Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NC, U.S.A.
"If a Sikh used it...it's Sikh!"
Exactly, Jim! Unlike all the other military branches in Europe and the colonies, specific naval models were rare, with most weapons being those convenient enough to use in the tight quarters of a ship (hangers, hunting swords, dirks). There were virtually no model patterns until the start of the 19th c. ! Officers carried whatever tickled their fancy, private merchant vessels placed orders with local blacksmiths to put together primitive cutlasses in batches to fit out their ship (private purchase weapons, as previously mentioned, could have any one of a combination of hilts, blades, etc). Likewise, don't even get me started on pirate swords!!! As all manner of riffraff sailed with the Saley Rovers, one might see tulwars, shamshir, baskethilts, etc, all on the same crew! Pirates picked up what they could in their raids and didn't discriminate. With no rules telling them what they could carry, anything was fair game.
Getting back to the lion hilt, however, it is well documented that naval officers and army officers on 'both sides of the pond' used them. In Boarders Away, Gilkerson pictures one with provenance. The Maritime Museum in Greenwich likewise has some interesting examples...