Thread: Cool Kukri
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Old 16th September 2021, 01:39 PM   #7
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: The Aussie Bush
Posts: 3,385


I am not a paleographist, but I have an undergraduate minor in English with particular reference to the Victorian period. Since you call into question my credentials for commenting on the inscription, I shall elaborate further.

The expression "late 44th G.R." is interesting for a couple of reasons. The use of the word "late" means previous or former. It can be used to describe the last place a person lived (e.g., Mr ..., late of The Strand, London). In another sense, it can refer to someone who has died (e.g., the late Mr ...) but that is not its use here. It is a word that was often found in obituaries of the 19th C and first half of the 20th C when describing a person's last place of employment, but less so today except in a somewhat formal and pedantic sense. In its use, the word "late" is used as a descriptor of someone else, and is not used to describe oneself.

From the use of the word "late" in "late 44th G.R.," we can deduce that the inscription was not composed by the owner, but by someone else to describe the owner. Furthermore, the inscription was written after the gentleman had retired.

Now look at "44th G.R.," which is recognized as the 44th Ghurka Rifles. I have already noted that this name for the regiment post-dated the gentleman's tenure. The presumed owner, a distinguished officer, would never have made such an error, which again points to someone else being responsible for this inscription, and also that the inscription post-dated a change in name to the 44th Ghurka Rifles.

Who was responsible for this inscription and why put it on the blade? I don't know, but the person seems to have had an education that included English as taught in the 19th and early 20th C. There are many reasons why someone may have done this, but one always has to be wary of an attempt to mislead and enhance the value of an item.

Last edited by Ian; 16th September 2021 at 01:55 PM. Reason: spelling
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