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Old 21st October 2017, 06:06 PM   #1
kronckew
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Default RN Officer's sword

Just picked up a royal navy officer's sword, 1827 pattern, LOA 100.1 cm. etching looks a bit worn, bit of pitting, staining. mfg. plate on scabbard throat "Whiteman Outfitter Woolwich". guard, rayskin, wire wrap appear intact. folding portion of guard also looks intact. will post more info on arrival. hopefully more markings visible that may date it.

as an ex USCG officer, been looking for one in reasonable condition (and inside my budget) for a long while now. the early ones, pre 1929, post 1846, appear to be real fighting swords, as opposed to the slender 20c. stainless steel one i had in my kit.
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Old 22nd October 2017, 06:12 AM   #2
M ELEY
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Very nice sword, Wayne! At first, I was hoping I could get an 'RN' sword for my occupation (registered nurse)...sorry, bad pun!

It is great that you can have a piece in your collection that represents your own past occupation. In regards to fighting blades, I had wondered about this myself in the past until i heard early accounts of coastguard patrols in the 19th c. running into smugglers, pirates and, of course, occasionally being used for paramilitary ops. I particularly like the fouled anchor under crown emblem. Nice find!
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Old 22nd October 2017, 08:15 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Very nice sword, Wayne! At first, I was hoping I could get an 'RN' sword for my occupation (registered nurse)...sorry, bad pun!

It is great that you can have a piece in your collection that represents your own past occupation. In regards to fighting blades, I had wondered about this myself in the past until i heard early accounts of coastguard patrols in the 19th c. running into smugglers, pirates and, of course, occasionally being used for paramilitary ops. I particularly like the fouled anchor under crown emblem. Nice find!


thanks, the USCG was an amalgamation of the revenue cutter service, the lighthouse service and the lifeboat service, adding the steamboat inspection service a bit later. in the USA, unlike the UK version, it has always been and still is one of the USA's armed forces. it is also considered a law enforcement agency, unlike the other armed forces. it is the hard core around which the navy forms in time of war.

note the folding guard. the left side of the guard folds down to keep it from rubbing on your uniform and to allow it to hang better. a lot of 19c UK swords had these. when down, it has a hole that engages a stud on the scabbard to keep it from being withdrawn accidentally as the officer boarded enemy vessels or climbed rigging, etc. it had a latch (you can just make it out in the photo) that kept it from flopping about when you had drawn the sword. the spring loaded latch mechanism was a bit fiddly & is sometimes missing. they also sometimes had the hinges braised up along with braising the whole folding bit to the main portion. i shall find out if it all still works when it arrives.

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Old 26th October 2017, 11:01 AM   #4
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sword arrived, along with the book i bought separately. Book is "British Naval Swords and Swordsmanship" by McGrath & Barton, 2013. interesting book, jumps around a lot. it also covers cutlasses, including my UK coast guard cutlass, posted elsewhere here.

as far as i can tell, my sword is late victorian, it says in 1902 they reduced the word width to a max of 7/8 in. (1929 they reduced it even further) tho some 1 in. ones were made post 1902. mine is 1 1/8 in. royal cartouche etching is the later victorian one.blade is sharp and double edged & sharp for about 8 in. from the point rest of the blade, in the etched portion, is dull but not flat. some pitting and staining near the tip, has a ground out rounded nicknear where the lower suspension ring is on the scabbard. no owner's name on blade, just the whiteman info. guard has the late victorian folding guard/retention mechanism, in fine working order. looks like an old warhorse that still wants to charge when it hears the bugle call, but ithat never comes. it's still deadly, warts and all, and rarin' to go. i'll buy it a new sword knot to make it feel better.
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Old 1st November 2017, 06:56 PM   #5
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i bought it some new clothes, a nice RN sword knot.

for some reason lost in time, the powers that be decided to use a two part knot, unlike everybody else, the sword is set up to use this oddball knot. it has two holes drilled thru the guard at the lower part, the separate loop portion is threaded thru the hole from the top then back thru the other hole next to it. the ends are rejoined by a hook/eye and covered with a sliding turks head. it is then poke thru a slot in the finger guard near the pommel where the main portion of the knot is fastened to the loop via a reef knot. the knot is then tied in a figure eight knot with the upper loop of the eight behind the guard, the remainder dangles down. an optional 'court' version is possible with the figure eight knot loop not passing behind the guard, which makes for a longer dangly bit. McGrath & barton indicate that they assume they had a reason for all this, but it was never written down why.

if anyone has an idea as to why this unusual system may have a function, i would appreciate their comments.
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