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1897 Pattern British Infantry Officers Sword

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Swords156 of 253Wided bladed takouba swordWhat is the? Yes, I know, it's a sword, but from where? Age?
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Posted 4 years ago


(236 items)

This is a 1897 pattern British Infantry Officers sword, this would have been made by Wilkinson in the UK and exported to India and retailed by Walter Locke & Co. Ltd. of Calcutta Lahore Delhi, for the British Army in India. The pierced steel hilt has the letters GRI on it for George Regina India and this is also etched on the blade. It has a shark skin and wire grip, a fuller running most of the length of the blade, and no edge on the blade. The scabbard is pressed steel with a leather cover, mine has the has lost the leather loop and knot missing from the the hilt of the sword.

I did fencing at school and always fancied having a sword, so a few years ago I treated myself to this one. As a fencing sword this is pretty useless as it is so blade heavy. I'm pretty big and can just about control the point, but a lighter sword could easily knock it away and get me before I could recover. As a weapon this is designed for sticking it through people and killing them. It has no blade just point. After lots of debate in the army through the 19th Century about blade or point, point won out. I think the inability of blades to hack through Russian Great Coats in the Crimea sealed the fate for bladed weapons in the British Army. This is also nice and long and you could probably out reach a soldier coming at you with a bayonet. Isn't it ironic that they closed the debate for point just about the time swords became obsolete on the battle front.

I would like to know if it is George IV or George V. It could be either, as I am sure they were churning these out during WWI and a lot would have been passed down.


  1. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
    Most of the western world has considered sharpened blades as barbaric. They were still great for breaking bones etc. without sticking somebody. Use of bayonets was an act of desperation & opposing soldiers often refused to actually use them against each other by mutual agreement. According to Turner Kirkland, founder of Dixie Gun Works, There is no record of a bayonet wound during the Amer. War For Southern Independence.
  2. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 4 years ago
    Is there a serial number on the spine near the hilt? That number can be researched with the Wilkinson Company to determine date of manufacture and details of sale.

    Actually, GRI would be George Rex, Imperator; meaning George King (of the UK) and Emperor (of India). The sword could be as late as just before Indian Independence (1947), George VI still ruling at that time and the Model 1897 still being the current regulation pattern sword, though relegated to more ceremonial uses by then.

    Blunder my friend; the amount of use of the bayonet in the “recent unpleasantness” is still debated. Here’s a nice summary:

  3. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
    Crisnp, as we weren't there in days of old, we can only speculate & read other people's experiences & speculations. My speculation is that the bayonet was instructed for use mainly against cavalry by planting the butt of your weapon in the ground and letting the horse impale itself in it. I've read the training instructions on this somewhere in the distant past. I've also read that the allies had to rotate the troops to diff. sections during WWI because they became too friendly with the enemy with whom they would agree not to use such as bayonets against each other. Easy to understand in stagnant trench combat.
    Hope we aren't in some un-winable correspondence here. Soldiers are very prone to exaggerations after the fact. Turner Kirkland did serious research in the records before he stated anything. Since he has died & I am not inclined to research other claims, I will remain in the middle & hope that somebody comes along that can present valid records. I have done a lot of research in my life-time & only accept official records & then with reserve. "Winners of wars write the history books".
  4. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 4 years ago
    Blunder, I don't want to turn things negative either. I enjoy your posts, and hope you feel the same about mine. As you say, we were not there and even the first hand accounts can be questioned with the passage of time.

    The link I posted simply shows that there are many people who disagree with Kirkland's research, and make valid points to the contrary.

  5. lovedecanters lovedecanters, 4 years ago
    My father started his army career in the Light Infantry in the 1950s, and from what he told me, they were psyched up to charge like crazy men and by the time they got to their objective would have been quite happy to stick their bayonets into any one foolish enough to still be there. Maybe it's just the mentality of the light infantry to go fast and run on adrenalin.
  6. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 4 years ago
    Which regiment, lovedecanters? I've always had a special fondness for the light infantry.

    There were many units and whole armies that prided themselves in the "Spirit of the Bayonet." From what I’ve read, French military thinking still favored the bayonet assault right up until the opening of WWI. The US Army removed bayonet training in the 1970s, but re-introduced it to basic training in the 1980s more for its psychological and morale building elements than utility.
  7. lovedecanters lovedecanters, 4 years ago
    My father was a farm boy from County Durham and was drafted in 1956 into the Durham Light infantry. He was then shipped out to Jamaica and at some point was switched to the Duke of Cornwalls. At some point he became a company radio man, lost his Lee Enfield and was issued with a Tommy Gun. He described this as one down from dispatch rider, which was considered the coolest job in the Light Infantry as you didn't have to match at 120 paces a minute in the blistering heat. During one exercise he almost lost his legs, as he charged up a hill and at the top nearly jumped into the trench they were firing wooden bullets from a water cooled Vickers into. At the end of his 2 years draft he decided not to go back to the farm (big surprise), but decided being trained to run towards firing machine guns was fundamentally wrong so joined the Royal Army Medical Corp.
    Whilst in the RAMC, he trained as a sniper, did mountain and arctic warfare training annually through the 70s, could drive tracked vehicles and heavy lorries, and finished as a Regimental Sergeant Major having turned down what was known as a quartermasters commission to Captain. As the Russians never attacked he never got to put it into practice. He did do 2 years in Northern Ireland. Because of my fathers career, I have a Belizean mother and was born in Libya. Not a cool thing to have listed in your passport. I also went to school in Northern Ireland in the 70s and went to boarding school there, where I learned to fence. As a tall lefty, I was a difficult opponent.
  8. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 4 years ago
    Lovedecant, great story & he was a wise man. I always considered it against my nature & human nature, to run toward bullets coming your way. That's the wrong direction!
  9. Chrisnp Chrisnp, 4 years ago
    Sounds like your father had quite a career and I can sense your pride in him. It also sounds like you had quite a diverse upbringing as what we Yanks call an "Army Brat." Thanks for sharing!

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