Help identifying two British swords please.

Post Reply
brian wolfe
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:13 pm

Help identifying two British swords please.

Post by brian wolfe » Sun Jun 09, 2019 7:54 pm

Hello everyone,

I really don’t like to ask for assistance in identification until all sources have been exhausted; that exercise having produced no results, I’m at my wits end trying to identify a couple of small British swords. The photos show the Foot Artillery Privates sword c.1820 (Robson Pg. 233) top one in the photo. The one I have has a blade length of 24 ¾ inches as compared with the one in Robson’s book at 26 1/8 inches. I am confident that mine is indeed the Foot Artillery sword and I included this as a reference for my question later in this post.

The second sword which is in the middle of the photograph has a blade length of 29 inches and in all other respects regarding the blade is identical to the Foot Artillery. The hilt and guard are somewhat similar except for the grip. This sword has a scabbard (not shown) which is fitted with a frog button which would indicate it was to be suspended on a cross belt. The back of the blade is stamped Reeves & what could be a C or G. If it is a G and the balance of the name missing is could be Reeves & Greaves which would place the manufacturing at 1829 -1884 (Birmingham), (Harvey Withers, British Military Swords, pg.150).

The third, or bottom sword, has a curved blade measuring 26 ¾ inches in a straight line from guard to tip. It has a fuller on both sides of the blade while the last two mentioned have no fullers. Again the hilt and guard are somewhat similar to the last two described, however this one lacks the langets.

The two straight bladed swords are quite heavy and awkward in the hand while the curved sword feels light and actually elegant in the hand, I believe it to be too short to have served as a cavalry sabre and is more the size of a hanger. One feature they all exhibit is the small reinforcement piece cast into the guard; this I have tried to show in one of the photographs.

There is no engraving on the blades of the swords in question therefore not meant for officers. Since the carrying of swords by infantry other ranks (except for Sergeants) was abolished in 1784, (Robson, pg. 211), this would place the use with the Corps and Departmental Swords. Therefore could these two swords be meant for the foot artillery?

Any suggestions or recommendations are greatly appreciated.

Regards
Brian
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Bryce
Posts: 75
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:21 pm

Re: Help identifying two British swords please.

Post by Bryce » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:43 am

G'day Brian,
I agree the first sword is the so called Spanish pattern artillery sword. These were being produced well before 1820.

The second one could be a non-regulation version of this or you could get more imaginative and say it was a british naval officers' fighting sword? I think the 1804 naval cutlass had a 29 inch blade.

The third one would usually be labelled a US militia artillery sword. I think most of these were British made and in the absence of any markings could just as easily have been used by a range of British servicemen, although I think the absence of langets pushes me more towards US.

Cheers,
Bryce

brian wolfe
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:13 pm

Re: Help identifying two British swords please.

Post by brian wolfe » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:51 pm

Hello Bryce,
Thank you for your reply and your assistance. The curved sword being American (British made) makes sense. I posted a Fenian Raid relic found on the site of the Battle of Pigeon Hill, Quebec, 1866, which I posted before the forum experienced the crash. They are remarkably similar. I have attached some photos of the two swords. They are within an inch of each other in blade length though the camera angle makes it look like the relic is a lot longer. The hilts are almost exactly the same, except for the missing hand guard part on the relic.

I have another question regarding the longer bladed middle sword shown above. Are you saying that this might safely be called a naval officer's fighting sword, or would that be a stretch of the imagination. I can find no reference in Robson's book or example in the Royal Armouries collection of a longer bladed example to the Artillery Foot Artillery Privates sword.

Thanks again for you help, it is greatly appreciated.
Regards
Brian
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Bryce
Posts: 75
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:21 pm

Re: Help identifying two British swords please.

Post by Bryce » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:54 pm

G'day Brian,
Because it is non-regulation and not marked, it isn't possible to say with any certainty what branch of service it was intended for. I think the most likely is artillery, but it could have a naval connection. These are the two services that used these straight unfullered blades.
Cheers,
Bryce

brian wolfe
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2019 2:13 pm

Re: Help identifying two British swords please.

Post by brian wolfe » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:16 am

Thanks once again Bryce.
Now off to list it in my collection catalogue as artillery.
Regards
Brian

Post Reply