Category: british

victoriansword: 21 Foot Rule – Drawing th…


21 Foot Rule – Drawing the Sword for Self Defence – Sabre 

Drawing the weapon in a self defence scenario is far from a new problem. Here we consider what it would have been like to apply the principals studied today for law enforcement defence, but placed in a historical context and when carrying a sword.

This is not a scientific or conclusive piece of research, just a brief look into the subject. Many more videos will follow looking at different scenarios. weapons, holsters and belts etc.

NOTE – the fencer who was drawing the sabre did not always draw the cut through completely as he would for real. This was largely out of necessity for safety with an untipped blade. The object of the exercise was to find the distances at which one could defend oneself and not test cutting skill.

British Mameluke-Hilted Officer’s Sabr…

British Mameluke-Hilted Officer’s Sabre Of Brigadier General Hugh Halkett, Early 19th Century

By Brunn, Sword Cutler To The Prince Regent, 56 Charing Cross, London, circa 1818. With bright curved blade double-edge at the point in front of the yelman, faintly etched and gilt over half its length on one side with foliage and crowned ‘GR’ cypher over the standing figure of Britannia and a wreath of laurel, and on the other with a martial trophy and foliage representing the Union, steel-mounted hilt including guard with copper rose-head on each side, ivory grips secured by two brass rivets each with copper floret-shaped heads, and pommel with brass-lined piercing for a sword-knot, in original copper-mounted steel scabbard with two brass rings for suspension, the mouth on one side engraved ‘Br. General Halkett’ in script beneath the maker’s details (minor scattered pitting). 80 cm blade.

General Baron Hugh Halkett, G.C.H., C.B. was born in Musselburgh, Scotland in 1783. He was second son of Major-General F.G. Halkett and brother of Lieutenant General Sir Colin Halkett

From 1798 to 1801, Halkett served in India in the Scottish Brigade, which his father had been instrumental in raising. In 1803, he joined the 2nd Light Infantry Battalion of the newly formed King’s German Legion, which was under the command of his brother Colin. The 2nd Light were involved in the Cathcart’s expeditions to Hanover, Rügen and Copenhagen. During this time he was promoted to Major and his bold initiative on outpost duty won a commendation. From 1808 until 1813 Halkett fought in the Peninsular War, except in 1809 when he took part in the Walcheren Expedition. He fought at the Battle of Albuera in Charles Alten’s independent KGL brigade. When his brother was promoted to lead the brigade, Halkett took over command of the 2nd Light Infantry Battalion, KGL. At the Battle of Salamanca, his battalion fought in John Hope’s 7th Division. In the Siege of Burgos campaign, he distinguished himself at the Battle of Venta del Pozo. In 1813 he joined the new Hanoverian army and at the Battle of Göhrde he led a brigade of Hanoverian troops in Count Wallmoden’s army. He captured a Danish standard at the action of Sehestedt.

At the Battle of Waterloo, Halkett commanded four battalions of Hanoverian landwehr (militia), which were sent to the front with the regulars. These units were organised into the 3rd Hanoverian Brigade of Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton’s 2nd Division. Halkett’s brigade was held in reserve on the right flank for most of the battle. After the defeat of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard, the Duke of Wellington sent Halkett to pursue the disintegrating French forces. He is remembered for capturing General Cambronne while his Osnabrück Battalion engaged the French Imperial Guard.

After Waterloo, Halkett stayed in the Hanoverian service. He rose to be a General and Inspector-General of infantry. He led a Federal Army Corps in the First War of Schleswig (also known as the Prussian-Danish War of 1848), and defeated the Danes at the Battle of Oeversee, a rear-guard action at Sankelmark. Halkett held many foreign orders, including the Prussian Order of the Black Eagle, the Pour le Mérite and the Russian St. Anne. In 1862, he was ennobled (heritable) to a Freiherr (Baron) by King George V of Hanover and died the following year. His brother served with considerable distinction during the Waterloo campaign, being wounded at Waterloo and having four horses shot from under him.

British Pattern 1827 Rifle Officer’s Sword for…

British Pattern 1827 Rifle Officer’s Sword for an Officer of the 4th Bombay Rifles

A very rare and desirable East India Company 4th Bombay Rifles officer’s sword, pre-dating the Persian campaign of 1860. The sword was made/retailed by Hart, who seem to have specialied in swords for Indian service. The blade features fantastic etching with battle honours for the 4th Bombay Rifles, including “Seringartam”, “Beni Boo Ali”, “Bourbon”, “Punjab” and “Mooltan”. In 1861 the regiment added “Persia” to their battle honours, so this sword must pre-date that – it also features the East India Company lion, so it presumably dates to before 1858. The sword has been service-sharpened and must have seen a fascinating bit of history. While it may not be possible to attribute it to one particular officer, there are literally only a handful of possible candidates in the India Army List who are likely to have carried this sword. The sword came with a period train ticket attached to it (pictured), which may possibly offer the hope of narrowing down the original owner. I only know of two other 4th Bengal Rifles swords and they are both in the private collections of people I know. The sword itself is in reasonably good condition, but shows clear signs of hard campaigning – most notably the wear to the grip, where there is some loss to the shagreen and grip wire. This likely dates to the period of the sword’s service and corresponds to the areas of the grip which get most worn when gripping it. The guard and scabbard are fairly dark from patina, but the blade is really very good, with the etching all clear and crisp and the service sharpening having been well executed. The sword sheaths perfectly in the scabbard and the blade is tight in the hilt.

British Lead Cutter No. 3 by Wilkinson Lead-c…

British Lead Cutter No. 3 by Wilkinson

Lead-cutting sword No.3 in its original scabbard. There were 4 sizes, No.1 the lightest and No.4 the heaviest. This number 3 and is a very large sword with a 33" long, 2" wide single edged, flat back blade. It has a blackened metal cutlass style hilt and a black jappaned iron grip. It has its original black leather scabbard with brass frog stud. Its rear seam has opened but could be re-stitched and it has no chape. The lead cutting sword was used by Cavalrymen to stregthen the wrist and forearm and the stronger he was the larger the sword he used. Nicely etched on the top of the blade, “LEAD CUTTER NO.3,” and “WILKINSON, PALL MALL, LONDON”.

Lancaster’s Patent Muzzle Loading Rifle

Lancaster’s Patent Muzzle Loading Rifle

British Pattern 1871 Elcho Bayonet 1871 patt…

British Pattern 1871 Elcho Bayonet

1871 pattern Elcho sawback bayonet by Kirschbaum Solingen for the Martini-Henry rifle – with diced grips, fullered sword back blade with swollen leaf-shaped point in original steel mounted leather scabbard with associated leather frog with strap and buckle to front and WD broad arrow marked to rear and other faint markings, the bayonet is unmarked apart from maker’s Knights helm mark. The Elcho bayonet was designed in 1870 by Lord Elcho The 10th Earl of Wemyss & March with a heavy blade for brush-cutting purposes. A small number were issued for trial purposes but was not wildly adopted due to its high cost of manufacture – it is one of the most sought-after of all British bayonets.

British Pattern 1827 Naval Officer’s Sword A …

British Pattern 1827 Naval Officer’s Sword

A Prosser made pipe-back Georgian Naval Officers sword, with 1827 pattern hilt. 30" quill point blade with light decoration including the Royal Coat of Arms, and a crown over a fouled anchor. Prosser manufacturer to the King above London on one side, Prosser Maker to the King, Charing Cross, within is set a Crown over IP stamped makers mark. the blade has rust damage prior to repair/renovation, mostly at the point. Black leather scabbard with gilt mounts.

British Pattern 1882 Cavalry Trooper’s Sword

British Pattern 1882 Cavalry Trooper’s Sword

It’s a good example, being in good condition and with a bunch of markings, showing that it was issued to an outfit using the abreviation ‘SFF’ (I am not sure what this stands for – something Field or Frontier Force maybe?), the sword being first made in Birmingham by Mole in February 1884. It then seems to have been sent to the Royal Small Arms Factory in Enfield for repairs, before being re-issued. The blade has some very minor pitting (very shallow – pictured), which seems to have been cleaned in period judging by the patina (maybe this was the repair Enfield carried out?). The guard and scabbard are in great condition and the grips are very good indeed. Everything is solid and the sword sheaths well in the scabbard. I personally think that this is a better handling sword than the 1885 pattern which replaced it and the grip is a better shape (which improves edge-alignment issues in the cut).

British Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Officer’s S…

British Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Officer’s Sword

An attractive, named and dated light cavalry sword. The name ‘F. W. Hayward’ (dated 1856) has turned up no positive results for me. This is a nice big sword with broad 35 inch blade, which seems to have been a private purchase, perhaps by a Yeomanry member or an NCO in the regular Army. The leather (rather than shark skin) grip and general appearance of the sword is similar to a trooper’s issued weapon, but the lack of ears to the backstrap and the blade etching allude to an officer’s version of the 1821 pattern. There are many possible explanations for this and the lack of an VR cypher on the blade may mean that this is non-military and for personal defence or perhaps police, but my guess is that it’s a private purchase by someone in a local yeomanry regiment. In any case it is a nice sword and feels great in the hand. The condition is really good – the blade is bright and the fine etching clear. The leather of the grip is particularly good for the age and the whole hilt assembly is rock solid.

Spadroons–Actually the Best Sword? In Context.

Spadroons–Actually the Best Sword? In Context.