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Thread: Help with Initials on Infantry 1897

  1. #1

    Help with Initials on Infantry 1897

    Help appreciated please on de-cyphering the initials on a Victorian British infantry 1897 (Royal Engineers)

    Marked to Tees Volunteer Submarine Miners, so can only be a handful of names..

    I presume these are someone's initials and not another type of marking?
    I am really struggling to make anything out!
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    Last edited by Lee Jones; 03-12-2021 at 09:36 AM.

  2. #2
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    Yes the owner's initials but what a jumble!

    There is a W in there, an A, maybe a H or K? Whatever the last letter is, I think it's the surname.

  3. #3
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    What else is on the blade? Serial number, retailer, it could help with dating. The RE switched to the 1897 in 1901 I think so either it dates from 1901 or it is a rehilted blade.

  4. #4
    Thank you for your help and insight James, I never would have worked that out.

    Retailer is Hobson & Son, 1-3-5 Lexington Street.
    Blade by Pilin, no serial numbers, lightening bolt etching, I'll get a photo up tomorrow.

    I also think you may potentially have led me to its owner...
    Researching Kelly extracts naming officers to the submarine miners;
    - one dated to 1893 (Page view and also with enlarged bit at bottom.), no potential match here...
    - AND then a further extract from same source (Large print), but not dated (unfortunately), but on this one there is 1st Lieutenant - A.W.Richards!??
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    Last edited by Lee Jones; 03-12-2021 at 01:08 PM.

  5. #5
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    So the retailer doesn't narrow it down any further.

    Could be an R, I don't recall ever having seen one with the top missing like this but I look forward to some experts pitching in.

  6. #6
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    I definitely see a W. I think the cross hatched letter might actually be a K. The rest I need more time to stare at to decipher.

  7. #7
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    Looking through the Gazette there was a Francis William Kirby, 2nd Lt. on March 7, 1900. That would fit the K and W, but I'm having a really hard time seeing an F in that mess of initials.

  8. #8

    SMRE photo and another with initials

    Another photos showing initials, but it is a jumble as has already been pointed out, and perhaps it can never be made sense of.
    Also a photo showing SMRE markings.
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  9. #9
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    I think AWK is likely.
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  10. #10
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    Thanks James. That is exactly as I see it. However the only __. W.K. I have found so far F. William Kirby, and no A.W.K. So there must be an AWK sneaking under the radar or that initial is an F with the top bar pushed/bent way down to fit into the monogram. Whether A, H or F, it's a weird looking thing.

  11. #11
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    Found a Willoughby Arthur Kennard but just R.E. Militia and not Submarine Miners. Otherwise I've drawn a blank too.

    I think if it was an F there would be a serif on the cross bar and that it wouldn't touch the top bar. My gut says it's an A.

  12. #12
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    James, great accomplishment of deciphering these initials. The letter in question resembles an "A". Willoughby Arthur Kennard may have moved around to different regiments of engineers.
    Sometimes googling with and without rank helps or use full name and then given initials with last name, I also add higher rank to see if they are mentioned later in their career.
    Last edited by Will Mathieson; 03-13-2021 at 05:37 PM.

  13. #13
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    Thanks Will, it was very satisfying! Kennard seems well documented joining the Monmouthshire RE militia in oct 1898 and 13th Hussars in Mar 1900 and he served in the cavalry the resr of his career. Found no record of him being a submariminer!

  14. #14
    Thank you Gents,
    Great deduction, and agree that AWK does seem very likely his initials.
    I've poured over the Gazette this am, but can find nothing of substance
    I never realised sword had initials on when I bought it, so finding its owner would be an unsuspected bonus, but perhaps its set to remain unknown.

    As someone quite new to sword collecting, I very much appreciate the shared knowledge this forum offers. (and I am learning from it)
    Again thank you all.
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  15. #15
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    Some officers join a regiment to get their commission where there is an opening and quickly transfer to another, could this be the case here? Or he saw the grass was greener and quickly transferred? This way he would not be listed in the Engineers.

  16. #16
    Thanks Will,
    Yes food for thought, I may have a traul through sources looking for a AWK, you never know..

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