GRV Household Cavalry (1st Life Guards) Officer's
Very good condition George 5th named 1st Life Guard Officer's
sword of the British Household Cavalry.
Although Household Cavalry swords do come onto the market fairly
regularly, these are generally trooper's or poor quality / plain
bladed officer's swords. I make the point this 1st Life Guards sword
is in very good condition, with clear / profuse blade etching, plus
comes with provenance.
This sword was purchased by Lieutenant Robert Lambart Dunville
from Wilkinson Sword in 1912, the hilt displaying entwined "L",
"G" and "1" under the Royal Crown for the First
Life Guards, for whom this famous pattern of sword was first made
in 1834; the 2nd Life and Royal Horse Guards, fellow members of
the Household Cavalry also adopting it in 1874.
At the outbreak of World War 1 Lt. Robert Lambart Dunville, having
resigned his commission with the Life Guards, joined the Royal Bucks
Hussars (6th October 1914). Lt R. L. Dunville was clearly still
alive and fighting in 1915 as his name appears in the British Army
List for that year. On the 21st August 1915, as part of the 2nd
South Midland Mounted Brigade, this regiment suffered heavy casualties
in the assault on Gallipoli in Turkey, an attempt by the British,
French and ANZAK forces to open up a backdoor passage to Germany,
as the Western Front was entrenched in every sense of the word.
Conditions were so bad in Turkey, an offensive which ultimately
failed, that fallen soldiers were left unburied in the searing heat.
In 1916 the Allied forces withdrew from Turkey and what was left
of the Royal Bucks Hussars was sent to the Western Front. There
is no trace of Robert Lambart Dunville's name in the Army List past
1915 and I have been unable to ascertain his fate.
For information, his brother John Spencer Dunville joined the Royal
Dragoons in 1914 and committed such acts of bravery was awarded
the Victoria Cross in 1917; he died at the age of 21 to earn that
medal and is burried at the Villers-Faucon
Very few swords come with this level of special provenance and
/ or quality of sword as these generally remain jealously guarded
family heirlooms or museum pieces.
The 36 ½ inch straight blade is in very good condition,
although a little aged as you would expect for something made in
1912, and firm in the hilt. The hilt has lost a little of its luster
but nothing detrimental. The fishskin grip is firm although a little
worn, no doubt mostly from years of faithful use during the Trooping
of the Colour, etc., with the ring bindings present and correct.
The sword fits the scabbard (minor dents) well; the scabbard complete
with two gilt metal mounts and corresponding loose rings intact
/ in place.
In addition to the traditional display of battle honours, the last
being Paardeberg, plus Royal Cypher and other foliate etching, the
blade also bears opposing lion’s paws armorial crest, apparently
an abbreviated variation of the Dunville family crest of a clawing
standing lion surmounted by armour. The blade also carries the etched
Henry Wilkinson logo and serial number 43500 stamped to the spine.
Further pictures available upon request.