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Old 24th July 2021, 07:46 PM   #1
drac2k
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Default Philippine Bolo Mystery

This weapon has been somewhat perplexing to me because it screams Philippine, but the writing on the scabbard "L.T. Wyatt, 527-71-35 3rd Division doesn't make any sense.
The blade is of a common Philippine configuration, and without the guard, it closely resembles the Philippine Scout Bolo that was issued to Filipinos that were trained in the United States and then reinserted into the Philippines during WW2. What doesn't make sense is first, the 7 digit service number; during WW2, there were 8 digits, and next, the 3rd Division was never in the Pacific but in Europe.
Then I wondered if it could be a Philippine 3rd Division and in 1946 one was formed, but you wouldn't have a US service number and I'm guessing that Wyatt isn't a standard Philippine name.
I'm sure its something simple, but if someone has the answer, I would appreciate it.
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Old 25th July 2021, 04:05 PM   #2
Ian
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Hi drac,

Interesting knife. I agree the knife looks Filipino, most likely from Central Luzon. Is the tang visible at the end of the hilt? The scabbard is atypical for local manufacture. Pictures of both sides of the scabbard would help with further ID.

The likely area of manufacture is close to the site of the U.S. Clark AFB which was active during and after WWII, as well as the nearby U.S. Naval Base at Subic Bay. Post WWII there were a lot of troop movements through Clark, especially during the Vietnam War. Local knives were common purchases for U.S. military personnel in the area, including GIs during the Vietnam era. I suspect your knife is probably one of those.

The knife is of a general pattern produced in the province of Pampanga, and more specifically in the town of Apalit about 20 miles form Clark AFB. This area is responsible for many knives that found their way back to the U.S. with returning servicemen.

That's my best guess at this point. Further pics of the knife and scabbard would help.
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Old 25th July 2021, 05:25 PM   #3
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Ian,
My hat is off to you...
Awesome knowledge of such diverse facts. Were you there during the Vietnam War?
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Old 25th July 2021, 07:03 PM   #4
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Thanks, Ian, I will get a picture posted soon of the backside; I will also include a closeup of the cordage, which was locally produced and may give you a further clue. The tang does not go all the way through. Am I correct that 7 digit service numbers are pre-WW2?
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Old 25th July 2021, 10:17 PM   #5
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Pictures as promised; it looks like the native cordage isn't as native as I remembered it to be.
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Old 26th July 2021, 07:50 AM   #6
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That's an odd looking scabbard, and appears to be an attempt to reproduce a leather sheath in wood. The scabbard may not have been locally produced and may well post date the knife. The twine looks like twisted hemp cord to me, a common material used to attach working bolos around the waist.

The absence of a full length tang is unusual for a Luzon knife, but not unheard of. It might shift the site of manufacture south of Manila, perhaps the Batangas/Lake Taal area.

If the edge is chisel-ground then I am way off, and the knife is probably Visayan.

Sorry I can't be more specific.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel View Post
Ian, ... Were you there during the Vietnam War?
Ariel, I was (just) old enough to be serving in the Vietnam War but lived in Australia at the time and my birth date was not selected for conscription, so I escaped being compelled to serve in the Australian military and I declined to volunteer.

My visits to the Philippines started in 1977, several years after the Vietnam War ended.

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Originally Posted by drack2k
... Am I correct that 7 digit service numbers are pre-WW2?
Sorry drac, I don't know.
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Old 26th July 2021, 04:57 PM   #7
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Ian, Thank you for all of your insights; you have been very helpful.
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