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Thread: 1899 Sword, looking for regiment

  1. #1
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    1899 Sword, looking for regiment

    Hi all,

    I have a 1899 pat British cavalry sword (short version) that I am trying to find the regiment for. Any help or pointers where to look would be great, as so far I haven't been able to find on the internet a list of British regiments with their identifying markings. I have the book "Swords of the British Army" on my wishlist for Christmas but I am wondering if there is anything I can find on the internet or any advice here?
    Thanks in advance!




    Kings own regiment, as per the crowns?


    Made in Enfield with proof stamp


    Made in 1899.
    O.T.C = Officer training corps?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by william.m View Post
    I have a 1899 pat British cavalry sword (short version) that I am trying to find the regiment for. Any help or pointers where to look would be great, as so far I haven't been able to find on the internet a list of British regiments with their identifying markings. I have the book "Swords of the British Army" on my wishlist for Christmas but I am wondering if there is anything I can find on the internet or any advice here?
    Hi William,

    Yes, Cambridge University Officer Training Corps: sword made in 1901 at Enfield and inspected by "Inspector 54" (whoever that was). However, it probably went to a regular cavalry unit originally before going to the OTC - sometimes there are regimental stamps on the inside of the bowl guard (just above where your thumb would go if holding the sword at the point).

    The P1899 wasn't well liked, so it's service life was short - replaced by the P1908 when that was introduced, but the old one was still OK for training and drill purposes...just no use for fighting!

    John
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  3. #3
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    The sword is in very good shape, the bowl guards being weak tended to bend and dent easily.
    Great that the leather washer is present.

    PM sent about the sword book with link.

  4. #4
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    My gratitude to both of you!! Thanks John, I don't think I would had managed to find that information without you, it is very much appreciated. Now I know what to look for with regards to inspectors identifying themselves with numbered stamps.

    I have now bought the book "Swords of the British army", which should be here tomorrow, whoohoo! :-D

    Cheers guys!

  5. #5
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    Actually, looking more carefully, I think inspector 54 examined the sword during a refurbish or refit stage (swords were periodically returned for checking and testing, or when they ceased being used by regular units and prior to being reissued to militia or support corps). The original Enfield inspector mark is probably the one above the "X" of the bend test, maybe a 50 or 60?

    The scabbard looks like it was issued to the Cambridge OTC in September 1909 (the "9/09" stamps look contemporary with the unit marks), which would fit with it having been superseded in front-line use a year earlier by the P1908.

    Swords of the British Army is a great investment - you won't regret it!

    John
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  6. #6
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    Oh wow, quite a bit of history with the sword changing hands it seems. Its great that this is all tracable through the numerous stamps on the sword and scabbard. Thats really interesting to know, thanks John! The book should be arriving tomorrow as I have had the dispatch email come through. (Thanks to Will for the info )

    Photo of the whole sword


    What a huge grip! They must have worn really quite massive gloves.


    Something I thought about while dry handling the sword. It has a really wierd feel as it is a fairly heafty sword but the point of balance is only two inches or so, which makes for pretty awkward handling for a cavalry sword. Looking at the grip I think that during drills/combat people may have tended to prefer holding the sword in the bottom half of the grip. I base this on the observation that firstly the leather is much more worn in the bottom section, which matches the size of my hand. Also while holding the sword in this grip you gain the much needed length (this is the short version of the sword) and of course you get the forward point of balance, which would help no end with the chop.
    Last edited by william.m; 09-13-2012 at 02:15 PM.

  7. #7
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    I would bet that something was wrapped around that rear portion of the grip, possibly held moisture and slid around a bit therefore deteriorating the leather grip in that rear half.
    Has a good sword knot.

  8. #8
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    One of the reported problems with the P1899 was that the grip was basically cylindrical in section, which enabled the sword to twist quite significantly in the hand during action. No use whacking an opponent with the flat of the blade! Robson is very good on the history of the P1882, P1885, P1890 and P1899 troopers' swords, but I won't spoil your enjoyment of the book!

    John
    "If I can't be a good example to others, at least let me be a horrible warning".

  9. #9
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    By this date they were mostly just 'giving point' in training, with the hand down near the pommel and the thumb extended up the back. This long grip was specifically designed for that, as the 1885/90 grip was a bit short and the thumb gets rammed into the guard.

  10. #10
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    here is the specification fro the 1899 Sword dated 25th November 1899 as sent to Mole from Inspection at Sparkbrook, Birmingham.

    One cannot help but notice that the powers that be cannot resist their old habit of converting one sword into another. Here the 1899 sword is a conversion from the 1890 pattern!
    AND the scabbard is a conversion from the 1885 Long Mk II scabbard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What one can describe as a "BITZA" (Bit of this and a bit of that!)

    Your sword was possibly re-inspected at RSAF Enfield in 1901 by the extra inspection stamps BUT as the only date on the blade could probably be the year of manufacture.
    Attached Images Attached Images   
    Last edited by Robert Wilkinson-Latham; 09-14-2012 at 01:43 AM.

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