Object Title

Sword and Scabbard

Sword and Scabbard

Date

1871-1899

Object Number

IX.1485

Provenance

Probably found un-numbered in store in 1976 (cf. IX.1486) though not specifically stated in typed inventory entry. From the Royal Ordnance Depot, Weedon (Northamptonshire), latterly (1928 cattalogue) nos 178, 179 (1927 catalogue no. 104). (Latterly Royal Armouries Loan [CL]90, returned about 1958).

Physical Description

Brass stirrup-shaped guard - the end, which expands to cover the end of grip (in place of a pommel), has a raised vesica-shaped reinforce around the tang-end; D-shaped langets; and a rear quillon with a discoid terninal. Black-painted, ribbed iron grip.
Curved single-edged with a h a rounded hatchet point; and a broad fuller by the back, extending from the 18 mm (11/16 in.) long ricasso to approx. 200 mm (8 in.) of the tip.
Scabbard of black leather with brass mounts. The locket has an apron on the outside on which is mounted an oval frog-stud. The locket is decorated with transverse incised (or impressed) lines, two pairs on the outer face, approx. 7 mm (2.75 in.) from the mouth, and a single line on the inner face, near the base. The locket is secured to the body of the scabbard by two brass rivets through the lower portion of the apron and two similar towards the bottom of the front and back edges. The chape is of tapering form, having a flat bottom and the upper edge of inner and outer face slopes downwards from front to rear and has decorative cusps. Both faces are decorated by transverse incised (or impressed) lines, two pairs near the mouth and a single one near the base.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Sword: Overall length: 885 mm (34.8 in.), Blade length: 760 mm (29 15/16 in.), Blade width, by hilt: 39 mm (1 9/16 in.), Scabbard: Length: 770 mm (30 5/16 in.), Weight: Sword: 965 g., Scabbard: 530 g.

Inscriptions and Marks

Sword:5On guard, near root of quillon: stamped, 89; 1/92 (issue dates?).5On grip, on outside: in white paint, 178 (a Weedon inventory number).5On blade, on outside: on ricasso (under langet): stamped, broad arrow over ISD.5On spine, near hilt, stamped: MOLE; broad arrow over I.Scabbard:5On locket (on mouth rim): 2.92 (February 1892); H.K.R.16 (probably the Hong Kong Regiment - see Notes); 179 (a Weedon inventory number).5On leather: in manuscript, on paper label (pasted on), 'No 179 / Scabbard Sword / Havildars or drummers' (a Weedon label); in white paint, 179 (a Weedon inventory number).

Associations

Bibliographic References

P.J. Lankester and G. Rimer, 'A 19th-century chest of arms', Royal Armouries Yearbook, III, 1998, pp. 77-108, at pp. 87, fig. 8c (scabbard only), 88, fig. 9c, 94-96 (identification, makers and date), 99, 101 (brief catalogue entry).

Notes

Apparently the same 'pattern' as IX.1486, except that the frog stud on the latter is on what would normally be the inside of the scabbard (for carrying the sword in the Indian fashion with the cutting edge of the blade to the front). The blade is apparently same as on British Mountain Artillery sword, pattern 1896 (for this pattern and for some other swords with similar blades, see IX.1300, under 'Notes'). Swords of this or a very similar pattern are shown in a photograph of Indian troops assembling a mountain gun, datable to about 1897 (A.J. Guy and P.B. Boyden (eds), 'Soldiers of the Raj. The Indian Army 1600-1947', London, National Army Museum, p. 150, illus.). A group of 14 swords (IX.7590-7603) were apparently originally the same as IX.1485 and IX.1486, but now have shortened blades and similarly shortened (Mountain Artillery Mk II) scabbards. A very similar sword with an un-cut-down blade and a round-ended (possibly also Mountain Artillery Mk II) scabbard, and with the same R.P (Rawalpindi) mark on the rear quillon as occurs on some of the present group (e.g. IX.7591), was brought into the Australian War Memorial (museum) for an opinion in about 1997 (see letter and photos on present inv. file.). Another, offered for sale at Wallis and Wallis, 12 & 13 June 2001 (Sale 447), Lot 1033 (illus., Pl. 19), was marked F A (Ferozepore Arsenal - cf. IX.7588) and 9.99 (September 1899). Very similar, but earlier and with slightly different blades, are the 12 swords in the chest of arms (IX.5413-5424, - q.v.). IX.4054 is a scabbard very similar to the present on except that the frog stud is on the inside (as on IX.1486); IX.4055 is a generally similar scabbard with the frog stud is on the outside, but it is slightly shorter and the lower, outside edge of the locket is rounded (similar to the Mountain Artillery pattern but without the raised seam)
The Weedon label identifies the sword as for 'havildars and Drummers'. An added note on the Imperial War Museum registers relating to IX.1486 says, 'Havildar or Indian Army Sergeant'. A sword for Havildars and Drummers was apparently approved in February 1916 (see Lankester and Rimer 1998: 96). A similar sword is illustrated in R. Wilkinson-Latham, 'Mr Wilkinson of Pall Mall', London, 2 vols, Anna Valley, 2000, II, p. 2 (below, left), captioned 'Havildar and Drummers'.
The maker's name, Mole, on its own was probably used over too long a period to assist in further defining the date of this sword (see Lankester and Rimer 1999: 95).
D.F. Harding (visit 13/08/99) suggested the HKR on the scabbard mouth stood for the Hong Kong Regiment, many of whom were recruited in India. The adjacent mark 2.92 probably indicates that the sword was issued in February 1892 (see letter of 28 May 1999 from David Harding, on inv. file re similar marks on IX.7595 and others; observation by Keith Miller 15/03/01). Keith Miller also commented that the location of the frog stud in the normal position on the outside of the scabbard, (cf. frog stud on inside on IX.1486 in the Indian manner), may be because the Hong Kong Regiment wore their swords in the normal European manner (PJL). On the same basis, the marks 89 and 1/92 on the guard may also be issue dates.