K.45 design based on the date stamp present on some examples made in 1945.

It is still commonly issued kukri to the Indian armed forces along with other smaller varieties.

Literally millions of these have have been made, but the only Genuine military pieces are those that were actually purchased by the military forces. The others are just commercial copys even if made by the same companys.

It was designed for easy & fast production & was made by many companies.

Including. {With years of production runs that I have seen to date.}

Mil, 1945

WSC {Windlass steel Crafts} 1944, 1945,

CMW {Calcutta}, produced very high quality specimens that have many easily recognizable manufacturer & army inspection stamps.1944, 1945

Many MK.III were not maker clearly marked, or were badly stamped. But most genuine WW2 issue pieces do bear minute army inspection marks.

Other manufactures include Chowdri & DKW who both produced during 1945 at least but most likely for the Indian army after Independence as well.

Many of these kukris have been made to the present day & it has been used by many Indian army Gorkha units as well as commercially exported in lower quality versions to the USA & Europe for over 50 years.

It weights from 19 oz to 26 oz. {On those I have examined.}

1944 & 45 versions of the CMW mk.III kukri & detail of manufacturers stamp & army inspection marks.

The rarest of these & in many ways the highest quality, {Other than the use of an perishable English timber for the grips.}

Originaly mistakenly named the as the the mk.4 kukri & previously listed as the rarest official kukri pattern model to ever exist,

Dispite many refinements & subtle differences. The intial mk.4 designation identification was the 4th refinement of Wilkinsons plans & drawings & not the offcial issue pattern number. Which remained the mk.3 throughout untill given NATO stock number 1095-99-962-0535.

It was designed in 1949/50 by Wilkinson Sword Company. It appears the British army wanted to buy British despite the much higher cost rather than keep purchasing from The Indian kukri factories/ Government.

WSC confirmed to me that only 1400 were ever made, {possibly 1402 including the prototype pattern cupboard & Wilkinson own museam models which they kept..}

A very small number for an army production run. Less than 10/% of serving Gurkhas would have been issued with them.

They where a very high quality hand forged production by some of the worlds leading sword smiths & cutlers. With some unusual minor features not seen on other models. } & presumably the cost of having them made by WSC resulted in no further orders for this know sought after model.

They seem to have been mainly issued in the Far East, particularly Malaya & Singapore. A large number went to the Gurkha signals.

What happened to them is sometimes regarded as a mystery , I have heard many unsubstantiated stories, but it seems to me the simple truth is they most where never brought back out of Malaya ever again they were used to destruction in the longest jungle campaign fought by the Gurkha in there their long & bloody history.

A couple of years never mind 10 or 15 years in the Borneo jungle would rust & rot most equipment beyond recognition. According to some army sources canvas jungle boots & webbing would be rotting within 2 weeks.

Hence I think the rarity of the mk.3 Wilkinson sword kukri. Not many were made, Then in that extreme environment handles eventually warped or rotted & Loosened the unless cleaned & oiled every day the steel rusted.

Which with the quality of workmanship that went into them & place in history it seems rather a shame that Wilkinsons used a perishable localy grown timber on these.

It is still one of the holy Grails for serious collectors of Military kukri.


Some time during the late 1950s to early 1960s the ”new” mk.4 kukri was introduced. {previosly mistakenly reffered to as mk5 kukri.} {Which nowadays also has 12 digit NATO service number}

Often called the BAS {British Army Standard} or BSI {British service issue.} By kukri aficionados These are manufacturer’s terms & seem to bear no relation to any British military designation.

The issue model is generally made in Nepal rather than India.

This shorter much lighter kukri was introduced a few years after every Gurkha had been issued with the British SLR copy of the Belgian FAL automatic rifle, or the Sterling submachine gun. One assumes that by which point the powers that be thought a smaller lighter camping style of kukri was acceptable .Rather than the earlier longer more sidearm battle worthy style kukris. But in some ways that makes sense as it It does occur very occasionly but its extreemly rare for Gurkhas to use kukris as weapons anymore. {Air support & fully automatic guns are the preferance.}

This model is made by several Nepali firms nearly all of which claim to supply The British Army & most have done on occasion..

In a way it seems irrelevant which of them do as the current versions of it manufactured most seem to be low quality. No different than the average modern tourist kukri.

The lowest bidder wins the army contract each year so for many years Lalit of khukri house has been one of the main supplies as the size of his business presumably allows him to undercut the competition. Of course he was also a Gurkha for many years & maintains his contacts within, the British army, the Gukhas & at the officer training school Sandhurst.

Hundreds of thousands have been made, but the only Genuine military pieces are those that were actually purchased by the military forces. The others are just commercial copys even if made by the same companys.

The higher quality versions of this kukri I have seen, were made by kamis employed the British army themselves working at Dharan army base. They are normally marked "Ordep Nepal" with a date stamp. {Generally from the 1980s.} With superior fit & finish, they have a superior feel to the ones marketed today that I have handled.

They were made in 2 grades, the high quality ceremonial, with plastic scabbard, & the utility versions.

Interestingly Ive found most other Manufactures ceremonial models are lower quality chrome plaited blade items.

Many minor variants exist in size & weight & even blade shape due to the number of manufacturers & many years of production when multiplied by the 2 required versions.

Blade Lengths of 10 inch to 11 inch are common & generally the older they are the longer they are. It is possible a few were even longer in the 1960s judging from old photos.

The ceremonial versian should still be a reliable & useable kukri as its still worn for Guard duty at Buckingham palace & Windsor castle. Etc.

2 Dharan army base made mk.5 kukri, Both weigh between 16oz & 17oz

Issue standard. left.

Ceremonial. right, {with plastic shaeth & belt.]

Typical marks found on the Base made kukris.


I welcome any further information & photos to evidence opinions emailed to me at please include kukri in title. To enable further updating of this article.

Enjoy your kukris!


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“Text & photos copyright, Spiral JRS Feb. 2009.”

Alternative spellings include.. Khukri, Khukuri. Kookerie. Gurka. Goorkha. etc.etc.
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