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Thread: Edward VII 1897 infantry sword; help finding the original owner?

  1. #1
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    Edward VII 1897 infantry sword; help finding the original owner?

    Forum family.

    I have been searching for some years for an Edward VII 1897 and managed to buy it for a very reasonable price - it was rusty and dirty. Cleaned up well but I found what the original owner's initials. I would very much appreciate any assistance in discovering who might have ordered the sword. Collecting is fun but as a historian the story is better.

    In hope of help. Thanx
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    “The Australian Light Horse attack on Beersheba was the last important cavalry charge in history and the last to win a resounding victory that altered the course of a war." Alec Hepburn

  2. #2
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    Seems like the initials are EJD?
    And the horn emblem on the blade suggests Rifles or Light Infantry. Most swords date to the year of commission.
    Is this actually ERVII? The blade cypher looks like a doubled VR on this screen. Does the hilt show ERVII? If so, then the blade might be earlier.
    Once we've pinned down the date of the blade, roughly, it's time to hit Hart's Annual Army List (most available on Archive.org)
    Matt

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your reply Matt. I am a keen subscriber to your youtube site and in fact that is what got me collecting.

    I have taken a shot of the guard and IT is definitely Edward VII, and two better quality shots of the blade cypher and one other.

    Who is the maker? I looked up Withers British Swords and could not clearly identify a maker.

    Hope these help.
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    Last edited by George Charlton; 06-23-2018 at 03:08 AM.
    “The Australian Light Horse attack on Beersheba was the last important cavalry charge in history and the last to win a resounding victory that altered the course of a war." Alec Hepburn

  4. #4
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    Hi George,

    The proof slug suggests the manufacturer is Pillin, although Pillin also sourced blades from other suppliers according to other threads on this website.

    The serial number however also matches that of Pillin although trying to match a Pillin Serial number to a specific year seems to produce conflicting results.

    Here is a thread you might find of use:

    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...n-swords/page2

  5. #5
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    Thanks James,

    Matt wrote in an earlier entry that he owned a Pillin numbered 101016 which he was certain was Victorian and he was fairly certain dates to 1893.

    Matt suggested that the blade might be older and given a new guard.

    I enjoy the chase. Thanx.
    “The Australian Light Horse attack on Beersheba was the last important cavalry charge in history and the last to win a resounding victory that altered the course of a war." Alec Hepburn

  6. #6
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    The blade is definitely Pillin, yes. It could have been re-hilted - I can't honestly say what that cypher on the blade is, but to me it looked more like VR or VRI than EviiR. If the blade is Victorian, then of course that dates to 1892-1901. Given that the sword has an ERvii guard, the officer must have been in the Army for at least some time between 1901 and 1910. So I'd recommend having a look in Hart's, in the active index near the back, for years between 1901 and 1910. They should of course be an infantry officer, probably light infantry or perhaps initially in the Rifles before moving to line infantry.

  7. #7
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    Hi,

    Checked the 1902 and 1903 Army Lists and the only officer that comes close is Capt Edgar John Dent, 2nd Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers. Commissioned on 10 March 1883, promoted Captain 13 February, 1893 and went on the retired list in 1903. Can't find the Rifles link?
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    “The Australian Light Horse attack on Beersheba was the last important cavalry charge in history and the last to win a resounding victory that altered the course of a war." Alec Hepburn

  8. #8
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    Hi all,

    Finally retired and now have time to follow up on some of my collection. Whilst I can't explain the Rifles insignia, there is NO other entry on Hart's that comes close. Following the lead of others on this site, the maker is Pillin and the number places it into the early 1890's. I am supposing that he has replaced a sword that has seen serve in Soudan upon promotion. Blade markings do show clearly Queen Victoria. Once again, drawing conclusions, at the appropriate time, probably retirement, he has rehilted the sword to the current Edward VII.

    I enjoyed this. Followed through on every year of Hart's, used Ancestory, found some other references.


    Edward vii Infantry Officer’s P1897 Sword - Edgar John DENT

    Event Date Location Details

    Born Dec. 1863 Hendon, Middlesex Son of Robert Cecil Dent & Susan Huddleson
    Military College 10th Mar, 1883 Sandhurst, Mill Hill, London Graduates as a Lieutenant
    Posted 1884 Gibraltar into the 2nd Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers,
    Barracks June 1886 Aldershot 2nd Battalion returns from Gibraltar
    Embarked 19th July, 1888 Egypt Joins Suakin Field Force in Dec. 1888.
    Combat Service 1888 Soudan Fought at Gemaizah (Medal with Clasp & Khedive’s Star)
    Combat service 1889 Soudan Frontier Fought at Toski (Mentioned in Dispatches) (4th Class Medal of the Medjidie with Clasp.)
    WIA 30th April, 1889 Upper Nile River No details on Ancestory.
    Embarked 1890 India Barracked at Umbalia, Bengal
    1891 Meean Meer, Bengal
    Promoted 13th Feb.1893 Plymouth Promoted to Captain. Posted to 1st Battalion in the barracks at Plymouth
    & Posted
    Posted 1st Sept. 1894 Dumfries, Scotland Appointed Adjudant 3rd Battalion, Militia,
    Posted Jan. 1900 Sailed on the Braemar Castle 1st Battalion at the beginning of January 1900, and arrived at the Cape about
    & Embarked and Goorkha the 26th January
    Combat 1900 to 1902 South Africa 1st Battalion served in South Africa fighting the Boers. Taking part in the action at
    Service Paardeberg, it went on to fight in the Traansval and at the battle of Rustenberg in October
    1900 and in May the following year at Vlakfontein and Lambrechtfontein. Eligible for the
    Queen’s South Africa Medal and the King’s South Africa Medal with Paarderberg,
    Johannesburg, and Cape Colony clasps.
    Retired 1902 Chelsea, Middlesex Promoted Major upon retirement
    Died 18th Sept, 1906 Edinburgh

    George
    “The Australian Light Horse attack on Beersheba was the last important cavalry charge in history and the last to win a resounding victory that altered the course of a war." Alec Hepburn

  9. #9
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    He had time to re hilt this sword while serving at the end of his career, Queen Victoria died 1901 and he retiring in 1903 with Edward 7th as King..
    Unlikely he would pay the £ to re hilt it in retirement.
    At this time in history there may still be photos of him existing most likely from Boer War period.

  10. #10
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    Hi Will,

    I looked. Nothing. I can only surmise it may have been done for him upon retirement in 1902. I have searched EVERYTHING. The initials ONLY relate to a serving officer in the age of Victoria, who served into Edward VII. All of the other options were artillery, or cavalry, or got out before ER VII.

    I am looking forward to the arrival of the 1822 Cavalry sword.

    Thanx.
    “The Australian Light Horse attack on Beersheba was the last important cavalry charge in history and the last to win a resounding victory that altered the course of a war." Alec Hepburn

  11. #11
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    A good probability he could be pictured here:
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  12. #12
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    Great photo. Names would help. You are more than likely correct, although, I don't have a posting to Aldershot. He seems to have left the 3rd Militia to join the battalion upon embarkation. Probably brought a draft to bring 1st Battalion up to strength.

    Retirement in 1902 is from Ancestry.com and some family research. Hart's has it as 1903 and this makes the photo more likely. Left almost £4000 in the will.
    Last edited by George Charlton; 03-21-2020 at 09:30 AM. Reason: Added content

  13. #13
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    Just a thought but.. Could there be 4 initials in there... Could there be a C and an E overwritten using much of the same space?

  14. #14
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    3rd Kings Own Scottish Borderers
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  15. #15
    My 1897P VR cyphered on blade and guard is 100334, must be pretty close vintage.

  16. #16
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    James. Searched 1903 can't find an example of C D E and J in any order. Can't imagine he would put his initials on the sword and then not use all four.

  17. #17
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    I searched 1901 and same. I was just struck by the way the middle bar of the E sits inside a fully formed C.

    I've had a look about but I can't find an example of an 'E' in this style etching for comparison.

  18. #18
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    Charles,

    Is your blade a J R Gaunt late Edward Thurkle?

    Add it to the list on my posting perhaps.
    “The Australian Light Horse attack on Beersheba was the last important cavalry charge in history and the last to win a resounding victory that altered the course of a war." Alec Hepburn

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by George Charlton View Post
    Charles,

    Is your blade a J R Gaunt late Edward Thurkle?

    Add it to the list on my posting perhaps.
    Hi George
    Sorry, slow getting back - bit preoccupied with work being an anesthesiologist! Mine is S J Pillin 31 Gerrard St Soho, !897P etched to Royal Engineers with crest but no initials to identify original owner. So turn of the century by virtue of being prior to Victoria's demise. Which list on your posting are you referring to for me to add it to?
    Cheers
    Charles

  20. #20
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    Not to worry. I am trying to organise some form of a basic numbers and years for J R Gaunt late Edward Thurkle the way that the Pillin list I referred to does for Pillin. The Pillin list let me date mine to the early 1890s. The few Gaunt Thurkle dates I have puts my Royal Marine 1897 at roughly 1911 / 12. I spent hours trawling through every site I could to gleen even those scraps. I think it helps to bring the sword to life if you have a birthday, especially if it is not a Wilkinson.

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