british sword

Today (06.06.17) marks the 73rd anniversary of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy.
On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler’s crack troops.


Blade: 73 cm

Overall: 86

A British 1845 pattern Naval cutlass in very good overall condition. The steel half basket hilt retaining a majority of its black paint and the ribbed, cast iron grip is solid.

The blade is 29 inches long, conforming to the 1845 pattern, double edged with a spear tip. The length of the blade indicates that it’s in original condition and was not cut down in the 1880’s, when regulations changed.

There is a light speckled patina across the length of the blade, giving it a very nice finish.



A Sudanese kaskara held in the British Museum. Once belonged to Nasir Mohamed, sultan of the Blue Sultanate of Sennar. Nasir Mohamed was himself Funj, and the Blue Sultanate is often also called the Funj Sultanate for the dominant ethnic group that inhabited the kingdom.

The resemblance between the kaskara and the earlier European arming sword is mostly coincidental, and though a theory was proposed that the kaskara is modelled off that European style of sword, it has since fell out of favour among historians. (I once erroneously bought into the theory of European origin for the weapon) 

It’s most likely origin of design comes from the Middle-Eastern straight bladed broad sword, which fell out of favour in most of the Islamic world after the invasion, settlement and dominance of Turko-Mongol groups saw the spread of the curved sabre/scimitar style weapon.

That’s the leading theory at least.


Officers Uniform and Sword of the Light Dragoons dated around the 1760′s on display at the National Army Museum in London

In 1755 eleven troops of Light Dragoons were added to regiments of Dragoon Guards and Dragoons. The success of the experiment of a regiment of Light Dragoons in March 1759. 

The helmet belonged to Captain George Ainslie of the 15th (or the King’s) Regiment of Light Dragoons. In 1760, during the Seven Years’ War, the regiment and Ainslie were part of the Anglo-Hanoverian force fighting the French in Germany (specifically Hesse). After the battle the regiment presented King George with 16 French colours captured by the regiment. They suffered heavily though wit 125 of the 185 allied casualties coming from their regiment.

The coat was worn by Colonel John Holroyde, 1st Earl of Sheffield of the 21st Light Dragoons (Royal Forresters). They were raised in April of 1760 and disbanded in 1763.

Photographs taken by myself

Warlord and queen of the British Iceni, an ancient Celtic tribe, Boudica led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire. Boudica’s husband Prasutagus was ruler of the Iceni tribe, and enjoyed autonomy under a treaty with the Romans. However, when he died, the kingdom was annexed as if conquered. Boudica was flogged, her daughters were raped, and Roman financiers called in their loans. In AD 60 or 61, Boudica waited until the Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was leading a campaign on the island of Anglesey off the northwest coast of Wales. She then launched a massive assault leading the Iceni, Trinovantes and other Britons in revolt against Roman population centers. She destroyed Camulodunum (modern Colchester), and while the out-manned Roman garrisons attempted to flee, Boudica’s army of 100,000 engaged the Legio IX Hispana, decimating them, then burned and destroyed Londinium, and Verulamium (modern-day St. Albans). An estimated 70,000–80,000 Romans and British were killed in the three cities by Boudica’s armies. Despite these early gains, Suetonius regrouped his forces in the West Midlands, and though heavily outnumbered, defeated Boudica’s advancing Britons in the Battle of Watling Street. The crisis caused the Emperor Nero to consider withdrawing all Roman forces from Britain, but Suetonius’s eventual victory over Boudica confirmed Roman control of the province. Boudica then killed herself so she would not be captured. She has since remained an important cultural symbol in the United Kingdom, and is renown for her tactical use of the chariot on the battlefield by employing shock-combat to break enemy formations.


Presentation Sword from England dated 1890 on display at the Royal Armouries in Leeds

[Edited, with thanks to @victoriansword]

This cavalry sword was a prize presented by the commanding officer, the Earl of Haddington, to trooper Laird of the Lothian and Berwick Yeomanry Cavalry. The sword is probably from the 1790′s but was presented as a gift in 1890. It is not unknown for older swords to be given as gifts within a regiment.