With most midshipmen buying dirks for their service, this is a rarely found sword. It’s in good condition, with the blade firm in the hilt. The guard is excellent with some gilding remaining. All of the grip’s wire is intact but with some patches of shagreen loss. The folding section of the guard, with the owner’s name AG Riall engraved in it, functions perfectly. The overall length is 31 ½ inches (the blade is 27 inches long and 7/8 of an inch wide at the shoulder). Despite being smaller than the normal 1846 Pattern this has been made to the same standards and clearly was meant to be carried in anger. Its stiff blade is still fairly sharp to the final 7 inches and shows very, very faint etching. The retailer appears to be William Seagrove of Common Hard, Portsea.

Commander Arthur George Riall joined the Royal Navy in 1855 as a midshipman cadet and served in the Crimean War, the Pacific Station and the Second Opium War, taking part in the capture of Canton. His service included notable frigates and first-rate ships of the line at a time when the Royal Navy was transitioning from sail to steam. He served on their first wooden steam ship, their longest wooden ship ever built and their last wooden man of war; among others.
I have found out much about his service but there is still research to do. For more information about his interesting career, along with illustrations and photographs, please click here.


Over 18s only, please. More information available on request.

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