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Old 5th May 2014, 07:32 PM   #1
Matt Easton
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Default Indian script on British sword

Hi guys,
I was wondering whether the following script means anything to anyone here? I believe that the letters equal I-F-E (probably) in phonetic English? Perhaps these equate to initials (though I cannot find anyone to match those initials in the regiment this sword comes from - the Coldstream Guards, circa 1855).
However, perhaps someone here knows some other meaning for those letter together?

Thanks,
Matt
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Old 6th June 2014, 01:35 PM   #2
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This doesn't mean anything to anyone here?
Regards,
Matt
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Old 6th June 2014, 03:40 PM   #3
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Hi Mat, I think they are the initials of the original owner, written in Sanskrit. I'm pretty sure you have the orientation upside down It may be PTD but I do not know the grammar of written Sanskrit. It's a very nice sword, did it come out of Canada?


Cheers,

Greg

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Old 6th June 2014, 04:13 PM   #4
Matt Easton
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Hi Greg - yes my assumption has generally been that it was the owner's initials, but I was coming up with IPI or IPE, which matches none of the possible owners (there only being a limited number in the Coldstream Guards in 1855/1856).
PTD is interesting - may I ask how you arrived at that possibility?
As for coming out of Canada, it was part of Gary Bates' collection, yes. I have a couple of swords that were his and a friend of mine has about 5.

Cheers,
Matt
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Old 6th June 2014, 05:17 PM   #5
Jim McDougall
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Hi Matt,
Extremely nice sword, and especially so with Coldstream Guards provenance. I am curious how the c.1855 date has been determined. I have been under the impression that the brass proof plug with the Star Of Solomon surround became used a bit later and began with Wilkinson using them. The reason I bring this up is that perhaps searching regimental roles for these initials in later period might be required.

I believe the members here with skills in Sanskrit can probably help with the letters, and orientation can probably be determined by some online help looking at Sanskrit alphabetic characters.

It would be most interesting as well to know more on postings of the Coldstream Guards in India, and what areas they were in as well as what engagements and events might correspond.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 6th June 2014, 05:28 PM   #6
Matt Easton
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Hi Jim,
The Coldstream Guards never went to India, but they fought in the Crimean War in 1854-56 and a lot of the officers purchased new swords (and revolvers) around that time as a result. However, some officers in the Coldstream Guards did have connections to India, having served there with other regiments previously or having family connections there.

In terms of the dating, all Wilkinson officer's swords from 1854 are numbered, as is this one, and the number dates it to 1855. In many cases the record books are able to identify the purchaser of the sword, going all the way back to 1854 when the records and numbers started, but in this case the particular book that this number was contained in has been destroyed by flooding! Wilkinson were making swords from 1844 onwards and at least from 1845 were using the interlinked triangles (not a Star of David ). As Wilkinson had a formidable reputation and Crown support, other makers started copying the motif from the 1850's onwards.

Going back to this specific sword - because the original record ledger was destroyed I only have two leads to identifying the onwer - firstly these Sanskrit characters shown above and secondly the engraving on the other side of the blade which shows a ducal/viscount coronet over interlinked letters (which appear to be the letter D mirrored).
I can view all the officers of the Coldtream Guards from Hart's Army Lists, which are viewable on archive.org

Thanks for the help,
Matt
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Old 6th June 2014, 06:42 PM   #7
Ibrahiim al Balooshi
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This is in Hindi and says i P ii but I have no idea what that means...
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Old 6th June 2014, 06:56 PM   #8
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Old 6th June 2014, 07:05 PM   #9
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Hi Matt,
Thank you for that detail, which gives better perspective on the dates in which these markings and serial numbers were used by Wilkinson. Its been quite some time since I collected British swords and that info is truly helpful. I believe if you can reach Robert Wilkinson-Latham who is on SFI he can help with the number and though the book you indicate was destroyed maybe he has other resources. I wish he was here on our forum

Interesting that this sword may well have Crimean associations, or at least been in use at the time. It is true that many British officers had Indian service at the time of the war, in fact Nolan, of Light Brigade fame had been in India prior to his attachment to the cavalry in the Crimea.

Thank you Ibrahiim for noting the read on the characters inscribed. I wonder if this could be an acronym or acrostic for some sort of motto or something related to the officers possible Indian service earlier or as indicated other connections.

All the best,
Jim
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Old 6th June 2014, 08:51 PM   #10
Andreas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Easton
Hi Greg - yes my assumption has generally been that it was the owner's initials, but I was coming up with IPI or IPE, which matches none of the possible owners (there only being a limited number in the Coldstream Guards in 1855/1856).
PTD is interesting - may I ask how you arrived at that possibility?
As for coming out of Canada, it was part of Gary Bates' collection, yes. I have a couple of swords that were his and a friend of mine has about 5.

Cheers,
Matt

I agree with IPI, or to be more precise, as Ibrahiim noted, ipI = short e, p, long e. If the inscribed characters do indeed represent initials, maybe you should check for EPE (the vowels standing for names starting with the sound E as in England). Could you post a photo of the coronet?
Andreas
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Old 7th June 2014, 07:19 AM   #11
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Many thanks gentlemen.
Yes the Sanskrit letters seemed to be IPI to me, or perhaps IPE. I had not looked into EPE. Unfortunately though, those letters do not match any officer of the Coldtream Guards in the period from 1855 (when the sword blade was made) up until about 1870 (so even assuming the blade could have been made in 1855 and then rehilted if the officer joined the Coldstream Guards at a later date). I am fairly certain though that this hilt is fairly early, as later Coldstream Guards hilts have a different look to them - straighter grip, less prominent pommel and thinner guards. This is an early one, so I suspect the hilt is the same date as the blade and the whole weapon dates to 1855. This is supported by the fact that Foot Guards officers had a penchant for these unusual straight thrusting blades in the 1850's and 60's, but not really later.
In regards to the Viscount coronet and cypher, I'm afraid that my photos are on imageshack and that has gone dead for me! However this aspect of the sword has been discussed at length on SFI ( http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sh...early-Wilkinson ) where Robert Wilkinson-Latham has input. We are fairly sure that the letter is a D, which may relate to Viscount Dangan. Though there are some other options.
Lastly, yes the letters IPI/IPE/EPE may indeed relate to something other than name initials. Name initials are the most obvious, but in Britain at the time these would be incredibly unusual letters to match name initials - there are virtually no first names in use starting with I and none of the Coldstream officers have a name that could even remotely correspond to those letters. So I am left wondering if those three letters relate perhaps to a Latin family motto, or some other more obscure and harder to identify thing.

Many thanks for your help though - it's good to have confirmaton on those letters.

Matt
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Old 7th June 2014, 03:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Hi Matt,
Thank you for that detail, which gives better perspective on the dates in which these markings and serial numbers were used by Wilkinson. Its been quite some time since I collected British swords and that info is truly helpful. I believe if you can reach Robert Wilkinson-Latham who is on SFI he can help with the number and though the book you indicate was destroyed maybe he has other resources. I wish he was here on our forum

Interesting that this sword may well have Crimean associations, or at least been in use at the time. It is true that many British officers had Indian service at the time of the war, in fact Nolan, of Light Brigade fame had been in India prior to his attachment to the cavalry in the Crimea.

Thank you Ibrahiim for noting the read on the characters inscribed. I wonder if this could be an acronym or acrostic for some sort of motto or something related to the officers possible Indian service earlier or as indicated other connections.

All the best,
Jim


Thanks Jim~ It is so annoying as there are usually plenty of Indian people in here looking around ... I'm sure someone will turn up with the answer ...
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Old 9th June 2014, 09:16 AM   #13
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Post The 3 characters

Ibrahim,

Don't be annoyed now ;-) This Indian person is here to help.

Matt:

1. The script should be read from the first photograph posted. Here the characters are placed correctly. The 2nd photograph has the characters upside-down. The 3 characters are from the Devnagiri script, commonly used to write Hindi and other North Indian languages. That being said Sanskrit also uses the same script.

2. Well, I am not a phoneticist and so I will not read them like a phoneticist. They read as 'E-F-EE'. So if I read the characters as a word I will read it as 'Ifee'. The 'E' as the sound of e in Pit. The 'F' as the sound of f in Fun. And the 'EE' as the sound of the longer e in ''eat' or 'feet'

So now if I were you and I'd look for the initials E-F-I because EE may be interpreted as the sound I. Or I'd look for someone his mom called 'Iffy/Ifee'.
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Old 9th June 2014, 10:25 AM   #14
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Many thanks Olikara, this is very useful.
I will let you all know if I find any connections.

Thanks!
Matt
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Old 10th June 2014, 06:50 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olikara
Ibrahim,

Don't be annoyed now ;-) This Indian person is here to help.

Matt:

1. The script should be read from the first photograph posted. Here the characters are placed correctly. The 2nd photograph has the characters upside-down. The 3 characters are from the Devnagiri script, commonly used to write Hindi and other North Indian languages. That being said Sanskrit also uses the same script.

2. Well, I am not a phoneticist and so I will not read them like a phoneticist. They read as 'E-F-EE'. So if I read the characters as a word I will read it as 'Ifee'. The 'E' as the sound of e in Pit. The 'F' as the sound of f in Fun. And the 'EE' as the sound of the longer e in ''eat' or 'feet'

So now if I were you and I'd look for the initials E-F-I because EE may be interpreted as the sound I. Or I'd look for someone his mom called 'Iffy/Ifee'.


No I just looked it up in a dictionary ... and matched it against the Hindu script... i P ii .....I wonder if that was a regimental short form...initials only?... As you say it looks like IFFY...

(It looks a bit iffy to me !! ha !!)

Regards,
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Old 10th June 2014, 06:52 PM   #16
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