Richard Beauchamp 16th Light Dragoons

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

Richard Beauchamp 16th Light Dragoons

Post by Bryce » Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:50 am

G'day Guys,
I recently acquired another 1796 light cavalry officer's pipe-back sword. This one is a bit worn, but has great provenance. The scabbard is marked to Prosser and also marked with the initials "R B" and 16th LD. A search thru the army lists throws up Richard Beauchamp who was commissioned cornet in the 16th LD in March 1811. He was the youngest son of Sir Thomas Beauchamp Proctor, Baronet of Langley Park. The family adopted the Proctor surname after inheriting from an uncle, but Richard seems never to have used it. Above the initials on the scabbard are the remains of his family crest, comprising 1. A greyhound sejant and 2. A heraldic tiger. Only the parts of the heraldic tiger on the right can still be made out. Richard was commissioned Lieutenant in the 16th Light Dragoons in February 1812 when he proceeded to join his regiment in the Peninsular. He served with the 16th regiment throughout the remainder of the peninsular war until December 1813 when he was appointed aid-de-camp to Sir Stapleton Cotton. He also served with the 16th at Waterloo.

The sword is very worn and has period repairs to the guard and scabbard drag. The amount of wear suggests he may have purchased the sword prior to leaving for the peninsular, but it is also possible he purchased it while back in Britain prior to Waterloo.

Cheers,
Bryce
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Richard
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Re: Richard Beauchamp 16th Light Dragoons

Post by Richard » Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:35 pm

Bryce wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 1:50 am
G'day Guys,
I recently acquired another 1796 light cavalry officer's pipe-back sword. This one is a bit worn, but has great provenance.
Cheers,
Bryce
Great sword Bryce, well done. Many swords with true Waterloo provenance are well worn : below Chatterton, Bridger and Miller.

Richard

PS, happy Waterloo day!
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Bryce
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Re: Richard Beauchamp 16th Light Dragoons

Post by Bryce » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:13 am

Thanks Richard,
I haven't been able to find out a lot about Beauchamp, but he is mentioned in several sources in relation to his exploits on the Peninsular. He gave evidence at the Court Martial of Colonel Quentin of the 10th Hussars. In it he gives an account of several cavalry charges which occurred the day after the Battle of Orthez in February 1814. It is very special to read an account of some of these actions in his own words.

In "The Scarlet Lancer" by James Lunt, Lt Luard gives an account of how Beauchamp had some trouble while the regiment was being shipped to Dublin in 1816. The brig which was transporting Beauchamp and eighteen horses ran into a gale which destroyed the bales confining the horses below. The brig's captain said unless the horses were destroyed, the brig might be lost. Beauchamp and a trumpeter went below and cut the throats of the horses in the wildly pitching brig, while up to their knees in water, in the dark, with eighteen fear-maddened horses flailing around. The horses were destroyed and thrown overboard and the brig made it to safety.

Cheers,
Bryce

Bryce
Posts: 123
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:21 pm

Re: Richard Beauchamp 16th Light Dragoons

Post by Bryce » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:34 am

G'day Guys,
I forgot to post the sword's dimensions. The blade is 84cm long, 3.5cm wide at the ricasso and has a 20cm false edge. It weighs around 700g.
Cheers,
Bryce

Bryce
Posts: 123
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:21 pm

Re: Richard Beauchamp 16th Light Dragoons

Post by Bryce » Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:07 am

G'day Guys,
I came across this sword which has the same hilt as Beauchamp's. It has a blade marked to Runkel which dates it to about 1808 or earlier. Most of Prosser's earlier swords had Runkel blades, so I think it likely that this sword was also by Prosser. Prosser's later 1796 swords generally have the odd pointed langets he was known for. I think it likely then that Beauchamp's sword was made closer to 1811 when he joined the 16th LD as a cornet, than 1814 when he returned from the Peninsular.
Cheers,
Bryce
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Will
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Re: Richard Beauchamp 16th Light Dragoons

Post by Will » Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:08 pm

Bryce the 1811 date makes sense. Typically we see swords purchased at the prospect of being commissioned and he could easily afford such a sword.
It would take some time to produce such a sword with its engraving, so knowing one would be joining a particular regiment you would order the sword in advance. Not many swords this early can be traced to their owners which makes this one exceptional.

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