The author (left) holds his dad’s World War II Warther Commando Knife in the Warther knife shop in Dover, Ohio. At right is knifemaker Dale Warther, grandson of Ernest Warther. Dale passed away in 2010. (photo courtesy of Gene Englehart)
Editor’s note: On page 114 of the December BLADE®, we ran the story “Ed’s Dad’s WWII Ek” about the knife BLADE field editor Ed Fowler’s dad carried during the Second World War. Along with the story we asked readers to send us pictures and information about their dads’ military knives. It didn’t take long for reader Gene Englehart to supply the following.
My father, Orville Englehart of Paw Paw, Illinois, spent four years in the Navy as a chief petty officer during World War II. He was stationed stateside, training aircraft mechanics in Michigan, Florida and Oklahoma.
I believe it was when he was stationed in Michigan that he ordered a Commando Knife from Ernest Warther in Dover, Ohio. After Dad got the knife, he kept it in the original box and, as far as I know, never used it. It has a 7-inch blade with his name and serial number engraved on it.
Ever since I was a little kid the knife fascinated me, and I was forbidden to touch it. In 2009, I took it with me on a trip East that included a visit to the Warther Museum and workshop in Dover. I had the good fortune to meet Ernest’s grandson, Dale, and show him the knife. He told me the copper in the sheath came from a local sheriff who had confiscated it from a moonshine still. The brass came from the kick plates on the men’s room door at the local high school. Ernest’s son Dave took it home for the war effort. Ernest made only about 1100 of these knives and sold them for about $15 apiece, which is probably less than they cost him to make.
Ernest was a genius and an incredibly skilled carver and craftsman. Dale was very gracious to me the day I visited his shop, and I was very sad to hear of his passing about a year later.
I consider Dad’s Warther Commando knife to be a family heirloom now.
Do you have your dad’s knife or any knife used by any family member—including you—while in the service? Send a photograph or photographs of it and/or of you or the family member holding it, any information/anecdotes about the knife and its use by the family member who owned/carried it, along with the knife’s specs—brand/maker, model, overall length, your family member’s name, rank and branch/years/theater of service, etc.—to BLADE, c/o “Knives Of Heroes,” 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990. If digital, the image(s) must be at least 600 K. E-mail it/them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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