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Old 14th April 2017, 12:39 AM   #1
Cathey
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Default British Infantry Dress Sabre 18th Regt of What?

British Infantry Dress Sabre 18th Regt of What?
Date c1837-1850
Overall Length: 33 84.4cm 82 cm in scabbard, 32 sword only
Blade length: 27 68.6 cm
Blade widest point: 1 2.5 cm
Hilt widest point: Cross guard 5 13.4 cm
Inside grip length: 4 10.1 cm
Marks, etc.: Scabbard throat marked 18th Regt

Description
Early 19th century infantry officers dress sabre with brass scabbard. Extremely detailed lions head pommel and backstrap. Ivory grips with incised decoration, curved fullered blade, brass scabbard engraved "18th Regt" at the throat.

General Remarks
Looks like a Victorian Crown in the centre of the cross guard and a Victorian style scabbard. Initially I assumed the Irish 18th Regiment of Foot, however the Indian Army and the East India Company also had 18th Regiments. I have seen two other example of an identical sword attached, however these have leather scabbard with Brass mounts. One of them mentions having the number 10 under the guard.

Any thoughts on what this sword is?
Which 18th Regiment it represents?
What age as it appears non-regulation

Cheers Cathey and Rex.
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Old 14th April 2017, 11:44 AM   #2
thinreadline
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This has the characteristics of a British cavalry officers levee sword and some of those of a Generals or Staff Officers pattern of dress sword . Both of which became 'official in the 1830s but were fashionable though unofficial shortly after the Egyptian campaign which finished in 1801 .The styles of levee swords are extremely varied though lion headed scimitar styles prevail . I cant answer your question re the regimental number . Is the blade not decorated as they usually are , that might give some clue . The picture shows a Lancer Officers Levee Pattern sword post 1832.
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Old 17th April 2017, 06:39 AM   #3
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Default Maybe Cavalry afterall

Hi, you may be onto something with the reference to cavalry not infantry!

I have now found a reference to this sword but with a leather scabbard and fish-skin grip in "The British Cavalry Sword from 1600 by Charles Martyn". The most recent example I have found, again in my database is described as a British lion's head household Windsor castle cavalry dress sword ca 1820, Martyn describes the same sword as Household Cavalry Band Sword. Looks like we are looking a a version of Cavalry Band sword, all I need now is a link to the 18th Regiment somewhere.

The main difference between my sword and the one featured in Martyn's book is the decorated cavalry grip and all brass scabbard. Oh and the engraving marked to the 18th Regiment.

Cheers Cathey and Rex.
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Old 17th April 2017, 08:00 PM   #4
Jim McDougall
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I think Readline had something there with the levee sword for officers, and indeed this seemed more a cavalry option. However, band swords of c. 1820s-50s had full brass scabbards as this, and I had one to the 2nd Dragoons with lion head grip but as with most band swords, entirely cast in brass.
The ivory grips, and with the designs seen on this one seem atypical for band swords, but perhaps with connection to Windsor Castle may have been afforded more latitude in such design.

As far as finding regiments, some of the resources for medal collectors, I think there is a 'badges of the British Army' or some similar title. These usually list each unit and its numeric as well as title listings, as well as amalgamations during reorganizations (I think turn of the century and about 1922) where many units were joined and renumbered.

While obviously not concerned with these modern administrative cases, these references are key to early units, their history and collective battle honors.
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Old 18th April 2017, 07:53 AM   #5
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Hi,
What about the 18th Hussars?
http://britishcavalryregiments.com/38-18H/18H.html

Andreas
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Old 19th April 2017, 03:19 PM   #6
Richard G
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Cathey
The engraving to the scabbard would indicate (to me) that this sword belonged to the regiment rather than an individual officer. This would encompass NCO 'S and band swords. I also believe the 18 Hussars were disbanded between 1821 and 1860.
Are you sure the grip is ivory?
Regards
Richard
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Old 19th April 2017, 05:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G
Cathey
The engraving to the scabbard would indicate (to me) that this sword belonged to the regiment rather than an individual officer. This would encompass NCO 'S and band swords. I also believe the 18 Hussars were disbanded between 1821 and 1860.
Are you sure the grip is ivory?
Regards
Richard



Very good suggestion Richard, and I had not thought of the fact that swords to these regimental components would be effectively 'issue' items but not necessarily to specific individuals as often the case with troopers arms.
It seems that 'band' swords however typically had full brass scabbards, and as mentioned were usually with cast hilts. I am not sure however what case might be for a ranking official in the band.
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Old 25th April 2017, 05:21 AM   #8
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Default British Sabre?

Hi Guys

With the help of a friend we have re-examined the hilt of this sword and now believe it to be Bone not Ivory. Another friend has reminded me that not everything included in print is accurate so I am still looking for another reference besides Martyn to a sword like this with some hope of nailing the band sword question and perhaps regiment down with more certainty.

Cheers Cathey and Rex
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Old 25th April 2017, 11:19 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathey
Hi Guys

With the help of a friend we have re-examined the hilt of this sword and now believe it to be Bone not Ivory. Another friend has reminded me that not everything included in print is accurate so I am still looking for another reference besides Martyn to a sword like this with some hope of nailing the band sword question and perhaps regiment down with more certainty.

Cheers Cathey and Rex


The similar picture which I supplied in my earlier reply above was from Robson 'Swords of the British Army' . So I would ID this as a Cavalry Levee sword rather than a band sword and so would go with the 18th as being the 18th Light Dragoons ( formed 1763 ) ... which became the 18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary's Own) in 1910 .

Last edited by thinreadline : 25th April 2017 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 25th April 2017, 11:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinreadline
The similar picture which I supplied in my earlier reply above was from Robson 'Swords of the British Army' . So I would ID this as a Cavalry Levee sword rather than a band sword and so would go with the 18th as being the 18th Light Dragoons 1763 ( which became the 18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary's Own) in 1910 ) .


The entry relating to this regiment in Hallows excellent book ...
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Old 29th April 2017, 06:00 AM   #11
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Default Cavalry Levee sword?

Hi Threadline

Whilst I would love to think that this is a Cavalry Levee sword rather than a band sword and go with the 18th as being the 18th Light Dragoons, I am stuck on a comment about officers not putting the regiment on the scabbard. My other concern is that if this were an Officer Levee sword, it is unlikely that it would have a plain blade.

However, that being said I would be more than happy if your ID is actually correct, any thoughts out there.

Cheers Cathey and Rex
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Old 29th April 2017, 05:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathey
Hi Threadline

Whilst I would love to think that this is a Cavalry Levee sword rather than a band sword and go with the 18th as being the 18th Light Dragoons, I am stuck on a comment about officers not putting the regiment on the scabbard. My other concern is that if this were an Officer Levee sword, it is unlikely that it would have a plain blade.

However, that being said I would be more than happy if your ID is actually correct, any thoughts out there.

Cheers Cathey and Rex


These are very good points Cathey and I have to admit I tend to agree with your reasoning ..... I shall endeavour to do some more research on this one.
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Old 29th April 2017, 06:15 PM   #13
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I have a lionhead British band sword c. 1820s
The thing is that band sabres seem to have full brass scabbards, and mine is marked 2D and a number. ...2nd dragoons....full brass scabbard.
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Old 3rd May 2017, 10:49 AM   #14
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Cathey,
To sum up, I think this is unlikely to be an officers sword, the blade is plain, the grip is bone, not ivory and it is marked to a regiment and not an individual. At 27in the blade is too short to be a 'fighting' sword, but in many respects it seems to lack the decoration I would expect on a levee sword. Officers may have had their swords marked to their regiment, but I think not in such a simple, 'off-hand', manner.
I think it is unlikely to be the 18th Hussars for the simple reason there were none between 1821 and 1861 which, stylistically, is the period of this sword.
The 18th Foot is a possibility, I was worried about the bone grip, which looks rather ill fitted, but I found this regiment spent most of this period on overseas service, so, anomalies not normally expected in a British sword are possible.
A 27inch blade is consistent with a band sword, whether or not the 18th foot carried a band with them I do not know.
There were a couple of '18th's in the Indian Army but they seem not to have been known as 'Regiment' but 'Native Infantry' etc.
We don't know for certain, but assuming this is genuinely old, a sword for ceremonial use, e.g. a band, belonging to the 18th Regiment of Foot seems to me the most likely attribution.
Regards
Richard
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Old 4th May 2017, 09:07 AM   #15
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Here is a similar sword from Robson 'Swords of the British Army' . It is described as 'mameluke' style. This seems to confirm the band sword ID .
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Old 22nd May 2017, 03:34 AM   #16
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Default Band Sword but what Regiment

Hi Guys

I was tidying up my data base the other day and found another similar sword by an Irish maker listed as a naval hanger. Whilst the cross guard is plain the hilt and grip is almost identical to mine. This one having an Irish connection is pushing me back to the 18th Irish Regiment of foot as the possible owner of this Band Sword. Any thoughts?

Cheers Cathey and Rex
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Old 22nd May 2017, 07:41 PM   #17
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Great tidying Cathey!!! and thank you for the follow up here. I think you have a very compelling point with this discovery. The number of vendors and outfitters in Ireland are often overlooked by collectors except those who frequent references such as Annis & May focused on these records.

It makes sense that an Irish officer or in this case perhaps a member of a band in these British units might have acquired his sword through a local source.
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