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Thread: 1910 Officers cavalry sword "Special"

  1. #51
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    Ben interesting info, hopefully it may linkup to later Bevilles.
    To answer Bradens assumption about blade sharpening/altering. The blade appears original in its unsharpened form with original polish to the blade. No grinding/filing or loss of polish is seen that would indicate any alteration.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Braden View Post
    We don't know the history of that 1910 sword - how many people might have used it and for what purposes. For all we know, it could have been blunt at one time and later sharpened. Also, it's a false assumption that sharp swords were never used for fencing. There are literally hundreds of accounts and notices of students fencing with sharp swords at German universities, and being proud of their scars; e.g., "every other student whom you meet at Berlin or any other German University has a more or less lacerated face, of which he feels very proud." (Medical and Surgical Reporter, Jan. 19, 1889.) And not to be sissified by the Germans, some students at Oxford and Cambridge engaged in such a "blood sport". Moreover, Burton (for one) had numerous scars on his body, and he didn't get them in any battles; he got them from sabre-fencing, and was quite proud of them as "red badges of courage".
    The schlager used for the mensurefechten is a very narrow-bladed implement and in the mensuren they wear head to foot protection that only exposes parts of the head and face. They are not allowed to thrust. They do not use pointed cavalry swords to run each other though the body with

  3. #53
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    For the record, duels were also conducted with sharp sabres in Italy and Hungary, however again these were sharp-edged but very light dueling swords, not cavalry swords. In Italy the sabres were not sharpened at the tip and they were not allowed to thrust.
    In this case we're looking at a sharp thrust-centric and pointed cavalry sword, not a dueling sabre or an epee de combat for the duel.

    So while it is true to state that sharp swords were used for duels and occasionally for certain types of fencing, this is not one of those swords. It's a cavalry sword which shows no signs of having been used for fencing (fencing swords get covered in scars within one match).

  4. #54
    Will says that the blade is unsharpened, and Matt says that it's sharpened! So which is it? In any case, solving this mystery may be impossible.

  5. #55
    P.S. If the blade is unsharpened and shows no sign of wear, then either it wasn't used as intended or it was intended as a dress sword. The fancywork on the blade suggests a dress sword. But dress for what and for whom? If Dr. Beville was the owner, I can find no connection with the military, since military surgeons were usually armed. But there may have been another connection. However, is it absolutely certain that the initials are FWB rather than FGB? I previously mentioned Maj. F. G. Beville of the Indian Army, who was active in 1910; and oddly enough, in an earlier source, he is mentioned as "Captain F. W. Beville"! I can't see mistaking a G for a W; but who knows? Also, I can't find that FGB was also FWGB or FGWB. Phew!
    Last edited by L. Braden; 09-05-2017 at 04:26 PM.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Braden View Post
    Will says that the blade is unsharpened, and Matt says that it's sharpened! So which is it? In any case, solving this mystery may be impossible.
    It is unsharpened on the edge, but it has a point. You can't fence with a sword that has a point without running the fencing partner through - even unsharpened swords are pointy enough to stab someone
    Fencing swords have rounded or nail-head ends and the sharp swords used for duels were schlagers or epees de combat rather than cavalry swords.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Braden View Post
    The fancywork on the blade suggests a dress sword.
    This is a common misconception actually - normal officers' fighting swords were usually etched on their blades and most officers did not have separate 'dress' and 'fighting' swords. They just had one sword which fulfilled both functions. Piquet (light) weight swords intended primarily for parade were sometimes ordered as dress swords, to be more comfortable to wear, but this is a full weight fighting sword.

    I previously mentioned Maj. F. G. Beville of the Indian Army, who was active in 1910; and oddly enough, in an earlier source, he is mentioned as "Captain F. W. Beville"! I can't see mistaking a G for a W; but who knows? Also, I can't find that FGB was also FWGB or FGWB. Phew!
    This Beville seems like a very good lead to me! I am also unconvinced that the initials are FWB and Wilkinson records are sometimes inaccurate in spelling unfortunately.

  8. #58
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    Just found a (possibly) different Captain F W Beville, noted in 1896 as the Political Agent and Consul in Muscat, Oman, so a military man working in a civilian capacity. Still find it odd that the 'Regiment' space on the ledger is blank...

  9. #59
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    I struggled with the initials at first so I got my crayons out.

    Is this what people are seeing?

    F
    W
    B

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  10. #60
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    James that's what we see for his initials. Matt you are correct the sword though unsharpened has a very capable point for thrusting.

  11. #61
    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Bevan View Post
    Just found a (possibly) different Captain F W Beville, noted in 1896 as the Political Agent and Consul in Muscat, Oman, so a military man working in a civilian capacity. Still find it odd that the 'Regiment' space on the ledger is blank...
    As I said before, he is the same as "Captain F. G. Beville". The W is a misprint in this unofficial source. Here is one of several official sources: Administration Report on the Persian Gulf Political Residency, 1898: "Captain F. G. Beville had charge of the office of Political Agent and Consul" and "Maskat Trade Report for the Year 1896-97 written by Captain Francis Granville Beville, Political Agent."

  12. #62
    If all of you are absolutely certain that the initials are FWB, then (unless the record entry is totally incorrect) there is only one person who could have ordered that sword, and that's Frederick Wells Beville, because there was no other FWBevile/Bevil/Bevill/Beville in or out of the service at that time; and so I'll leave it to you either to figure out why he would have ordered such a sword or to determine who really did order that sword if the record is inaccurate.

  13. #63
    Correction: "If SOME of you ..."
    Last edited by L. Braden; 09-07-2017 at 12:34 PM.

  14. #64
    Having now visited Edinburgh Castle (well worth a visit – superb sword collections), I can confirm that the hilt of the sword carried by Douglas Haig, as depicted on his famous statue, is quite definitely the Special Pattern of the 7th Queen’s Own Hussars containing their regimental insignia. It has neither a Scroll Guard nor the ‘Extended 2nd Honeysuckle Guard’ as often claimed. Since the statue appears to be accurate in every detail, it is inconceivable that the sword displayed is anything other than a true depiction of that which Haig actually carried.

    The statue was erected in 1923 so there is no definite proof that this Special Pattern is that which he used as a serving officer in the 7th (1885 to 1901) but this seems very probable. Certainly he would have worn it at later ceremonial occasions.

    Since the sword of Captain Alexander Frederic Aime Imbert-Terry (7th Hussars) is confirmed as being of ‘special pattern’, there are now two swords of this design and hopefully a number of others as yet unknown.
    When Imbert-Terry joined the regiment as 2nd Lieutenant in 1893, Haig was already Captain and it might be that a Special Pattern was already in existence at that point.
    As indicated in an earlier post, other examples are known to have copied the 7th Hussars grip (and possibly blade) but these use the more conventional 2nd Honeysuckle or Scroll guards.

    Both Esme Stuart Erskine Harrison (11th Hussars) and Chas James Briggs (1st Dragoon Guards) served in either India or South Africa and it would appear that 7th Hussars style grips and purely thrusting blades were popular with officers likely to see action. There must be more examples around, if not to the 7th Hussars then to other like minded regiments.

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  15. #65
    Hi John,

    The detail in the statue is fantastic, and surely confirms the type of hilt, and the existence of more than one sword with this special hilt and type of blade.

  16. #66
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    As said, superb detail, but no scabbard supporter attached to the frog stud, surely improperly dressed Field -Marshal, what what!

  17. #67
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    John thank-you for posting the photos of Haigs" statue, much appreciated. I see it was well worthwhile having your sword refinished and for future generations to enjoy.
    I plan on Visiting Scotland in two years hopefully, would love to see the statue and many castles, museums, regimental and others.
    I have no idea where to start but would like to rent a small car if it's feasible? I've never been to my ancestors home, my great grandfather came to Canada in the 1850's if memory serves me. Grandfather in the 48th Highlanders (Toronto) from 1902-1908 or 9. Luckily bought a 48th marked sergeants sword marked 48/1 on the inner guard, the 1897p with 1892 plain blade with insp. marks. He could well have worn it being a sergt himself.

    To get back on topic has anyone found a connection between sword owners with this pattern of sword?

  18. #68
    Hi Will, Don't wait 2 years. Edinburgh castle is an essential visit. The castle, museums, sword collections etc. etc. are not to be missed and well worth the effort. If you come in summer be sure to pre book your entrance ticket on line and so avoid the 45 minutes delay at the gate. As a sword and militaria collector allow at least half a day. The history of the 7th Hussars style swords is a work in progress. So few of these swords have so far emerged that connections between owners are far from obvious. A few things might be relevant; Imbert-Terry, Haig, Briggs and Harrison were all officers who had seen real action in South Africa with the 7th Hussars, 1st Dragoon Guards, 6th Dragoons and 11th Hussars. I can only assume that that their experiences led to a mutual conviction of the effectiveness of a purely thrusting cavalry weapon, both in terms of hilt and blade design. How this was communicated between regiments and informed opinion at that time I can only guess. However it was clearly common and in existence at least as early as 1893 and well before it was formally considered in the Committees of 1903 and 1906. Imbert-Terry and Haig were both 7th Hussars. They don't seem to have served together but the the idea of a future 1908/1912 Pattern must have been common in the regiment. Imbert-Terry and Harrison were both involved with military intelligence (not at the same time but who knows what threads exist there?). We can only hope that more will emerge, but what seems evident to me is that the adoption of the 1908/1912 Patterns was the response to a groundswell of opinion from serving officers whose lives had been on the line and not simply a top down imposition from committee. That said, there was plenty of experience on those committees from the likes of Fox, Scobel and Hutton among others.

  19. #69
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    I'm sure the officers you mention John would know each other well. With travel then being horse or train, more time was spent being a guest at a regiment.
    I find it amazing how connected officers were within their families. Many of their sons, daughters married into other army families. Possibly more so with regiments in India.
    I find researching swords of officers you find these connections to the very top army leaders of the day. Formal mess dinners etc. brought them together, their social lives within the army being much more important.
    All their interactions were face to face, not online like today. It's becoming hard to imagine just what life was like in those times.

  20. #70
    Having just seen the explanation to the post "Where did the 2-10 November threads go to", I thought I would repost number 70 (happened to have a hard copy, never did trust the internet) in order to keep this thread alive.

    "I've come up with another probable family connection with respect to Douglas Haig and Alexander Frederick Aime Imbert- Terry. Haig's father, John Haig, owned Haig and Haig Whiskey Distillery (makers of a well known scotch). The 1914 Census shows Alexander and his father listed as Distillers at Aston house. Also Alexander was given Freedom of the City of London in The Company of Distillers in 1898 (despite the fact that he had been out of the country for several years with his regiment). He was still listed as the Master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers for 1918. All very strange since there is no reference to distillers in the family history, the family sold Aston House in 1912 and Alexander was disinherited by his father in 1912! Both Alexander and his famous son Antony were involved with Intelligence (Antony in particular with MI5) and this might explain anomalies in official records.

    Another query - Robert Wilkinson-Latham makes reference to a Wilkinson 'G Grip' in a post way back in 1908 when discussing the 7th Hussar Pattern but can offer no explanation. Could this actually be a reference to 'gryphonite', a material used for the early 1908 patterns and later replaced by 'dermatine'? (Dellar p. 172)."

    There is a further reference in Robert's 'Wilkinson Sword Patterns & Blade Rubs' with a picture of a 'Full regimental 2nd Dragoons - G grip Special 1910' showing the 7th Hussars style special grip. (Many thanks to Pooley Swords for their excellent service in supplying the book). Also the Wilkinson record for Major Harrison's 11th Hussars sword refers to the G Grip.

  21. #71
    It seems the 'gryphonite' reference is unlikely. I've now seen the Wilkinson register for Sword No. 39635 (to Col. C J Briggs, another of the known 7th Hussars type grips) where the blade is also described as a 'G Blade'. Could be a clerical error?

  22. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by John Sheard View Post
    It seems the 'gryphonite' reference is unlikely. I've now seen the Wilkinson register for Sword No. 39635 (to Col. C J Briggs, another of the known 7th Hussars type grips) where the blade is also described as a 'G Blade'. Could be a clerical error?
    Hi John,

    Do you have a copy of the proof information?

  23. #73
    Hi Gordon,

    Pretty sparse but this is what I have. If it's not clear, the description reads "G Blade, 7th Hussars Hilt (strictly speaking this ought to have been recorded as 7th Hussars Grip and pommel with extended 1896 Pattern Honeysuckle Guard), name and mark".
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  24. #74
    Hi Gordon,

    More information recently come to light following search of the Wilkinson Proof Records.

    32534 Lt. Fielden, 7th Hussars "German Grip"; 32981 No name, 7th Hussars "German Patt. Grip"; 35475 Capt. Badan, 21st Lancers "German Grip"; 35762 Col. Martin, 21st Lancers "German Grip"; 38642 Maj. Harrison,11th Hussars? "G Grip"; 39635 Col. Briggs, Kings Dragoon Guards "G Blade".

    I now have the Harrison sword in my collection (ex John Hart). The blade is bi-fullered as is that of Col. Briggs, from photographic evidence. The "G Blade" reference now makes sense since Wilkinsons were evidently using the "G" as shorthand for German for both grip and blade.

  25. #75
    Hi John,

    The plot thickens! I must say I have no explanation for "German Grip" (or blade for that matter) in terms of "style". Do you have an explanation? I do seem to have a vague impression that some European hilts (possibly German) do have a leather finger loop on the hilt. Just a pity Wilkinson didn't have a code book to decipher the abbreviated proof page notes.

    Regards,

    Gordon

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