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A Bougainville Hunting Knife

A Bougainville Hunting Knife Admin |

I still have a "hunting knife" my father fashioned from a cut down 1905 bayonet with an interesting story attached.

While on Bougainville in November, 1943, my father was with the 3rd Special Weapons Battalion, 9th Regiment, 3rd Marines. When they were dug in, a Japanese plane (I don't remember him saying what type) flew over low and fast. The word was passed to not fire as it was probably a recon plane and they didn't want to give away their positions. The plane flew over the second time, slower and lower. No one fired. On the third pass, the plane flew over very slow and low. Dad said one could almost hear the camera whirring away, filming the Marine positions. At that moment two P-39 Bell Airacobras appeared and came in a vertical dive from above and opened fire on the Japanese plane with their 37MM cannons. Dad said the Japanese plane exploded and came down in "little-bitty pieces". Later, Dad retrieved some small pieces of the fuselage and fastened them onto an old K-Bar knife sheath. For a knife, he cut down an M1905 bayonet so it fit. Along with an EGA on the tip, he engraved "Eugene Wise", "Bougainville" and a small engraved palm tree. As you see from the photo, it is not a work of art, but a project no doubt borne of boredom when not in combat.

On an open market today, some dealer trying to place a value on this home-made knife and sheath would probably only laugh. But to me it is far beyond price. My one fear is that when I die, I have no family members who have any interest in Dad's things from his stint in the Corps in World War II. I need to figure out something to do with it as, if one of the family members get hold of it when I'm gone, it will probably be sold at some garage sale for a few pennies and some wannabe collector will remove the EGA and sh!tcan the knife and scabbard. Any ideas? Anyone?

J Wise
C/1/4 USMC 1964-1965 

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