Category: the great war


British Pattern 1897 Infantry Officer’s Sword

An infantry officer’s sword, 1897 pattern, dating to George V’s reign, by Edward Thurkle/J R Gaunt & Son, in immaculate condition (modern parade standard). This sword is top quality, from a contemporary rival of Wilkinson, and has been professionally refurbished to modern parade standard. This could be used by a serving officer. These WW1-era swords are considerably better made than the modern versions and the difference in quality is easy to see and feel. The field scabbard is also in good condition. The blade is in bright mirror polish, with crisp frost etching, solid in the hilt. The hilt has been re-plated and is in perfect condition, with all the shagreen and grip wire. Cheaper than a modern version and better made!

British Pattern 1896 Cavalry Officer’s Sword, c.WWI

By Robert Moll & Sons, Birmingham,with the cypher of King Geroge V, the hilt with shagreen and wire banding in a pierced basket, with matching scabbard, 110 cm (length).

Although this pattern was superseded by the thrust-oriented Pattern 1912 Cavalry Officer’s Sword, some officers elected to continue to use the P1896 for its cutting ability.

British Pattern 1908 Cavalry Trooper’s Sword, Marked to the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps

A BRITISH PATTERN ‘08 CAVALRY SWORD SIGNED ‘EFD’ AND MARKED TO THE INNS OF COURT OFFICER TRAINING CORPS, manufactured by Enfield and dated for 1911 with further re-issue marks to 1934, narrow single edged and blind fullered 35in. blade, sheet iron bowl-style handguard with rolled edge, the inside stamped ‘O.T.C.’ over ‘INN.CT.’ over ’12’, composite material chequered ‘pistol-grip hilt and domed iron pommel, complete with its polished iron scabbard with twin fixed suspension rings.

British Court Sword, c.WWI

The blade is etched with the cypher of George V.


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. 


British Pattern 1912 Cavalry Officer’s Sword for an Officer of the 6th Dragoons (The Caribiniers)

89 cm blade by Wilkinson numbered 44031 for 1913 etched with regimental badge, GVR cypher, and Royal Arms and owners initials S.W.W., regulation steel hilt incorporating regimental badge, plated scabbard and complete with chamois covering and leather carrying case and field service scabbard.

British Pattern 1896 Cavalry Officer’s Sword for an Officer of the 17th Lancers

The Wilkinson patent solid hilt cavalry officer’s sword of Sir Harold Stansmore Nutting, Captain in the 17th Lancers. This sword has so much going for it, being as a sword one of the best quality cavalry officer’s swords it was possible to purchase when this was made in 1903, service sharpened for active service and with Wilkinson’s famous Patent Solid Hilt. Add to this that the blade is etched with the Death or Glory skull and crossed bones motif of the 17th Lancers and the officer’s initials, it has great provenance.

Sir Harold Stansmore Nutting (photos of him from WW1 here) was born 14 Aug 1882, he was educated Eton and Trinity College Cambridge and attained the rank of Captain with the 17th Lancers. From 1911-13 he was ADC to the Governor-General of Australia. He served in WW1 and was wounded in action. He became 2nd Baronet on the death of his father. He died in 1972.

British Highland Officer’s Cross Hilt Sword

The Victorian Highland Light Infantry sword (with field service cross hilt) for Ernest Montagu Leith (1888-1971), winner of the Military Cross during WW1. Captain Leith served with the 1/5 City of Glasgow Battalion (Territorial Force) of the Highland Light Infantry, commissioning as 2nd Lieutenant in 1912 and reaching Captain by 1917 (back-dated to 1916). He served through WW1, including at Gallipoli, was Mentioned in Despatches by Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig (London Gazette 20 May 1918) and was made a Chevalier of the Order of the Crown of Roumania (Romania) and Chevalier of the Military Order of Avis (Portugal). His Military Cross citation, as featured in the London Gazette of 14 March 1916 reads:

“Lieutenant Ernest Montagu Leith, 1/5th (City of Glasgow) Battalion, The Highland Light Infantry, Territorial Force. For conspicuous gallantry when commanding grenade parties in an attack. All the officers and several men were wounded, but he at once established and held a barricade, reorganised his party behind it, and, at a critical moment, assured the success of the attack”. 

The sword has a 32 inch double-edged blade and has the field service cruciform hilt fitted, with the extended langets particular to the Highland Light Infantry pattern. The blade is bright and etching clean, with thistles and the VR cypher showing that it dates to pre-1901. This means that Leith presumably got this sword second-hand, perhaps handed down from a family member or fellow officer, but we know it was Leith’s because he wrote his name on the scabbard strap (pictured). The sword also comes complete with a transit/storage bag, which has a weather-proofed outer skin and is lined with chamois. 

British Samurai Bayonets – 1907 Pattern & Arisaka

There is a connection between WW1 era British bayonets and Japanese samurai swords and knives that most people don’t know about. Here we look at the 1907 pattern British bayonet and its inspiration the Type 30 Arisaka.

Why an Obsolete Sword Design from 1845 was Reintroduced in 1915

This is a model 1845/55 French infantry officers sabre. It was produced in chatellerault in 1915.

Officially, the 1845/55 pattern was replaced by the 1882 pattern. However due to the war, the French decided to start producing the 45’s again as they already had tooling for that. As a result, some 30,000 of these were made during WWI.

The hilt is gilt Arco, an alloy of copper, charcoal and zinc, potentially also tin. It has a distinctive reddish appearance under the gilding. The 1882 used a “German silver” alloy for the guard – also a copper alloy.

The blade is plain steel (without a nickel coating) – unlike the 1882 which is nickel coated.

It features one broad fuller and one narrow fuller on each side. The 1882 has offset fullers.