1796P British 2nd Life Guards Heavy Cavalry
Sabre, Waterloo, SOLD
With its original, if slightly battered hatchet point, this is
a rare British 1796 pattern heavy cavalry sabre with original scabbard
marked to a trooper of the 2nd Life Guards, which means it saw action
at Waterloo in 1815. In generally good order.
This is a doubly rare and doubly collectible 1796P heavy cavalry
sword because a) it has firm Waterloo provenance, and b) it has
its original hatchet point blade tip, unmodified full disc hilt
and both its langets. Most 1796P's were handed down to yeomanry
calvary regiments or cut down to be used as British naval cutlasses
after Waterloo, this one was not. Many people believe all 1796's
were converted (ground down) to spear point for Waterloo, but this
is untrue and history proves it in that the 1796P of Sergeant Ewert,
the British heavy cavalryman who captured the French Standard, which
has been kept at the Scots Greys' Museum with the French Standard,
is like this sabre, it has its original clipped point.
The above scabbard markings are "2L(G - rubbed out), 56 C
(or G - area rubbed so as to make which uncertain); 2nd Life Guards,
C Troop, Trooper 56. I suspect this trooper survived the action
and hence the reason for this sabre's survival without being cut
down / altered for naval or yeomanry use. I suspect the sword was
decommissioned due to the blade damage (large nicks to the cutting
edge) and given to the trooper as a battle trophy; if the sword
was "unassigned" after Waterloo, it would have been cut
down as a cutlass.
The above photo shows the hatchet point, which clearly has struck
something or rather someone straight on. The nicks to the cutting
edge are commensurate with the sword being wielded like a battle
axe as burly British heavy cavalrymen were prone to doing in close
quarters combat, after the charge. The nicks are period, not more
recent additions. This is therefore a fine sword but one that has
been through the wars, literally, and it shows, nicely so. You really
are not likely to ever handle a more evocative or historic piece.
Made by Dawes of Birmingham, these swords really do not get any
better as far as collectors are concerned. I saw a Scots Grays 1796P,
also with Waterloo Provenance, selling for £5500 in 2011.
Therefore my price is a real bargain. I truly doubt any Waterloo
provenance original unmodified 1796P HS sword will ever be sold
on the retail market for so little again. I truly believe this sword
represents a superb investment both financially and enjoyment wise.
I believe this is the original leather grip. It certainly has seen
some wear and the wooden base is showing through in a few places,
the grip wire bindings long gone. The 34 inch blade is in overall
good order, but of course has the nicks along the cutting edge.
There is a crown over 3 (correct for Dawes) inspection mark to the
blade. Blade is firm in the hilt, the hilt generally good even very
good. The grip worn as previously outlined. The steel scabbard in
good order, the sword sheathing well for its age. A truly wonderful
example. Further / full sized photos available upon request. My
reference number is 731 (295).