Misc weapons: Major Von Tempskys Forest Rangers knife?

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Misc weapons: Major Von Tempskys Forest Rangers knife?

Postby A.Roads » 09 May 2010 11:25

Hi all,
I am posting this here to see if anyone can point to a potential expert on this subject or whether anyone knows of another example like this. Von Tempsky's Company of Forest Rangers hold a legendary position in New Zealands history and if this knife is original, which it probably is, then it is an extremely valuable & rare item. It has every appearance of being a century & half old, smith made with materials on hand - buggy spring steel & harness leather, the letters are stamped without too much care for straightness as could be understood in the circumstances of its maanufacture & it has been well used. No authenticated example exists of these knives to my knowledge. My understanding is that this particluar example was first encountered by its current owner in about 1965, the then owner had held it since about 1910, obtaining it as an old knife. A professional blacksmith has examined it closely & confirms that it is a smith made item - hopefully another example may be known of to compare it with? Can any of the Forum's members help here? A.Roads

The following edited info is from an internet site:

Gustavus Ferdinand von Tempsky, adventurer, soldier and artist, learned the benefits of bowie knife fighting in California while working in hte gold fields. He possessed a fine knife of American manufacture for his own use, but had about 30 bowie knives made to his personal design by a cutler of Shortland St, Auckland. These were issued to the men of No. 2 Company, New Zealand Forest Rangers, under Major von Tempsky's command. The Forest Rangers were an elite corps of bush-roving scouts employed by the colonial government between August 1863 and October 1867 during the New Zealand Wars. The knives were made from waggon spring steel - being one of the few sources of suitable steel available to blacksmiths in Auckland in 1863. Von Tempsky, an experienced fighter, taught his men to use the bowie knife in one-on-one armed combat. The knife was used to fend off an opponent's attacking blows while a revolver was used in the other hand. The big knives were also used to clear tracks through bush, dig defensive positions, cut fire wood and for general use about camp. A 1900 inerview with John Toovey, an ex Forest Ranger corporal, appeared in a 1935 issue of The New Zealand Railways Magazine: He had a farm near Te Awamutu. Customarily, out on the farm and in the bush, he wore a sheath-knife on his belt. The knife was a veteran like himself. It had been nine or ten inches long of blade, but the point had been broken off, and he re-ground and pointed it; even then it was like a young bayonet. He told its story, "That's one of old Von's bowie knives," he said. "He had a lot made for us at a blacksmith's in Auckland when the Forest Rangers were divided into two companies and he had command of me. "You know, old Von was a terror with the bowie knife. He had learned to use it in Mexico and Central America. Certainly it came in handy in the bush, and as we had no bayonets it was comforting to know you had a good sticker on your hip for a scrimmage. "I've had that knife more than thirty years. See how it's worn down. I've used it for all sorts of jobs, hacking bush tracks, pig-sticking, skinning sheep, cutting up my tobacco and my loaf of bread. It'll last my day, my boy!"

Below is the knife:
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A.Roads
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Re: Major Von Tempskys Forest Rangers - Knife

Postby QSVC » 12 May 2010 07:17

A nice pick up Adrian, well done......It'd certainly be unique and for such an item I think survivability of it let alone similar items would be minimal.

Might see you yet in October.

Robert
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Re: Major Von Tempskys Forest Rangers - Knife

Postby A.Roads » 23 May 2010 06:23

Hi Robert, it not actually mine - I've posted it for a friend.

I would be nice to see you guys at Taminick this year - a long way to travel though I know.
Regards, Adrian.
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Re: Misc weapons: Major Von Tempskys Forest Rangers knife?

Postby Cilurnum » 16 Jul 2011 20:33

I was just browsing this site with a view to searching for a lost Col Sgt second great grandfather. Oddly, the brother in law of my second gt grandfather served with Von Tempsky and is mentioned in a book about him Forest Rangers: “A History of the Forest Rangers during the New Zealand Wars” Richard Stowers 1996, Hamilton. He was awarded a medal and of course, I've not found it. He was also granted some land. I thought I would pass on the information about the book in case any one is interested in reading about Von Tempsky.
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Re: Misc weapons: Major Von Tempskys Forest Rangers knife?

Postby HPFlashman » 04 Aug 2011 19:21

Check out this tread on the british blades forum: http://www.britishblades.com/forums/showthread.php?110383-english-dirk&highlight=tempsky, theres a fellow in NZ, who have made a "typical" Forest Ranger knife, with the research to go with it, he is most helpful and approcable and may point you in the right direction. :)
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Re: Misc weapons: Major Von Tempskys Forest Rangers knife?

Postby Cilurnum » 06 Aug 2011 15:06

Administration tools have alerted me to this post. I am responding to confirm that I am following this thread. If any one should by chance come across the names Alexander Sherret and James Sherret, I would be pleased if you should be able to let me know. I have the New Zealand War Department documentation relating to the second great uncle who fought with Von Tempsky and as to the book in which his name appears.

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Re: Misc weapons: Major Von Tempskys Forest Rangers knife?

Postby Scona » 06 Aug 2011 16:23

On the subject of Victorian knives, International Military Antiques (IMA) has one listed for sale.
http://www.ima-usa.com/british-victoria ... s-son.html

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Re: Misc weapons: Major Von Tempskys Forest Rangers knife?

Postby AlanD » 21 Aug 2011 07:05

Have you tried contacting the National Army Museum in Waiouru NZ? They have a display featuring Von Tempsky, which includes a knife.

http://www.armymuseum.co.nz

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AlanD
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Re: Misc weapons: Major Von Tempskys Forest Rangers knife?

Postby Cilurnum » 21 Aug 2011 11:19

AlanD wrote:Have you tried contacting the National Army Museum in Waiouru NZ? They have a display featuring Von Tempsky, which includes a knife.

http://www.armymuseum.co.nz

Regards
AlanD
Sydney


Alan: Many thanks for this reference. I have bookmarked the link and will check it out.

Cilurnum :D
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Re: Misc weapons: Major Von Tempskys Forest Rangers knife?

Postby MarkMcM » 07 Sep 2011 13:34

Svord currently makes a copy:

http://www.svord.com/pages/catalog/CK-VTB.htm

Not sure how 'accurate' this copy is, though.
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