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Jonathan Hopkins

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Everything posted by Jonathan Hopkins

  1. Jonathan Hopkins

    New british P1892/95 infantry officer's sword

    Every once in a while a deal comes along, and in spite of ambiguous provenance, I cannot resist the desire to acquire. Just such a deal came along a few weeks ago. A dealer listed a nice British P1892/95 infantry officer's sword. The serial number dates the blade to 1892, however the hilt is that of the 1895 pattern. I was quite excited at the prospect of getting such an early P1892 blade and another P1895 hilt (I like it better than the P1897 hilt--its larger piercings make it a bit more elegant in my mind). Upon receiving the sword I noted that it had been cleaned with some sort of abrasive, and was a bit scratched, but still in quite acceptable condition. The blade has all the standard etchings of the time including the VRI cypher and scrolling foliage. The etching is a bit worn, but is still visible. The hilt was probably added by Wilkinson in 1896 as it is stamped "STEEL HILT". All in all I think it is a great example of an early late-pattern officer's sword. In addition, it is a Wilkinson and therefore numbered and researchable. The owner was even kind enough to have his initials put on the blade! And what a fortuitous thing he did, too, since the proof book entry is blank for this blade. Undaunted, I combed through the index of the 1893 Hart's List (accurate through December, 1892) and found all matches for the initials "H.G.B.". There were several matches for these initials, many of which could be excluded from the shortlist of candidates due to their branches of service. In the end two possibilities emerged; Henry Gerard Burton and Henry G. Browne, the only infantry officers in my list, and both serving in the Indian Army. I researched each man to see if I could discover if one was more likely than the other. I did not find anything terribly conclusive. However, Burton seemed like a stronger candidate as he was the only one of the two men to see active service, and in my mind such an officer would be more likely to jump on the bandwagon when the new blade was introduced in 1892. Additionally, the sword was re-hilted in 1896, the year in which Browne died. I was probably a bit biased because I would have preferred that Burton be the original owner since he saw a good amount of action, but I feel that my hunch is given more strength since the blade was sharpened for service. So for now I am satisfied that this sword was purchased by the eager Lt. Burton in 1892, several months before being promoted captain and while seconded for service with the Burma Military Police. Henry Gerard Burton was born April 22nd, 1863 in the "East Indies", the third son (of nine!) of Colonel Edmond Francis Burton, Madras Staff Corps, and Georgiana Burton. Burton attended King William's College from 1874-80, and thereafter the Royal Military College. Upon completing his education in 1881 he was commissioned as 2nd lieutenant in the Bedfordshire Regiment (22 October). Soon thereafter, on 24 March 1882, Burton transferred as a lieutenant to Prince Albert's (Somerset Light Infantry). He joined the 2nd Battalion in India, where he would remain for the balance of his career. 21 May 1885 he was attached to the 16th Madras Infantry as a wing officer. He had a very brief period of service with the 33rd Madras Infantry before being attached (i16 September 1886) as an officiating wing officer with the 4th Sikh Infantry, Punjab Frontier Force. In 1887 Burton left Prince Albert's (Somerset Light Infantry) and transferred to the Staff Corps in India, serving as Officiating Quarter Master with the 4th Sikh Infantry. Thus began his career with the Indian Army. Burton continued to serve with the 4th Sikh Infantry as a Wing Officer and Quarter Master until 1890. It was in that year that he was attached to the Burma Military Police as Assistant Commandant. He continued to serve with the BMP through the Burmese conflicts of 1891-93 (Medal with Clasp). During his service in Burma he was promoted captain (22 October 1892). he served with the BMP until 1894 when he went on furlough. Upon returning to the 4th Sikh Infantry he was whisked away to help relieve the besieged Chitral (Medal with Clasp). In 1896 he was attached to the 1st Sikh Infantry. On 30 August 1897, Burton was 2nd in command of the 4th Sikhs and was granted the local rank of major. 10 July 1901 he was promoted to full major, 3 February 1903 he was made a temporary lieutenant-colonel, and 1 June 1904 he was promoted to full lieutenant-colonel (53rd Sikhs [Frontier Force]). Burton died of unknown causes in the Parish of St. Thomas, Exeter. Burton's personal life--rather his family--is quite interesting. Burton was married at Cheltenham, Gloustershire in 1900. I am not sure if he and his wife (name unknown) has children. However, I do know that Burton is one of 9 sons of General Edmond Francis Burton of the Madras Staff Corps, all of whom served in the military and mostly in the Indian Army! General E.F. Burton was a keen hunter and avid writer, and authored several books including Reminiscences of Sport in India, An Indian Olio, and Trouting in Norway. By my count I have nine more swords to find in order to have the complete Burton collection! Sources: Various editions of Hart's Annual Army List History of the 1st Sikh Infantry King William's College Register Various issues of the London Gazette Ancestry.com My thanks to John Hart for his research assistance!
  2. I have had this medallion for quite a while (approximately 1.5" in diameter), but have never know much about it other than the obvious (that it commemorates the victory at Talavera). Was it a part of a set? When were these medallions made? Are they rare? Any insights would be much appreciated! Thank you, Jonathan
  3. Mervyn, THANK YOU!!! I had forgotten all about this medal until a recent visit to my mother's house. I bought it years ago before the internet became the resource it is today. The link you provided has just the sort of information I was after. I am not sure what the value would be, but certainly worth the $40 US I spent on it in the mid-1990s. Jonathan
  4. Jonathan Hopkins

    CAVALRY SWORD - PORT. OR, ITALIAN ?

    Mervyn, It is definitely Italian, but I am not sure what pattern. It appears to be a mix of two patterns; the guard of an M1929 Infantry NCO sword: And the grip of an M1888 Artillery sword: I cannot cite a reference, but I have been told that some WWII era Italian swords were put together from elements of various models to sell to allied soldiers as souvenirs. I am not sure how true that is, though. Jonathan
  5. Jonathan Hopkins

    16th Bengal Cavalry Officer's Scroll Hilt

    Mervyn, I am not sure when Wilkinson used "to the Queen". As far as I know they used "by Appointment" to the Price of Wales for quite a long time. I will look into that and get back to you. The sword has been cleaned. I don't think that there is much visible difference that I would be able to capture with photos. The rust is gone, the grip is less dirty, but other than that, the scabbard is still dark with age, and the blade is still nice--not pitted but not in like-new condition. After all, I like my antiques to look like antiques! Jonathan
  6. British special pattern sword with scroll hilt (a.k.a., acanthus hilt) made by Wilkinson in 1865 for an officer of the 16th Bengal Cavalry. Write-up to follow later in a separate thread.
  7. Excellent topic, Mervyn. Do you know what Zulu spears were supposed to have looked like before this type developed? Do you know anything about their production? How is the shaft attached? Jonathan
  8. Jonathan Hopkins

    16th Bengal Cavalry Officer's Scroll Hilt

    Richie, Thank you for your reply. I am enamored with the sword and really enjoyed researching the officer! My wife caught me in the act of photographing the sword on Saturday: Mervyn, Thank you for your kind words. I will probably just clean it off with some Break Free CLP with an old tooth brush and paper towel. This helps dislodge dirt and grime, and also active orange rust. Once I am satisfied that the sword has been stabilized, I will wipe off the Break Free and then wipe the sword with a silicone-impregnated gun and reel cloth. This will protect the metal, and I will follow up at least once a month by wiping it with the gun and reel cloth. I try not to do anything that cannot be easily reversed. Jonathan
  9. Jonathan Hopkins

    16th Bengal Cavalry Officer's Scroll Hilt

    I have yet to address some grime and active rust. I was too excited to post the sword and do the write-up, so I put the task of conservation off for a day. I will post some "after" pics if there is a noticeable difference. Here are some additional images that would not fit into the previous post:
  10. Jonathan Hopkins

    Natal Presentation Sword

    His medals could be worth more than the sword, I suppose. That is often the case. However, whether or not his sword was used or even worn during the conflict, it may have at least been in the city with him. In that sense, it was there, while the medals were not. For me that is the appeal of swords over medals. The swords witnessed history, while the medals were awarded after the fact. Jonathan
  11. Jonathan Hopkins

    Unidentified Sabre

    Here is a topic from another forum that you may find informative: http://forums.swordforum.com/showthread.php?t=83957&highlight=hospital
  12. Jonathan Hopkins

    Unidentified Sabre

    Steph, Well done going to the library. That is a step most people skip, unfortunately. Books really are a key ingredient to understanding and further knowledge in this field. If your library has a copy of Swords of the British Army by Brian Robson, that is teh standard text on the subject. The Wilkinson-Latham book has some unique photos and illustrations, but the text is quite outdated. Jonathan
  13. Jonathan Hopkins

    Unidentified Sabre

    The original Coast Guards sword was not an official pattern, to my knowledge. According to Robson (Swords of the British Army), these were adopted for other ranks of the Army Hospital Corps around 1861. Going back to Steph's original photos, her sword has a much more dramatic curve than the AHC swords usually exhibit. That could mean that hers is a variant, a Coast Guards sword (which had a more curved blade), or that it is the Indian pattern I referred to earlier Jonathan P.S. Steph, I will send you a PM. :)
  14. Jonathan Hopkins

    Natal Presentation Sword

    I found this at angloboerwar.com: Kenny, Signalman D C. QSA (3) DoL Tr LN
  15. Jonathan Hopkins

    Natal Presentation Sword

    Mervyn, It is possible that the sword was retailed through a local tailor or outfitter and that the etching was done by them, hence the poor quality of the name. Jonathan
  16. Jonathan Hopkins

    Unidentified Sabre

    I think that it is quite likely brass or a related alloy of some sort. I do not suggest polishing the sword, but if it is dirty or if there is active rust I would address those problems. There is an excellent article on sword conservation here: http://swordforum.com/articles/ams/conservation.php As to the origin, I thought I had mentioned it but I guess I dod not. It is a British sword. Jonathan
  17. Jonathan Hopkins

    Natal Presentation Sword

    Mervyn, Thank you for posting this nice sword. I think Hobson were a quality firm, but the etching is not up to Wilkinson standards, in my experience. The name etching seems particularly sloppy. Here is a Hobson P1897 that used to be in my collection. It belonged to EDMOND GRAY STUART TRUELL, who graduated from the Royal Military College on 7 May 1898. This date would be perfect timing for this officer to have purchased the sword. Truell was later assigned to service with the Mounted Infantry in S. Africa and the Connaught Rangers: I will see if I can find anything more on your man, Kenny. All the best, Jonathan
  18. Jonathan Hopkins

    Unidentified Sabre

    Here is an example of the cast iron grip. Its paint has probably been polished away at some point (photo from oldswords.com):
  19. Jonathan Hopkins

    Unidentified Sabre

    That is surprising. These swords generally have iron grips. And sorry, but I do not have any idea as to the value. If you want to contact a UK dealer for a valuation I can give you contact information via private message.
  20. Jonathan Hopkins

    Unidentified Sabre

    Peter, See the photo of the seated bugler on page 10 of the Osprey title Indian Infantry Regiments 1860-1914: http://books.google.com/books?id=0fYAZL_HrMQC&pg=PA3&dq=indian+army+1860-1914&ei=oep6SsfyG5mSywSh2fDEDA&client=firefox-a#v=onepage&q=indian%20army%201860-1914&f=false I am not sure how similar the blades are, but the hilts are the same. Jonathan
  21. Jonathan Hopkins

    Unidentified Sabre

    The grip should be made of iron.
  22. Jonathan Hopkins

    Unidentified Sabre

    This pattern was in use in the first half of the 19th century, and was a sidearms for customs or the coast guard (or some such service--my memory is fuzzy without a book in front of me!), and later in the 19th century it was used by other ranks of the Army Hospital Corps. A similar sword was also used by buglers in the Indian Army of the Raj. Are there any markings on the sword or scabbard? Jonathan
  23. Jonathan Hopkins

    SWORD FROG - BOER WAR

    Mervyn, I like that one very much! I have not see one with an "apron". Thank yo for posting it! Do you have any other sword accessories you could share? Thank you, Jonathan
  24. Jonathan Hopkins

    rapier

    Helen, I recommend posting this in the Antique & Military section at swordforum.com or at myarmoury.com. There are a good number of people at those venues who study renaissance swords. Jonathan
  25. Jonathan Hopkins

    African Spear

    You could also post this in the Middle East & Africa section at Sword Forum International.
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