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Thread: Wilkinson sword questions...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Australia
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    3

    Wilkinson sword questions...

    Hi All,

    Have been eagerly waiting to share this sword with you as I have a few questions. This is my first sword and first post to the forum. As I am still learning please feel free to gently correct any errors, or suggest helpful information about this sword. Being a novice I have a few questions/concerns I hope some experts here can help with.

    Firstly what I do know. It is a Numbered Wilkinson "26519", Naval Officers, 1827 pattern. The blade is a Claymore, with etchings, and two fullers.

    The information about the entry is below. Proved on May 1885. Sold to J. D. Hughes. I Have tried to find information on this man, and would greatly appreciate any information or areas to search for information on him. I found a few people matching his name of the period but doubt they were the sword owners.

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    Moving along to the sword qualities themselves. The guard appears to have a crown expected of 1827 pattern, however does not match the crown etched into the blade. Is this common or a rarity? Does this indicate that the current Hilt and Blade are a later pairing, and not original? I believe the etched crown is the "Small Diamond Crown" of Victoria as it looks the "Tudor/Kings crown" design rather than "Victorian" - someone told me it was the Widow crown, introduced from about 1860.

    Attachment 150459
    Attachment 150460

    The pommel also raised a few questions. I read here on this forum that the guard should meet in the mouth of the lion (not below the mouth) if before 1900. Can anyone comment on this? If original this dating of 1885 might prove to adjust that date, or conversely, might prove it was refitted - to which I then question the use of the older crown design. In addition (I edited the photo to get this slightly clearer) there is a "bump" atop the pummel (above lion ear), is this the tang simply too long for the hilt or further evidence to support a better working theory?)

    Attachment 150461

    Remaining photos.

    Dieu et mon Droit
    Honi soit qui mal y pense.
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    Folding, and scabbard. With the Henry Wilkinson Etching.
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    Proof with star and number proof.
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    Any help regarding the seemingly odd set up, track down the owners record etc very welcome, thank you for you time and allowing me to join this fine forum.

    Any requests for photos or more clarity etc. EDIT: I am not interested in selling. This is hopefully the start of a naval sword collection.

    Hope you found this interesting.

    Geoff
    Last edited by Geoff Atkinson; 03-01-2018 at 12:11 AM. Reason: Adding Edit Section.

  2. #2
    John D. Hughes was a surgeon in the Royal Navy, with successive titles of Surgeon, Staff Surgeon, Fleet Surgeon, and Surgeon Commander, according to The Navy List.
    Last edited by L. Braden; 03-01-2018 at 01:14 PM. Reason: correction

  3. #3
    P.S. In service from 28 March 1887 till at least 1919.

  4. #4
    "Surgeon Commander J. D. Hughes, C.B., has been placed on the retired list with the rank of Surgeon Captain." British Medical Journal, 1919.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Location
    Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by L. Braden View Post
    P.S. In service from 28 March 1887 till at least 1919.
    Interesting thank you, I had found records reflecting 1887 J. D. Hughes but given the sword was a full two years beforehand I had thought it might be a different person. Is it normal to have a few years off, is this normal?

    Thank you for the information. Is there now anyway for me to find the ships he served on etc?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Kingston area, Ontario Canada
    Posts
    3,012
    Purchasing a sword a couple years prior to service may be explained by the profession he was entering. Taking a few years of university to be a surgeon he knew where he was heading.
    As a "first" sword you have set the bar high. The sword is in excellent condition, only the gold gilt on the hilt seems weak. Having the gold gilt reapplied would make a stunning looking sword.
    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 03-02-2018 at 06:06 AM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff Atkinson View Post
    Interesting thank you, I had found records reflecting 1887 J. D. Hughes but given the sword was a full two years beforehand I had thought it might be a different person. Is it normal to have a few years off, is this normal?

    Thank you for the information. Is there now anyway for me to find the ships he served on etc?
    Glad to be of help!
    The navy lists indicate the numerous warships that he served aboard.
    An example of how inaccurate official records could be is that "28 Mar 87" was later corrected to "28 Feb 87".
    Cheers!

  8. #8
    John Douglas Hughes was born 2 April 1863 and appointed naval surgeon 28 February 1887, ex the National Archives UK listing. His service records are available from that source.
    I don't know how long it took at a given time to fill a sword order, but a prudent person who planned to enter the army or navy would order well in advance in order to be equipped on date of appointment, and so I agree with Will regarding this matter.
    Also, it appears that JDH may have come from a long line of naval surgeons; so family tradition may have been a predetermining factor.
    But so much for tradition when so many swords are dumped on the market, as in this case, without any info as to who owned them! But for Wilkinson, or some indication on the blades, we would never know!
    Last edited by L. Braden; 03-03-2018 at 11:01 AM.

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