barbucomedie: Basket-Hilted Broad Sword from …


Basket-Hilted Broad Sword from the 42nd (Highland) Regiment of Foot, The Black Watch, dated about 1758 on display at the Black Watch Castle and Museum in Perth

This pattern of sword was supplied to enlisted soldiers within the Highland regiments in the British Army during the 18th Century. They would be supplied by the colonels of the regiment who would make back their money from the soldiers pay. The sword was done in the traditional Claybeg style of the Highland Clans which became known as Claymores in English. 

These swords separated the irregular Highlanders from the regular British Army regiments of foot as they had a romantic image of the Highland Charge behind them from the Jacobite Risings. During the Seven Years War the British Army needed irregulars to fight against the French and their Native allies in America. Both William Pitt the Elder and General James Wolfe (who witnessed the Highland Charge at Culloden) agreed the Highland peoples of Scotland would be ideal. Wolfe saying:

I should imagine that two or three independent Highland Companies might be of use. They are hardy, intrepid, accustomed to a rough country, and no great mischief if they fall.”

Wolfe was not alone in his disregard of the Highland peoples with both French and British officers describing them as “Savages

At the Battle of Ticonderoga in 1758, this sword was used by a soldier in the Black Watch. After running out of ammunition they charged the French lines, swords drawn and despite some initial success they were repelled by Montcalm’s bayonet charge with his grenadiers. Out of 1,000 soldiers around 647 were killed.

Photographs taken by myself