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1897 British Infantry Sword & Owner's Story


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John Edgar Dent was born in Dec. 1863 at Hendon, Middlesex. He attended Sandhurst Military College in 1882   graduating as a Lieutenant. He was commissioned and posted 2nd Battalion, King’s Own Borderers, in Gibraltar in Mar, 1883. He would have purchased his first sword upon commissioning, a 1845 Infantry sword. The 2nd Battalion return to England in June, 1886 and was renamed King’s Own Scottish Borderers in 1887.

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 In July, 1888, his battalion embarked for Egypt, joining the Suakin Field Force in Dec. 1888. Lt. Dent saw combat service in Soudan & Frontier. He  fought at Gemaizah (Medal with Clasp & Khedive’s Star) and at Toski (Mentioned in Dispatches & 4th Class Medal of the Medjidie with Clasp). He was Wounded In Action in April, 1889 whilst part of the Upper Nile River Expedition.

In 1890, the battalion embarked for India being barracked at Umbalia and at Meean Meer. In January of 1891 he was posted to the 1st  Battalion and return to England, being promoted to Captain in Feb. 1891. Capt. Dent probably replaced his worn blade with a new pattern blade to commemorate his promotion.  On the 1st  Sept. 1894 he was posted to the 3rd Battalion in Dumfries, Scotland as Adjudant, HQ Coy. 3rd (Militia) Battalion.

 

In Jan. of 1900 he was posted to the 1st Battalion and embarked for Sth Africa, 26th January. He saw combat service between 1900 to 1901 with the 1st Battalion served in the Boer War taking part in the action at Paardeberg, the Traansval & at the Battle of Rustenberg in October 1900, and in May the following year at Vlakfontein & Lambrechtfontein. He was eligible for the Queen’s South Africa Medal and the King’s South Africa Medal with Paarderberg, Johannesburg, and Cape Colony clasps.

 Capt. Dent return to England in 1901 and is promoted Major upon retirement in 1903. His sword is re-hilted with a Edward VII hilt, perhaps as a gift for service.  He dies on the 18th Sept. 1906, single and well off.

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I have always loved that pattern of sword, though I've never had enough spare change in one pile to own one.  A very elegant design and I think the brown leather scabbard a nice understated touch, as compared to the shiny steel version.  

Thanks for sharing.

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Very nice sword and the history that comes with it makes it a one of a kind. He may have had the final guard installed as the Pattern 1897 guard had the inner edge turned down to protect the uniform from wear commonly caused by the guard of the Pattern 1895. I would assume that he anticipated that he would only be using the sword for ceremonial purposes during his retirement. Not that it couldn't have had the guard changed as a gift, that is totally possible. It also, of course depicts the cipher of the reining monarch of that time. The leather scabbard is the field issue and I would bet there was a steel version in his possession for parade duty. 

Thanks for sharing this exceptional sword and its owner's most interesting history with us aussiesoldier.

Regards

Brian

 

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