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Mervyn Mitton

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The British have used a particular style of cavalry sword for many years. The more recent ones have been the 1853 pattern - which had a three bar guard - and from 1864 a bowl style guard with a curved blade. The last type was the 1899, which unlike the earlier ones did not have a Maltese Cross cut into the bowl.

The problem with a 'slashing' sword is that the law of physics comes into things - forward momentum of the sword coming down + speed of the horse at a gallop = falling off. During the Boer War this happened many times - the worst occasion being when an entire Troop of 23 men fell off. The Boers must have been very surprised - probably thought it was another 'evil' plan by the Uitlanders !

When the War concluded the British War Office set-up a Royal Commission to look at the problem - and in 1908 their new design was unveiled. Unlike the previous curved swords , this was thin, and pointed - and long. Generally regarded as one of the best balanced swords this was a formidable weapon. Apart from it's fighting abilities it also gave us those popular gymkhana events - tent pegging and collecting the hanging rings.

The officers' version was introduced in 1912 and is the same apart from the bowl guard. This one has a Celtic intertwined design - and a better grip.

This morning I purchased the sword shown here - I could see the similarities with the 1908 immediately - however, it is obviously not British. There is some wording on the blade and I think I recognise the last word as a Dutch town - it would be nice to have confirmation of this ?

I am showing a number of pictures of the sword , together with the 1908 for comparison. The dirt of ages is engrained on the Dutch one - this is prior to a light cleaning.

Edited by Mervyn Mitton
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Thankyou Odin - I thought I recognised the name - however, it is always good to be sure. That was a very interesting link and many of the guards are similar with the cutouts - I could not see this pattern with the thin , long scabbard ? Perhaps it was made for use elsewhere ?

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