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Swords were carried into battle in 1914!


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“Mad Jack Churchill†carried a sword into battle in WW2!

 

Lieutenant Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming "Jack" Churchill, DSO & Bar, MC & Bar, nicknamed Fighting Jack Churchill and Mad Jack, was a British soldier who fought throughout the Second World War armed with a longbow, bagpipes, and a basket-hilted Scottish broadsword. He is known for the motto "any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed."

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That first photo of Gordon Highlander officers, showing a date of August, 1914, cannot be correct; look at the bare trees & foliage in the background. Likely November-December, rather than late summer.

The photo of the mounted & dismounted Scottish Rifles officers is well known, and was ostensibly taken around the Battle of Le Cateau.

 

                                                                                                                                                                               BobS

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I'm glad you said 'ostensibly'.  It is amazing what percentage of the WWI photos, especially early in the war, were staged, and often not even very convincingly, for propaganda purposes or because the photographer had a particular look or shot in mind.  It gets discouraging, when one is looking for evidence of a specific uniform piece or something, to discover how often the camera does in fact lie!

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You may be correct, gents.  :blush:  It was perhaps badly worded, as my comment was meant to be more a general observation than a critique of that photo in particular.  The word brought the thought to moind, and as the old sweats on the forum will tell you, I digress at the drop of a hat! ;)

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In my gallery I have a photo of the US 2nd Cavalry showing them sporting 'Patton' cavalry swords, with the caption

 

"Second Dragoons distinguished themselves. In April 1918, a scant three weeks after leaving the United States, the Second Cavalry found itself landed in France in the Toul sector. After being initially deployed to perform military police duties and to manage horse remount depots, the Regiment was the only American unit used as horse cavalry during the war. A provisional squadron formed by Troops B, D, F, and H was the last element of the Regiment ever to engage the enemy as mounted horse cavalry.

The final Allied offensive, the Meuse-Argonne campaign lasted from 26 September to 11 November 1918. The Second Cavalry was attached to the American 35th Division, playing an important role as the left flank element of eight divisions and later as the main effort between the Meuse River and the Argonne Forest. The men from the Regiment were commended for "...accomplishing their tasks with fearlessness, courage, and disregard for danger and hardship."

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sword with leather covered scabbard for use in the field, but also the not so commonly seen leather covered guard.

King George V cypher on blade & also on the guard by the look of it - I wanted to check if the cyphrs on guard & blade matched or if the manufacturer had used an obsolete King Edward VII guard with the KG V blade as the guard wouldn't be seen).

 

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It looks like ER to me.  I held up my Geo V specimen as a compairison against the x-ray of yours and noticed there seems to be neither a "V" or "VI" for one of the King Georges and there would appear to be an "E" in the scroll.  From the photo it looks like the King's crown which seems odd to me.  I hope others, perhaps with better eyesight, will comment.

 

Regards

Brian

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I see the King's crown. I wondered about the 'ER' or 'GR' issue having taken a batch of photos. "Everyone" seems to go for 'GR' but I'm not sure one way or the other.

I think there's a 'V' or 'V*?'' in the centre of the cypher  perhaps more visible in other photos.

I it's 'ER' then either the manufacturer has used up an obsolete component knowing it won't be visiblevisible on a new sword. or the owner's replaced the blade because of damage? I don't think he'd replace it just to "change the kings". Then again how practical would it be to change the blade if the basket's fitted with the leather?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Covering the Guard with leather was a means to stop reflections.   With the blade in such good condition and the G V R Cypher clear,  it would seem unlikely that it has been re-hilted.   I would say that you have a nice example of the 1st WW Infantry sword.

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I was thinking more along the lines of the possibility of the sword being made with an obsolete King ERVII hilt & King GRV blade Merv. as the hilt would be permanently covered.

The covered hilt was presumably as a result of lessons learned in South Africa.

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Aussiesoldie

There is a reference in a novel by W.E.B. Griffin to the fact that the US military, at the outbreak of WWII shipped out 5 or 10 thousand sabres for the 26th Cavalry [Phillipine Scouts].  They never got farther than Australia where, after the 26th ate their horses and went into Japanse captivity, they were ground down to make machetes.  Always meant to fllow that story up.  It's one of those that sounds too bizarre to have been made up! 

 

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