Category: indian army

Indian Army Cavalry Trooper’s Sword, late 19th Century to Early 20th Century

Made in Britain by Mole of Birmingham, overall length: 92 cm, blade length: 79 cm. This pattern was used by Indian cavalry regiments throughout the second half of the 19th century and into World War One. This one likely dates to the 1890s or later.


3rd Bengal Cavalry Regimental Pattern Trooper’s Sword

A scarce regimental special pattern solid patent tang cavalry sword for a native officer or trooper of the 3rd. Bengal Cavalry, Skinner’s Horse, the heavy wide straight 91.5cm blade by Henry Wilkinson, Pall Mall, numbered on the back edge 150 fully 40cm wide at the shoulder, back-edged and spear-pointed, solid steel guard undecorated but for the regimental device ‘3 BC’ in the form of a large brass badge secured to the guard by three small internal rivets, the number 150 again struck on the guard, plain domed pommel, chequered leather grips riveted on to the solid tang,lacking scabbard otherwise good condition.


Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Style Officer’s Sword for a British Officer in India

An unusual 1821 pattern Indian light cavalry sword, with silver koftghari decorated guard, the deeply curved 80 cm blade by Garden, single wide fuller, perhaps a trooper’s blade the back edge being struck ‘Garden’ but not numbered and completely undecorated, regulation three-bar guard the inside and outside decorated overall with a repeat floral pattern in fine silver koftghari inside the guard near the slot for the sword-knot can found a BUDH or ‘magic square’ plain domed pommel with elongated tang-button, plain eared back-strap, ribbed hardwood grip.

Garden, Army Accoutrement Makers & Sword-Cutlers. Between 1862 and 1877 the gunmaking side of the business was carried on under the name of Garden, Robert Spring, and the accoutrement side under that of Garden & Son, they were located at 200 Piccadilly, circa 1824-1891.


2nd Punjab Infantry on Gym Day

A splendid photo from around 1890, showing men of the 2nd Punjab Infantry, with fencing bayonets, gymnasium sabres and Indian clubs in a great variety of sizes. Also note the singlesticks, fencing helmets and sporans for protecting the groin. These chaps look hard as nails!


British Non-Regulation Cavalry Officer’s Sword

An unusual custom built solid-patent tang cavalry officer’s fighting sword, by Reeves, the heavy 90cm blade struck on the back edge ‘Reeves patent’, single wide fuller back-edged and spear-pointed, undecorated but for the retailer’s details within a cartouche ‘Millan & Mann, George Street, Edinburgh’, steel bowl guard pierced through with a ‘Maltese Cross’ device, simple border engraving following the outline of the cross and around the edge of the guard, two slots to the back of the guard, the top part of the guard also pierced with a slot for a sword-knot, flat elongated pommel, no provision for a ferule or back-strap the tang being visible on both sides of the grip plaques, which are of polished vulcanite secured to the solid tang by seven rivets through each, complete with its steel scabbard with two hanging rings.

Charles Reeves, Sword-Cutler and Gunmaker, is recorded at No. 8 Air Street, Piccadilly, London, from 1853.

This sword appears to be based on the 1864 pattern troopers sword, with some variations, presumably built to the special order of a cavalry officer as a fighting sword, plain undecorated blades being popular with Indian Army officers.


Colonel James Skinner CB, 1st Regiment of Local Horse, c.1836

Oil on canvas by an unknown artist, a copy of the portrait by William Melville, c.1836 (in the vestry of St James’s Church, Delhi).

The Anglo-Indian soldier James Skinner (1778-1841) was the son of a Scottish officer in the East India Company’s service and a Rajput lady. Formerly an officer in the Maratha Army, Skinner raised two cavalry units for the British, later known as 1st and 2nd Skinner’s Horse. Nicknamed ‘The Yellow Boys’ for their flamboyant saffron-coloured uniforms, they were famous for their horsemanship and skill at arms.

Skinner was well rewarded, enabling him to acquire a town house in Delhi and a large estate at Hansi, Haryana. He maintained a close interest in Indian culture and was an important patron of the arts, commissioning a number of paintings recording his life and exploits.

Skinner lived in princely style and liked to be addressed by his Moghul title, ‘Nasir-ud-Daula, Colonel James Skinner Bahadur Ghalib Jang – Most Exalted, Victorious in War’. Although he was brought up as a Christian, his household included a number of Hindu and Muslim wives and mistresses. He built a church in Delhi, but also a mosque and a Hindu temple.

Such a cross-cultural lifestyle had few admirers among the following generations of soldiers and politicians in India. Towards the end of his life, although promoted to colonel and created a CB by the British, Skinner was conscious that his mixed race status had denied him the highest rewards for his military skills and leadership.

British Pattern 1896 Mountain Artillery Sword 

A variant of the P1896, made by Mole and marked to the India Stores Department (ISD).

76.5 cm sharply curved blade stamped ISD beneath an arrow at the forte, MOLE and an I beneath an arrow on the back edge, regulation steel hilt stamped F.W.A 7.00 at the quillon, ribbed iron grip, contained in its brass mounted leather scabbard, stamped 276 on the frog stud and with Ordnance marks to the lower mount.



Native Officers of Ambala, 1850s

Here is a very similar double breasted padded jacket from the National Army Museum, which they say is associated with 9th (Queen’s Royal) Lancers, circa 1880.


British Non-Regulation “Scinde Horse Pattern” Officer’s Sword 

Which belonged to Lieutenant M. B. Salmon, West India Regiment, attached 30th Bombay Native Infantry (Jacob’s Rifles).

A rare ‘Jacob pattern’ sword, specially ordered to replace one lost or damaged during the Afghan campaign, of a pattern similar to the pattern 1857 Royal Engineers Officer’s sword, with 33-inch slightly-curved fullered blade by Henry Wilkinson, pall mall [Serial Number 22410 which indicates a date of manufacture in 1881], with a longitudinal groove as used on heavy cavalry swords (and more akin to that used, in brass, for Royal Engineer officers after 1857), etched with a family Crest, and Motto ans tache, the steel guard pierced with ‘Honeysuckle’ design, wire-bound fish skin grip and chequered pommel, in its massive wooden-lined brown leather scabbard with polished steel locket and chape.


Indian Cavalry Trooper’s Sword, c.WWI

An Anglo-Indian officer’s sword for issue to Indian regiments, the blade stamped Mole Birmingham makers 1916 ISD and RR 11.17, with leather scabbard, blade length 80cm.