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Eugene W. Stone WWII Knuckle Knives


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#26 zzyzzogeton

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 08:01 PM

Here is another WWII period copy of the E.W. Stone knife. This one has a double-edge, unmarked blade that may have originated from a file. What is somewhat interesting about this knife - at least to me - is where it came from. It came from the estate of Aurtha Leonard LeVan, who joined the Marines two months prior to his 18th birthday. The parent consent letter is shown below. He was immediately shipped to Guadalcanal for combat training, which lasted from August 1944 until April 1945. He then shipped from Guadalcanal to Okinawa and participated in action against the enemy from April 1, 1945 until June 21, 1945. He was a light machine gun crewman, with the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle. Okinawa appears to be the only combat he participated in and afterwards he was stationed in Tsingtao, China, helping overseeing the surrender of Japanese forces. He returned to the States in April 1946 and was discharged on May 5th.

Collectors of the period copy Stone knives have always wondered where and who made some of these knives. The path of this soldier may narrow down one possible origin. According to his deployment and service records, he only boarded four ships during his two year span in the USMC. Two of these ships, the USS General C.G. Morton (AP-138) and the USS H.W. Butner (AP-113) were troop transports to and from his home port of San Diego. The other two ships were the USS George Clymer (APA-27) and the USS Jerome County (LST-848). The USS George Clymer was an attack transport ship and the USS Jerome County was a tank landing ship. There is the possibility that one of these two ships may have had a foundry aboard and someone was making copies of the Stone knife.

 

Lot of great information about LeVan, but from what I know about US Navy ships, APs. APAs and LSTs did not have a foundry/forge capability.  No space would have been allocated for a foundry.  All such work was performed either ashore or on support/repair ships, e.g., ADs (Destroyer Tenders), Repair Ships (ARs) or Battle Damage Repair Ships (ARBs).

 

The last category would be a more likely possibility - ARBs were converted LSTs that traveled in company with the Landing Forces to make repairs to ships and boats of the Landing Forces.  These ships MIGHT have had a foundry capability.  I still lean toward the ADs or ARs,



#27 Trinity

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 08:58 AM

zzyzzogeton,
Thanks for the information on ship capabilities. I was hoping someone would have some knowledge on whether or not any of those ships contained internal foundries. Because the soldier essentially only boarded a few ships, I was hoping to isolate which one could have possibly been the source of the knife. However, even if this information could be found, it doesnt prove where the knife was made. The soldier spent months training on Guadalcanal and then months fighting in Okinawa, before getting some R&R in Guam. Any of these locations could have been the source of this knife and this does not even take into account the possibility that the knife was purchased or received from another soldier, who had acquired it elsewhere. As with most theater knives, it is virtually impossible to prove who or where the knife was made.

#28 siclfde

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 01:30 PM

Last two images from the last post's knife. belonging to member Tony-in-NH.
 
Best,
 
V/r Lance

The blade on this knife is most likely taken from an Earnst Bros Australian dagger.  You can tell by the distinctive half moon missing from ea side of the ricasso.  Earnst Bros immigrated to Australia before the war.  It is thought their dagger shape was based on the German dagger.  Gives a lot of credence to this knife being made in Australia.



#29 Trinity

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Posted 29 March 2019 - 06:41 PM

For many of us, we can easily spot examples of some of the iconic custom knives we collect, but we rarely see period photos of the makers of these knives. Here is a photo of Eugene W. Stone, maker of the unique aluminum skull-head knuckle knife. This picture was taken in 1940, when Stone had joined the USN at age nineteen. Approximately two years later he was making his knives aboard the USS Holland.

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