Martin Cook is co-author of the “British Military Clasp Knives 1905 – 1939” Collector Note and a collaborator on “British Military Clasp Knives of the Boer War” and “British Private Purchase Military Clasp Knives” Collector Notes.

I live in the North of England and from being a teenager my hobby has always been collecting and researching military edged weapons. I started collecting over 50 years ago, spending my pocket money on bayonets, which were then quite common in local second hand shops. Later I went to militaria fairs and if I didn’t find a bayonet I wanted I would buy a military knife, or two. So my interest in clasp knives began, and has been growing steadily over the years, as has my collection.

I retired from work as a Police Inspector over 12 years ago, and so I have much more time to devote to my hobby. My main focus has changed to collecting and researching military knives, in particular clasp knives and WW1 trench knives. I find its quite exciting to hunt down a rare knife, or even better one which has not been recorded anywhere before – and they are out there!

Unsurprisingly, I also collect books on edged weapons and have amassed a comprehensive library over the years. Unlike bayonets, there are not many books on military clasp knives. Ron Flook’s 1999 publication ‘British & Commonwealth Military Knives’ being the essential reference work for me.

In the last decade I have also compiled a large digital ‘military knife database’ of related topics and photos, which is invaluable for my collecting and on-going research. I am certain these new ‘CASK Collector Notes’ by Lawrie Wilson will go a long way to filling a huge gap in the published material on folding knives.

It has been very enjoyable becoming involved with Lawrie and along the way making new friends who have similar interests. I really do appreciate us sharing our collections, thoughts and research. Under Lawrie’s supervision we have catalogued and researched our knives and discovered a lot of unpublished information. You will find photos of many new and rare knives in these Notes. I congratulate Lawrie on his achievement with this project.

These days I do most of my knife hunting online. The UK is a great place to find knives, but I have bought knives from collectors and dealers all around the world. However, I still check out second hand shops. Sometimes a rare knife is hiding there just waiting to be found.

Martin Cook
July 2022