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Thread: Half basket hilt

  1. #1

    Half basket hilt

    A Scottish half basket hilt in iron of C. J. Mitchels patent, a double edged blade c 90 cm long with 2 fullers on each side marked HENRY WILKENSON PALL MALL LONDON on one side of the ricasso and star marked HW and the number 16886, wooden scabbard wrapped in black leather with three iron mounts. The sword was bought by B. H. Hawkins the 24th of June 1870 according to the factory letter dated 20th november 1964.
    Do any of you have information on this gentelman, this sword or C. J. Mitchels patent?
    All photos: Bruun Rasmussen
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  2. #2
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    It looks like a Scottish basket hilted blade mated to a 1788 cavalry officers guard and a made up grip and pommel.
    Can you post a photo of the Wilkinson proof page? Slotted guards ceased to be made pre 1800.

  3. #3
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    This sword is on pg.17 of Robert Wilkinson Latham's "Wilkinson Sword Patterns an Blade Rubs." Essentially Hawkins, an officer in the Bombay Light Cavalry, was a friend of C.J.Mitchell, himself a friend of John Latham of the Wilkinson company.
    Mike

  4. #4
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    Great work Mike !! I'm sure this is a special sword and you confirmed this. The connections are some of the best.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeShowers View Post
    This sword is on pg.17 of Robert Wilkinson Latham's "Wilkinson Sword Patterns an Blade Rubs." Essentially Hawkins, an officer in the Bombay Light Cavalry, was a friend of C.J.Mitchell, himself a friend of John Latham of the Wilkinson company.
    Mike
    Hi Mike,

    Which Bombay regiment was Hawkins with?

    Gordon

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeShowers View Post
    This sword is on pg.17 of Robert Wilkinson Latham's "Wilkinson Sword Patterns an Blade Rubs." Essentially Hawkins, an officer in the Bombay Light Cavalry, was a friend of C.J.Mitchell, himself a friend of John Latham of the Wilkinson company.
    Mike
    Thank you for this, Mike! I dont have that book, alas. Is there any more information on this sword?
    Sincerley Lars Mamen
    Last edited by Lars Mamen; 01-09-2018 at 10:19 PM.

  7. #7
    Some more photos:Name:  7AF07B45-E0AA-4DC2-83C2-0EE026E2F9DF.jpg
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    Lars

  8. #8
    Is this hilt stamped "CJ Mitchells patent"?
    I find it very interesting that someone would resurrect a hilt design that was over 70 years old and patent it!

    --ElJay

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gordon byrne View Post
    Hi Mike,

    Which Bombay regiment was Hawkins with?

    Gordon
    That is all the regimental information the book provides. Squinting at the small scan of the proof stub it looks like it says "Capt Hawkins B.L.C." so the regimental assertion is Robert W-L's, unless there is more information that isn't included in the book, or something on the proof stub I'm unable to make out.
    Mike
    Last edited by MikeShowers; 01-09-2018 at 06:50 AM.

  10. #10
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    Hi Mike and Happy New Year!

    I believe it is actually B.S.C. as oppossed to B.L.C. which would fit with the Bombay Staff Corp.

    Of course I stand to be corrected

  11. #11
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    If that is the case I believe the owner might be Croft Augustus Charles Hawkins...but seeing a better version of the Proof Page might help?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeShowers View Post
    That is all the regimental information the book provides. Squinting at the small scan of the proof stub it looks like it says "Capt Hawkins B.L.C." so the regimental assertion is Robert W-L's, unless there is more information that isn't included in the book, or something on the proof stub I'm unable to make out.
    Mike
    I had not seen the proof information, and given that the writing on some of these proof records is not always easy to read, interpretation could be given as; BLC or BSC, given that the title Bengal Light Cavalry does not apply, the next or what might seem to be obvious is Bombay Light Cavalry however, if we consider BSC, it then gives the two possible meanings of Bengal Staff Corps and Bombay Staff Corps.

    Bengal Staff Corps - Captain Francis Dempster Hawkins - 2nd -in - Command 4th Punjab Cavalry. (Certainly a possible candidate for an unusual sword)

    Bengal Staff Corps - Captain Francis Kellett Hawkins - 32nd Bengal Native Infantry.

    Bombay Staff Corps - Captain Hawkins , Cantonment Magistrate Aden (his Corps 23rd Bombay Native Infantry) A former East India Company Officer - Season of Appointment 1851 - He ranked as Lieutenant in the regiment 15th November 1853;Captain, Bombay Staff Corps 30th April 1860.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by E.B. Erickson View Post
    Is this hilt stamped "CJ Mitchells patent"?
    I find it very interesting that someone would resurrect a hilt design that was over 70 years old and patent it!

    --ElJay
    My own opinion is that the proof information states: C J Mitchells Pattern, not Patent, if you look carefully you can see the tt of Pattern, with the cross over both of the t letters.

    The more I think about who the possible owner may have been, Hawkins of the 4th Punjab Cavalry is very likely; he died at Kohat 25th July 1871.
    And thinking further on the subject

  14. #14
    This is a photo of a letter from Wilkinson, its tell us this:
    «Sword No 16,886 a Claymore, is a special Highland half basket hilted sword ( C.J. Mitchels pattern) wiht scarlet hilt lining and Scabbard. The sword was sold to Captain B.H. Hawkins on the 24th June 1870.»
    The basket lining is missing.
    Thanks for information.
    Lars
    Name:  3771FCE2-590D-4BE0-86F5-CA26D03D3E03.jpg
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Lars Mamen View Post
    This is a photo of a letter from Wilkinson, its tell us this:
    «Sword No 16,886 a Claymore, is a special Highland half basket hilted sword ( C.J. Mitchels pattern) wiht scarlet hilt lining and Scabbard. The sword was sold to Captain B.H. Hawkins on the 24th June 1870.»
    The basket lining is missing.
    Thanks for information.
    Lars
    Name:  3771FCE2-590D-4BE0-86F5-CA26D03D3E03.jpg
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Size:  97.3 KBName:  EDF54659-2FAC-4AF8-8F32-516E5E941109.jpg
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    Hi Lars, Whilst I respectfully understand what the 1964 Wilkinson Sword Limited letter states, the proof information was given an interpretation of what the writer thought it said, and this occurred ninety-four years after the proof details were written.

    I have given my interpretation based on my reading of the proof information, which in my opinion says the sword was sold to "Captain Hawkins BSC - C. J. Mitchell Esq. Friend" . As far as I can see there is no mention of the initials H. B., therefore the identification of the original purchaser was a matter of personal opinion, and we have to consider that personal opinions are not always correct, no matter who gave the opinion (and I include myself as well).

    However, in terms of my suggestion that the original purchaser was F. D. Hawkins, I have utilised information from the Army Lists that was current at the 30th December 1870, at which time F. D. Hawkins was on Furlough, and could have picked up the sword.

    In my opinion the length of the blade is indicative of mounted use, officers of the Punjab Frontier Force are known to have moved outside the box in terms of the type of swords they selected (in terms of hilt or blade type or both); F.D Hawkins had a fair amount of active service, which in itself may have influenced his choice of hilt/blade combination. The chequered Walnut grip is characteristic of a number of Indian Army Cavalry swords, both special order and otherwise; the scabbard is typically of Indian style for the period, and both frogs and slings were in vogue. The position of 2nd-in-command of a regiment was a relatively important, F.D. Hawkins was a BSC (Bengal Staff Corps) Captain in 1870, and he died in 1871 which may account for the relatively fine condition of the sword.

  16. #16
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    It could very well be B.S.C. At a quick glance it could be mistaken for a BH, which may explain the interpretation in the 1964 Wilkinson letter. However, there is a period between each letter so it has to be B.S.C or B.L.C.
    Mike

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeShowers View Post
    It could very well be B.S.C. At a quick glance it could be mistaken for a BH, which may explain the interpretation in the 1964 Wilkinson letter. However, there is a period between each letter so it has to be B.S.C or B.L.C.
    Mike
    Mike,

    The problem I have with the initials B.H. is the fact that there is nobody in the 1871 List (corrected to 30th December 1870) by the name of Hawkins with those initials; in particular there's nobody in any one of the three regiments of Bombay Light Cavalry, and as far as I can see, there's only one Captain by the name of Hawkins in the Bombay Staff Corps, and as Jordan previously mentioned, he was Croft Augustus Charles Hawkins.
    Last edited by gordon byrne; 01-09-2018 at 11:38 PM. Reason: Typo

  18. #18
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    I like the possibility of F.D. Hawkins. That large cavalry length blade would seem to fit in with his type of service.

  19. #19
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    Well done Gordon, you are correct again!

    Sword is mentioned in his will
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  20. #20
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    Confirmed the sword (can only be this Basket Hilt) sent to his family was by Wilkinson as well (and he had a few swords!):
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by JordanPL View Post
    Well done Gordon, you are correct again!

    Sword is mentioned in his will
    Hi Jordan,

    When you say his will, am I correct in assuming that you are referring to F. D. Hawkins of the 4th Punjab Cavalry?

  22. #22
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    Yup, sorry should have been clearer

  23. #23
    Thank you for this Jordan! I am impressed. The heir of captain Hawkin was miss Hawkin, acording to Bruun Rasmussen: « Provenance: Carl U. Buch who received it from his hunting companion Higo Hasselbach. Before that in the possession of Altant Løøf, before that by Miss Hawkins, adopted daughter of Frederik Wilhilm Dannemand, Count and illegitimate son of king Frederik VI of Denmark»
    Where did you find these sources? Was the value of the sword in 1871 L 30 or maybe 30 Guineas?
    Sincerely Lars
    Last edited by Lars Mamen; 01-10-2018 at 09:30 PM.

  24. #24
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    Hi Lars

    I sent you a private message so I can send you the details of the will, inventory etc....

    Not sure if any of the messages have gone through, but if you still want them, please message me your email privately.

    Cheers
    Jordan

  25. #25
    Hi folks. Here is a picture of the proof book from Wilkinson.
    LarsName:  8D2DE69F-0F94-47B3-AE24-998D9E526328.jpg
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    Last edited by Lars Mamen; 02-18-2018 at 09:22 AM.

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