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    British Pattern 1827 Rifle Officer's Sword

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    Members here seem to enjoy items with provenance, so i though I would present my last acquisition from December--a British Pattern 1827 Rifle Officer's Sword by Wilkinson. (Apologies to those who have already seen this on other forums!) The rifle volunteer movement was huge between 1860 and the end of the 19th century. Consequently, many rifle pattern swords were produced, and a very high percentage of those swords on the market today belonged to volunteer officers, and a relatively small proportion of these swords actually belonged to officers who saw active service in a regular army rifle regiment. My sword is one of the latter. :)



    The sword is of standard form for a P1827. It has a steel "Gothic" hilt with strung bugle badge, fish skin grip with silver wire, a steel scabbard, and standard ~32" blade, and what I believe to be the original sword knot.



    The blade is in immaculate condition, and is simple in its decoration; Wilkinson label etched on ricasso with HW circular proof slug on the opposite side of the ricasso, scrolling foliage and VR cypher and a strung bugle. The spine of the blade is marked with the serial number and is etched with the center of percussion marking, and the blade was sharpened for active service.



    This Pattern 1827 was sold by Wilkinson on 10 July 1866 to H.S. Marsham, Esq.. Henry Savill Marsham, born 19 January 1847, was the eldest son of Reverend Henry P. Marsham and Caroline Savill Onley of Rippon Hall, Hevingham, Norfolk. Marsham was educated at Eton, and on December 2nd, 1865, was commissioned by purchase as an ensign in the 60th. Marsham was promoted to lieutenant on 17 February1869, and in that same year became adjutant of the 1st Battalion.

    While stationed with his battalion in Canada, the 60th was sent as part of Wolseley's expedition to confront Louis Riel and the M?tis in 1870, during the Red River Rebellion, at the Red River Settlement in what is now the Canadian province of Manitoba. Marsham is one of a handful of officer to have earned the Canada General Service Medal with clasp for Red River.

    On 2 March 1878 Marsham was promoted to captain, and a few short months later in October of the same year, he was off to Afghanistan with the 2/60th. Marsham remained in Afghanistan through November of 1880, where he took part in the advance on and occupation Kandahar and Khelat-i-Ghilzie, and was present in the engagements at Ahmed Khel and Urzu near Ghuznee; and accompanied Roberts in the march to Kandahar and was present at the battle of Kandahar. In October of 1880, Marsham served in the Marri expedition under Brigadier General MacGregor. His services in Afghanistan earned him a mention in dispatches, the Afghan War Medal with two clasps and the Kabul-Kandahar Bronze Star.

    In January of 1881, shortly after completing his service in Afghanistan, Marsham embarked with his battalion for Natal, South Africa to serve against the Boers in the Transvaal.

    Marsham was promoted to major on 20 December 1882, married Caroline Blake Humfrey in 1883, and retired from the army in 1888.

    Marsham had an active post-Army career, and served as a Deputy-Lieutenant for the County of Norfolk, Lord of the Manor of Cats-cum-Cricketots, and patron of the livings of Stratton Strawless, Brampton, and Wramplingham. Marsham was a trustee of the Norwich & Norfolk Hospital, and was for forty years a magistrate, occupying for many years the chairmanship of the Aylsham Bench. He also continued his family legacy of observing Indications of Spring. He died shortly after his 90th birthday, in April 1937.

    Henry Savill Marsham, c.1870 (photo courtesy of the Royal Green Jackets Museum):



    Hart's Annual Army List (Various) --Lt.-Gen. H.G. Hart

    A Regimental Chronicle and List of Officers of the 60th, Or the King's Royal Rifle Corps--Nesbit Willoughby Wallace

    The Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, 1770 to 1900--Peter Eade





    Edited by Jonathan Hopkins
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    • 2 weeks later...

    Thank you for your comments. I'll admit that the photos were taken by the person from whom I bought the sword. :blush:

    Marsham was fun to research. Obtaining a photo of him was quite exciting--there he sits in Montreal with his sword, now in my collection. It is also exciting to think that as one of the few officers who participated in the 1870 Red River Expedition, he probably knew Wolseley and certainly he knew Buller!

    I shared my research and the photo with the dealer from whom I purchased the sword. The photo reminded him that the sword came with remnants of the belt suspension straps, which he sent to me in March. The silver hardware for my suspension straps were made by T.B. Wilkins, Ltd. of Birmingham in 1871.






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