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Old 21st January 2012, 05:53 AM   #7
Jim McDougall
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
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Hi David,
After hours of 'excavations' here in the bookmobile, Ive plowed through everything I could find on British lances. Found the article I was looking for "The British Lance" by J.D. Chown (Canadian Journal of Arms Collecting, Vol.7 #3, 1974, pp.97-102) but lacks detail, simply specs on patterns. More date found in "Sword, Lance and Bayonet" C.Ffoulkes & E.C.Hopkinson 1938 (repr. 1967). Apparantly earlier lances had langets with attachment screws on both head and foot (butt) intil the 1868 pattern (like yours) where these were affixed with shellac to the shaft (Ffoulkes & Hopkinson p.106).

The 1868 pattern apparantly also called for a male bamboo shaft, which was sometimes difficult to obtain to meet standards with some cases of returning to ash shafts. The M1868 remained the same into later years, but in 1885 the shafts were ash and that became the pattern officially, with the furniture basically the same. This brings in some confusion as we know ash was sometimes substituted on the M1868, while the 1885 was strictly ash.
An experimental pattern in 1895 has long head socket and three slotted holes to affix pennon, but did not become officially adopted in British units. I have seen these however on Indian units' lances from WWI.

The markings are interesting and I think the 'TP' markings possibly have to do with sizes in the sockets for adapting to variations in the bamboo size, there were apparantly 7 head sizes and 4 shoe sizes. I thought there might be possibility that the 'T' was poorly stamped 'I' which would suggest India pattern, but that seems unlikely as the shoes are clearly not that, and the 'E' markings to me of course suggest Enfield Small Arms Factory. The crown and the number '73' (probably year of production) also strongly take away from the India possibility.

While there are no issue marks to regiment, it would seem if 1873 is the production or assembly year, these could have been at least of the type used by the 17th lancers who were sent to South Africa in 1880. They arrived to the area of Rorkes Drift around May, 1880 and on July 4, 1880 near White Umvolosi River near Royal Kraal at Ulundi they charged Zulu warriors at the battle called Ulundi.
In the 2nd Boer War (1899-1902) the 16th lancers were with Lord Roberts at Praetoria and are seen with these type lances in photos. The lance was used by British line regiments in combat was by the 5th lancers at Elandslaagle in South Africa at beginning of 2nd Boer War.

While the lance was officially abolished in 1903 it was somehow reinstated in 1909 until 1927. The lance was used effectively by Indian cavalry regiments in various campaigns and in Palestine in WWI, as well as by British units at Moy (28Aug1914) and Marne (Sept.1914).

The lance is still used by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in their drill performances, and I will never forget seeing one of those some years ago.

I will also never forget when I got my first pair of lances many years ago. I had won them in an overseas auction and when called by customs in Los Angeles to notify me of thier arrival I was so excited I roared off to the airport some 55 miles away without thinking of logistics. I was driving a 1969 Corvette with T tops, so of course these 9 ft.lances were sticking into the air as I 'charged' down the 405 freeway!!! I got the attention of the Highway Patrol as the bewildered officer could not resist asking what these 'spears' were doing sticking out of my car. Luckily he had a sense of humor and off I went

Anyway, I think yours are pattern 1868 as noted, the 73 production year most likely at Enfield, could well have gone to South Africa in either of the instances mentioned or both, but unclear on absence of regimental marks.
Whatever the case....extremely nice!!!!!!

All the best,
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