Category: indian army

victoriansword: Colonel James Skinner CB, 1s…


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 …

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.

victoriansword: victoriansword: Native Offic…



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.

victoriansword: British Non-Regulation “Scinde…


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.

victoriansword: Indian Cavalry Trooper’s Swor…


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. 

victoriansword: The Illustrated London News…


The Illustrated London News from Saturday, February 22, 1908. This image, more than any other, cemented the reputation of the kukri as a fearsome weapon in the imagination of the western reading public.

victoriansword: A Silver Mounted Mameluke fo…


A Silver Mounted Mameluke for an Officer Serving in India 

The 75cm curved Indo-Persian blade of watered steel, silver cross-guard border engraved with a repeat floral design, button finials, silver back-strap engraved borders filled with a zig-zag pattern, two piece ivory grip plaques, wood scabbard covered with black leather, two silver hanging rings en-suite with the hilt mounts, and small silver chape, blade with some areas of pitting, scabbard leather well replaced.

victoriansword: Pattern 1821 Light Cavalry Sty…


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.

victoriansword: British Pattern 1845 Infantry…


British Pattern 1845 Infantry Officer’s Sword / Indian Firangi Hybrid

A fascinating Anglo-Indian hybrid sword featuring the hilt of a British Pattern 1822 or Pattern 1845 Infantry Officer’s Sword and the blade of an Indian firangi sword. One wonders if it was a British officer who decided to use an Indian blade or an Indian who decided to use a British hilt. Here is the auction description;

A rare example of an 1821 pattern [1822 or 1845, not 1821] infantry officer’s sword mounted with a captured Indian firangi blade, the massive wide straight 97 cm blade retaining its original Indian pierced shoulder mount riveted to the blade, the regulation 1821 pattern copper-gilt guard adapted with an additional copper-gilt mount to facilitate the mounting of the heavy blade, the remainder of the guard of regulation ‘gothic’ pattern incorporating a crowned VR cypher, worn overall, most of the fish-skin covering missing from the grip and scabbard lacking, but a most unusual sword.

Here is an example of a British Pattern 1845 Infantry Officer’s Sword:

And here is an example of an Indian firangi:

(Examples with blue backgrounds are from

victoriansword: An unusual presentation swo…


An unusual presentation sword for Cornet J. H. Whiteway of the First Devon Light Horse Volunteers

The deeply curved 90 cm blade by Henry Wilkinson, Pall Mall, London, No. 10222 (for 1860) having double fullers, one extending to within 10 cm of the point, the other to within 3 cm, from which point the blade becomes back-edged, the blade is undecorated but for the maker’s details and the presentation inscription which fills an ornate central panel ‘This sword was presented to Cornet J.H. Whiteway of the First Devon Light Horse Volunteers in 1864 by his brother officers in token of their regard for his disinterested and generous assistance in raising and supporting their Corps’, the unusual hilt in the form of a flat brass stirrup guard deeply engraved with scrolls and strap-work, flat oval pommel with a similar decoration, grip of partly chequered polished hardwood shaped to fit the hand, complete with its wood scabbard covered in black leather with integral frog-stop, brass locket and massive brass chape both engraved en-suite with the hilt mounts, the engraved panels to the hilt and scabbard mounts silver-plated, blade retaining its original finish and the sword in good condition overall.

It is interesting that this sword was made in 1860, but the presentation dates to 1864. The sword is of a type used by British officers serving in Indian regiments. I believe that this sword was probably sold to an officer with some connection to India and that the sword was later re-purposed as a presentation sword. A stunning piece!