English 1st Foot Guards Officer's Sword,
Waterloo provenance (sold)
A damaged mounted 1803 pattern British infantry officer's sword
firmly connected with Waterloo and the 1st Foot Guards (Grenadier
Mounted onto a display board with plaque reading "Found on
the plains of Waterloo by Capt. Johnstone. And presented to THE
GRENADIER Public House With deep Appreciation".
Renamed in 1944 as "the Grenadier", which is when the
display board and plaque were clearly made, previously "the
Guardsman" public house since 1818 (frequented by King George
IV) , previously the officers mess of the 1st Royal Regiment of
Foot Guards since 1720. I believe this to be 100% genuine / authentic
as stated, just with the attribution changed to reflect the pub
William Fred Johnstone is shown as a lieutenant or captain with
the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards on the Waterloo roll call. I suspect
he was at that time a lieutenant as he was commissioned into the
regiment on the 16th March 1814. I believe he was promoted to Captain
as a result of and shortly after Waterloo.
It seems a lot of trouble to go to claim a sword was found at Waterloo
when it was not, especially given the history of the pub in question.
And there is a round dent to the blade that I can only believe was
caused by a piece of French shot. I therefore am 100% certain this
sword is exactly what the plaque says it is, the sword of presumably
an injured / fallen English infantry officer, perhaps himself an
officer of the 1st Regiment of Foot. I suspect the original owner
of this sword was in the 1st Regiment of Foot because the soldier
etching indicates this, and as only this would explain why a fallen
English officer's sword would be displayed, in order to honour him.
I really can not think of any other reasonable explanation and holding
the sword genuinely sends a shiver down my spine.
Apparently this and another Waterloo provenance sword hung in the
Grenadier London until the owner retired and sold up, taking these
items with him. I think this is a terrific piece and will only appreciate
in both forms of value. The 29 1/2 inch blade is in fairly good
order with useful amounts of blue and gilt etching remaining, including
Georgian cypher, 1801-1816 coat of arms and foot guard soldier.
The hilt is broken, clearly a long time ago. The grip is actually
in very good order. The wooden display it is mounted on measures
122.5 cm by 24cm. Full sized / additional photos available upon
request. Please quote item reference number 971.