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Old 15th September 2010, 01:26 AM   #1
lgcal20ga
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Default First Post, help identify

I found this sworn many, many years ago in my grandmothers attic. My Dad told me he brought it home from Europe at the end of WWII. I did some searching back then, in the library (this was long before the internet) and found a reference book that told me the makers mark was from a British Calvaryman's sworn circa WWI. On the right side of the blade, at the hilt, there are some letters that look like the last three are TER. Can't see what preceded that. I hope you can see the makers mark in the pictures. Any help would be greatly appreciated. The blade is 33.5 inches, fish skin grip. No other markings that I could find. The scabbard has been painted, so any marks on that are covered.

Thanks in advance for any help offered. And no, its not for sale. Been in the family for over sixty years, I think I'll keep it.

Larry
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Old 15th September 2010, 12:45 PM   #2
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Hi

That is a British Heavy Cavalry Officer's Sword 1887 pattern.

So it was in use from 1887 until it got replaced in 1912 by a newer model.

If it was used in WW1 it would be unusual because by then there was a new pattern cavalry officer's sword. However, it is entirely possible that this cavalry officer was still using this older sword.

The name on the sword itself is probably the swordmaker's name. It looks like it might be something like CARTER, ????

It is a nice sword. Congratulations. They are not that commonly found anymore.
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Old 15th September 2010, 08:41 PM   #3
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Hi Larry,
First of all welcome to the forum! and my praise and admiration for your declaration in wanting to keep this family treasure. I hope you will be reading this, as what you have there is indeed a treasure of sorts, and it would be great to learn more of where you dad was in WWII, as this sword has far more history to it than would commonly be thought.

Obviously at first glance, and with the fishskin grip and scroll type hilt, the immediate impression is of the relatively common, as noted, British heavy cavalry swords of 1887, frankly I was inclined to agree initially. However, some things set me off especially that curious stylized eagle at the base of the guard on the hilt. This is entirely atypical of the British hilt marks I have seen, which usually consist of number and letter issuance stamps.

Second, the parallel slots just forward of the scrolled quillon are something not seen in any of these British hilts, these were for sabre knots and were however seen on some European military swords, especially Imperial German.
Which brings me to the quillon scroll, which is furrowed rather than smooth as seen on the British examples.

Also, most British swords of this time were proofed, most commonly with the Star of Solomon device which enclosed either maker or vendor stamps.
This simply has a name stamp.

I checked in "Cut and Thrust Weapons" (Wagner, Prague, 1967) on p.241, #26, this very hilt is shown as a Hessian officers sabre, as used by the 115th-118th regiments officers for the Grand Duke of Hesse, Ernest Louis Charles Albert William (1868-1937). He was the grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, which somewhat explains the British influence here as well as close diplomatic ties with the House of Saxe-Coburg pre-WWI.

The Duke served in WWI, and these four infantry regiments were part of the 18th Army Corps, listed as the 1st through 4th Grand Ducal Hessian Bodyguard Infantry
According to Wagner (op.cit.p.241) these hilts were typically gilt, so it would be interesting to see if traces remain. The officers of the 115th were permitted to have thier hilts stamped (in this position) with a coronet and the Dukes initials. It would seem that the eagle was to one of the other three units, and if I am not mistaken, there is a H near the eagle.

The Duke ruled as the Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine from 1892-1918, which ended if course with WWI. I would say this places the date of this sword nicely within those years, and would explain that it was likely a trophy acquired during WWII. It is of course difficult to determine further the disposition, but I would say this is a rather rare and desirable sword from one of these elite units.

A truly fascinating sword, and I hope this information will be helpful in not only enjoying this heirloom, but pride in remembering your dad.

All the very best,
Jim
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Old 15th September 2010, 11:23 PM   #4
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Out of the park, Jim .

Salaam !
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Old 15th September 2010, 11:25 PM   #5
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Brilliant Jim

Or should I call you Sherlock?

I did notice those oddities too - the double slots, the eagle, the fact that the name of the ricasso was not standard, the fact that there was no etching on the blade.

They niggled at me, but I chose to ignore them.

Then there was the black-painted scabbard, which strictly speaking should have been an English leather field service scabbard.

Not to mention the absence of a proofmark. Not to mention that it was picked up as bringback by an American from the field of battle, and what would he doing with an ally's lost weapon.

In hindsight, none of it added up. However, it looked just like a cavalry officer's sword.

As I said, most impressive investigative work!
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Old 15th September 2010, 11:37 PM   #6
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LOL, Now I looked and thought 'Thats a German Eagle'......
BUT JIM!
Great work! If only you could be 'downloaded' into a phone app!

I'd by a bloody I-Phone then

P.S. Sorry Larry,
Welcome to the forums!
Nice sword btw.

Best Wishes
Gene
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Old 16th September 2010, 12:20 AM   #7
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Hey Guys, thanks so much!!!shucks it was nuthin'
Actually Gene, it was that Prussian eagle that got me just like you said, then I saw those sword knot slots.
Actually I looked at it and everything screamed British, and I hadn't really thought about the close connection in those days with Germany.
I really appreciate the kind words, it was fun research and Im glad I could present a more intriguing review on this, thanks for posting it Larry.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 16th September 2010, 12:53 AM   #8
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Guys I am impressed. I have thought for years, based on my humble research as a young kid (literally) that it was British. I remember my dad telling me he found it in a German farm building. Don't recall if he said house or barn, but it certainly wasn't being used on the "field of battle" when he was there. Talked to my uncle, and I am looking for more information on where exactly my father might have traveled. I do know that he was injured in the Ardennes, right at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge.

Thanks for the warm welcome, and all the information. BTW, the REME Museum of Bershire, England, wrote back to me and they were convinced it was a British Cavalryman's sword as well, so don't feel back about making that assumption.

I will update as more information comes available.

Thanks!!

Larry
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Old 16th September 2010, 02:24 AM   #9
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Hi Jim,

I definitely want that iPhone app, But, I think I see two heads on that chicken . That looks Like a Hapsburg eagle. Look on Pg 422 Plate 52. I think this is a Austrian Officers model 1850, Made by the Viennese firm Mitter 1840-1860.

All the Best
Jeff

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Old 16th September 2010, 02:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff D
Hi Jim,

I definitely want that iPhone app, But, I think I see two heads on that chicken . That looks Like a Hapsburg eagle. Look on Pg 422 Plate 52. I think this is a Austrian Officers model 1850, Made by the Viennese firm Mitten 1840-1860.

All the Best
Jeff


Auughghh! Jeff, ya got me!!!!!!! Andy Warhol syndrome.......but I got a little more than 15 minutes
I need better glasses, and couldnt see the second head on the chicken! but the illustration is spot on as you note.
I'll hand ya the trophy, but still think my story would make a better movie !!
Larry, its still a beauty of a sword, and the Austrian ones are not common as the British ones.
Im still wondering about that H that seems adjacent to the eagle, and the double head eagle marking. I believe Hesse did side with Austria in the conflicts earlier in the 19th century against Prussia. Still a glimmer of hope for Hesse

Good job Jeff, you got good radar, as I always said!!

All the best,
Jim

Last edited by Jim McDougall : 16th September 2010 at 03:20 AM.
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Old 16th September 2010, 03:00 AM   #11
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http://books.google.com/books?id=pV...epage&q&f=false


The link came up when I Googled 1850 Austrian Officer Sword. The picture on page 15 (explanation is on page 14) identifies the one in the middle as an officers model 1850, and it very well could be exact match. Has the sword knot slots and the same scrolled quillon.

Is that the same sword?

Larry
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Old 16th September 2010, 03:01 AM   #12
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Hi Jim,

I still want to load your 'sword brain' into my iPhone, of course the phone would need more memory.

All the Best
Jeff
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Old 16th September 2010, 03:14 AM   #13
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Thanks Jeff , actually it looks like the sword brain thing is more of a team effort here, so yeah, it would need a lots of memory.

Correction on my previous post, it was in the War of 1866 that Hesse sided with Austria against Prussia, and it seems interesting that the Hesse pattern is so much like the Austrian. At least that gives some good perspective on the influence. This has been an interesting exercise in these swords of the Austrian and Imperial German armies though, its great to learn more !!!

Its always great to be posting with ya Jeff!!!! Its been a while,
All the best,
Jim
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Old 16th September 2010, 03:15 AM   #14
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Ahhhh...now this is why I just love the Forum. Absolutely an incredible ID. I think we all know how good it feels when we can pin-point these tricky pieces. Excellent job, Jim! Now, where is my iphone-
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Old 16th September 2010, 03:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Ahhhh...now this is why I just love the Forum. Absolutely an incredible ID. I think we all know how good it feels when we can pin-point these tricky pieces. Excellent job, Jim! Now, where is my iphone-


Thanks Mark, it really has been a great ride....and Jeff has got it spot on. You're right, thats what the forum is about, and its these kinds of posts that make it fun.
Larry...you still out there???

All the best,
Jim
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Old 16th September 2010, 08:36 AM   #16
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just a small remark from someone living in Hesse...
The map posted by Jim shows the post WW2 state Hessen.
The "Grossherzogtum Hessen und bei Rhein (Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine)" looked somewhat different:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Duchy_of_Hesse

Best Regards,
Thilo
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Old 16th September 2010, 08:38 PM   #17
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I wanted to add here, I think this instance has presented a new axiom;
'...dont worry about the chickens eggs, make sure you count the heads!'

Thilo, thank you for the update on that map ! Its good to hear from someone out there in Hesse. I wanted to give some geographic perspective and it helps to have accurate information, I hadnt noticed the dates on this, and there were probably lots of different boundaries in the times we're discussing.

All best regards,
Jim

PS, while on the accuracy topic, plz note out there we know we're talkin eagles here, its just metaphor
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Old 16th September 2010, 09:42 PM   #18
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Thanks to all of you. Jim, I am still out here, but as a newbie on the forum, my posts have to go thru moderator editing before being viewed by all.

Found out thru all this and talking to my Uncle Tony that my Dad served with the First Infantry, 26th Regiment, F Company. (I knew about the First Infantry part, the Big Red One). After returning to Germany after the Bulge, he did a short stint as a guard at the Nuremberg Trials. My Uncle remembers my Dad saying that he slept on a truck all the way thru France when he arrived in Europe, some time after the invasion. He was wounded in the Ardennes Forest near Achen, I believe, and then spent a few weeks in England in the hospital before going back. Still don't have any idea where exactly he found the sword.

Thanks again for all the information, and finding out what this sworn truly is. If you try the link I posted above, there is a picture of what looks like the exact same sword model in a book on Austrian Military Arms.

Larry
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Old 17th September 2010, 12:35 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
I wanted to add here, I think this instance has presented a new axiom;
'...dont worry about the chickens eggs, make sure you count the heads!'


PS, while on the accuracy topic, plz note out there we know we're talkin eagles here, its just metaphor




Jeff
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