Jump to content

1827 PATTERN RIFLES SWORD


Mervyn Mitton
 Share

Recommended Posts

When I recently posted on 'British and Commonwealth Medals' the Boer War medals and other personal items from Captain Perkins, I only showed two pictures of his sword and did say I would post them more fully on this sub-forum.

The 1827 Rifles pattern sword was based on the Infantry pattern - however, on the guard it remained as a solid piece and the inner section did not fold flat as with the Infantry officers'. The other main difference was also on the guard. In the cartouche , rather than the Royal Arms the Light Infantry 'strung bugle' was used. The Crown on the sword illustrated is almost certainly the pattern for King William 1V th. (1830-37) - what I am not sure about , is if this Crown continued to be used as part of the original pattern - Queen Victoria had several different Crown styles during her Reign and it was never quite as angular as this one.

The sword is in excellent condition and unusually has the dress scabbard and the field service pattern scabbard. The frog for this is Boer War and has more leather support then on the 1st World War ones. Captain Perkins swagger stick is also shown.

When I show his portrait you will see that he is wearing this sword . Dress swords are worn at the 'trail' and can be attached as shown or, had two clasps - one longer than the other - to suspend from the dress belt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Captain Perkins was the Commanding Officer of the Worcester Rifle Volunteers. This unit was formed in the late 1850's and had a compliment of 58 men. This later grew as the area had more settlers. This Worcester is in South Africa and about 40 miles inland from Capetown. All of these early towns had their own defence units.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is very interesting that the maker's details are another contractor - this time from Capetown. Perhaps Jonathan can help with the original maker - strange though that the last two English swords have had local suppliers names. I know nothing about the firm of Mitchell - however, the relative of the Jo'burg company thought that they had supplied all swords to the S.A. Forces.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Apart from being C.O. of the Worcester Rifles Volunteers - during the Boer War he was taken onto the Staff of Cape Command and had the posting of an Asst. Adjutant General. More importantly, he was the overall commander of the Prisoner of War camps in Capetown. There were several in the area - however, the main was at Greenpoint - where they have just built the new football stadium. He also had jurisdiction over the holding camp at Simonstown. This has always been our main Naval Base and his job was the handing over of P.O.W.'s for transportation by the British Navy to the four main centres we had set-up prison camps. These were India - Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) - St. Helena and Bermuda.

With these responsibilities I am surprised he was only a captain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I cannot find any dates form the firm, but they appear to have been a British firm with offices in London and Cape Town. I found a reference to a sword they supplied which sold at auction (from OldSwords.com):

"A sword with the following description was sold by 'Wallis & Wallis' auction house on 13/11/2003 15:28:10.

A South African artillery officers' sword for the Boer Republic, blade 33in. by Gordon Mitchell & Co London, etched with ZAR amidst foliage. Reg"

I hope that is of interest.

Jonathan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, the firm was dissolved in 1892, so the sword is pre-1892!

http://www.london-ga...6281/pages/2382

And had been in business since at least 1880 as I found a reference to a young man finding work with them in Cape Town in that year (they are referred to as "wholesalers").

Jonathan

Edited by Jonathan Hopkins
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jonathan , you are -for sure - our man to 'go to' for information. Thank you very much for taking the trouble to identify the firm and for the dates. Since he is wearing the sword in the painting it could be pre-1892 or, for the period up to 1899 - explains why he isn't wearing the medals. Your research for your swords, is in far more detail - but for us - it is good to know this much about him.

Do you have anything new in the horizon ? Mervyn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mervyn,

I am glad to be of help. :) Nothing new on the horizon right now, unfortunately. I did get some wonderful books form Christmas, which can be just as much fun! Almost. :D

I just wanted to add that one of the neat things about your sword is that you have both the service and dress scabbards. It is uncommon to have both with the sword nowadays. The service scabbard is particularly interesting because it is assumed that this style of scabbard did not appear until the late 1890s, but in fact they had been around since at least the 1880s if not earlier. Yours in an excellent example of an early brown leather field service scabbard. I love those metal fittings!

Here is a similar scabbard from a sword that dates to c.1898.

Trotter1.jpg

I would not be surprised if the locket on yours was a "Wyatt's Registered" like the one pictured above. Apparently this style emerged in the mid-1880s.

Trotter8.jpg

Jonathan

Edited by Jonathan Hopkins
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Jonathan. Could well be a Wyatt's - looks the same as your example. The frog makes it difficult to see if there is a name and I don't like forcing the leather - like me ' rather set after so many years'. I didn't know that the service scabbard was so early. I had always been under the impression that they were Boer War period.

I bought a very nice South African Police - officers' sword - from a friend in Capetown. After 1964 Britain stopped supplying swords to S.A. and they turned to Solingen in Germany. Not a patch on the British ones - although the Police were much better then the Army ones. I will post it in a week or so, hopefully someone else will put something-on ? We haven't even had any good bayonets for ages.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks, Jonathan. Could well be a Wyatt's - looks the same as your example. The frog makes it difficult to see if there is a name and I don't like forcing the leather - like me ' rather set after so many years'. I didn't know that the service scabbard was so early. I had always been under the impression that they were Boer War period.

I bought a very nice South African Police - officers' sword - from a friend in Capetown. After 1964 Britain stopped supplying swords to S.A. and they turned to Solingen in Germany. Not a patch on the British ones - although the Police were much better then the Army ones. I will post it in a week or so, hopefully someone else will put something-on ? We haven't even had any good bayonets for ages.

Some of these scabbards could have been made for the swords in the late 1890s, but as some are paired with Pattern 1854 infantry officers' swords I think a number of them are pre-1892, or at least pre-1895. Similar scabbards were in use in India well before they became the norm in the British Army (late 1890s).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting that the blade is plated. How early did they have the capability of chrome plating. I have a rifle officers sword by Reeves dated 1871 and it also has plating that looks to be period done. The plating is dull where the etching background is, very thin and does not obscure any etchingHaklifaxReevessword.jpgHalifaxReevessword.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Will,

I am not sure that Mervyn's sword is plated. I think it just retains its original polish.

Jonathan

Hello, have you seen other swords of this type with plated blades? The one I pictured looks like plating done when it was made, any ideas? The etching is crisp, never buffed over and corrosion underlying the plating appears very old. I have not come across other swords with plated blades.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have seen plated blades, but they usually look as if they've been plated later in life. Unfortunately the plating usually ruins the etching in that it becomes much less crisp looking. Your sword looks as you say. It seems early for blade plating, but I don't know much about the process nor when it came into use. Maybe RWL has some insight?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi. I would say that the one I show is the original nickel blade. A little corrosion around the guard - happens with getting wet and not cleaning - 'bad batman !'

I don't think chrome existed as far back as the 1880's - however many firms used silver plating as the officers liked the gleam. Looking at yours Will, it appears that at the end the plate has worn off - common with putting wet swords back into the scabbard without wiping. The base metal would not be brass - so, the gold appearance could be from it being dipped in gold to disguise the damage. I am only surmising on this - I would like to hear Jonathan's opinion - and also Mr. Wilkinson-Latham, whose book on swords you should buy.

Jonathan - would you ask him (RWL that is ) if the Crown remained the same throughout the life of this pattern of Rifles sword ?

Mervyn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi. I would say that the one I show is the original nickel blade. A little corrosion around the guard - happens with getting wet and not cleaning - 'bad batman !'

I don't think chrome existed as far back as the 1880's - however many firms used silver plating as the officers liked the gleam. Looking at yours Will, it appears that at the end the plate has worn off - common with putting wet swords back into the scabbard without wiping. The base metal would not be brass - so, the gold appearance could be from it being dipped in gold to disguise the damage. I am only surmising on this - I would like to hear Jonathan's opinion - and also Mr. Wilkinson-Latham, whose book on swords you should buy.

Jonathan - would you ask him (RWL that is ) if the Crown remained the same throughout the life of this pattern of Rifles sword ?

Mervyn

Actually the colour is decieving, the flash did this. The blade is all chrome except where you noticed at the ricasso. There is small corrosion shaped like worms or roots under the plating. The plating is good and very thin as the etching is still crisp and visible. The satin background of the etching has stayed satin even with plating, it has taken on the same texture. I believe the plating was done along time ago. One of RWL books mentions a plating/gilt shop in the mid 150's, but does not elaborate to say whether it is the blue and gilt or possibly chrome, nickel, or silver. I have compared the sword to others plated in nickel and this one is chrome, a whiter colour.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Blog Comments

    • Sounds great other than the Orange & Mango squash only because I prefer cran-pomegranate juice.
    • "(...) disgusting herbal concoction (...)" I took note of this description, to enrich my otherwise limited, English "Wortschatz"...
    • At work the standard indian tea such as PG tips is referred to as chimp tea. This goes back to the days when we had a Spanish girl working for us whose command of the English language was extremely limited. One lunch she said she was going to the shop could she get anything. I asked if she could get a pack of tea bags. She returned with some disgusting herbal concoction. I tried to explain what was required but without success. I then remembered PG tips had a picture of a chimpanzee on the packe
    • When I read Lapsang Souchong i decided to post something about these Tea . Many years ago I dont  know about Lapsang until I read James Michener book Centennial and the description of the savour of the Lapasang as a mix of tar and salt & smoked made me proof . It was exact ! and i liked it since then .
    • I have been known to drink Lapsang Souchong and Tea, Earl Grey, Hot... both "without pollutants". I normally have one mug of coffee in the morning, then spend the rest of the day drinking Orange & Mango squash (by the pint). Then evening comes and it's a pint, followed by red wine with dinner and sometimes a drop of Laphroaig afterwards.
×
×
  • Create New...