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BRITISH ROYAL NAVAL SWORD


Mervyn Mitton
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I think it is disappointing that such a major Forum as ours seems to have so few postings under edged weapons. Swords and bayonets are an important subject and the variety of patterns and Countries is endless. Even if you don't have some of your own - next time you visit a museum take a few photos of special ones from your Country to show-us.

The one I am posting today is a British Naval Officer's and with the Royal Cypher for King George V th. - we know that it dates between 1910 and 1935. Since it is presently in South Africa there is the possibility that it was for a South African Naval Officer - however, their pattern off dress and equipment at that time was almost identical to the British and without a name I doubt we will have an answer. One clue might be the proof mark - we have established in previous postings that S.A. swords were often supplied by Trading Importers - and this one one does lack a name from a major maker.

The sword is of the 1827 pattern when standard regulations were laid down - and conforms to the change in Crowns made in 1901 , when the Imperial or, Tudor Crown replaced the St. Edward's Crown. In 1952 Queen Elizabeth reverted to this last style.

The fittings are always brass - which were gilt, however, over the years this tends to wear off - not a problem if you are prepared to polish the brass. The white skin of the grip is White Ray - this is more 'nobbly' than shark skin and gives a good grip. We must always remember, that whilst these swords are today purely ceremonial, in earlier days they were weapons of offence.

Naval Swords are always sought after - either by collectors or, new young officers. A new dress sword today is somewhere in the region of approx. £5-6000 ($8000-9600)

I look forward to comments.

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A valid point Mervyn...we have many many bayonets in the museum but they are all in storage. I am hoping one day they will see the light in the form of display!

Your sword is is very good condition - what is the lozenge-like shape on the tip of the scabbard? Don't think I've seen that before - just for aesthetics or any practical use?

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Rather off-topic, but speaking of things naval, I went to look round HMS Belfast last weekend. I did not realise that it was commonplace to invert the ship's bell and use it as a font in the chapel to baptize infants born to seamen! I wonder how old that practice is/was?

Nice close-up pictures by the way.

H

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Thankyou both for comments. Helen, the purpose of the flattened piece around the base tip is to protect the sword from wear when it is worn at the 'trail' in full ceremonial dress. I suspect in this case the designer thought he would smarten it up by carrying it around the whole of the base. I now look forward to seeing ALL of your six hundres bayonets....

Very old custom and very common. Remember the old saying - ' son of a gun ' often the only place when the local 'comforts section ' came on board !

Edited by Mervyn Mitton
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