The Randall British Commando along with its Johnson Randall marked sheath. As can be seen, it’s a pretty basic third pattern Fairbairn-Sykes dagger.
I remember hearing mention of a Randall British Commando Dagger many, many years ago. Initially I assumed that Randall was crafting their own version of Fairbairn-Sykes dagger. I like Randalls and I like F-S daggers, so I thought that would be a great knife. On the other hand, I knew that the Model 2 Fighting Stiletto had been designed as an improved version of the F-S for US GIs. Therefore, I couldn’t really figure out the appeal. Even if made by Randall, an F-S knife would have a handle that rolled in the hand and a tip that was prone to breakage. A Model 2 had eliminated these shortcomings. At that time, I didn’t have the money to indulge collector whims, so I concluded that I would buy a Model 2 rather than a Randall British Commando knife. Bear in mind, I had not seen a Randall B-C at that point.
My musings were all irrelevant, as I learned the next time I looked at a Randall catalog. The Randall British Commando was really just a Sheffield-made F-S stuck into a Randall holster. It made sense that US troops could order an F-S if they wanted one from Randall more easily than from a British source. And, British-made F-S daggers were still coming in the traditional F-S sheath of World War II design. In fact, those made by Wilkinson were still using up World War II sheaths for years after the war. Certainly, a quality sheath of the type normally supplied with Randall knives would make an F-S more appealing.
1954 to 1972
Since I collect Fairbairn-Sykes knives and have written two books on them, I have considered acquiring one of the Randall British Commando knives over the years but never really got around to it. The British Commando was initially cataloged by Randall in 1954 and they were still sold until 1972, so they were around for 18 years. I don’t have a Randall catalog quite that old to check the price, but I don’t remember the B-C being all that expensive. I found a source on the internet that bears out my memories. From the 1968 Randall catalog: chrome-plated B-Cs were $13.50 and black Parkerized ones $5. The sheath was $4.50. Today, the sheath accounts for most of the value of a Randall B-C.