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British 1796 P Heavy Cavalry Sabre (Waterloo Provenance)

A Dawes made 1796 pattern British heavy cavalry trooper's sabre with 95%+ Waterloo Provenance.

Dawes modèle britannique fait 1796 soldat de la cavalerie lourde sabre avec 95% + Provenance Waterloo.

British 1796 P Heavy Cavalry Sabre WaterlooBritish 1796 P Heavy Cavalry SwordWaterloo

Sales enquiries

This 1796 Pattern heavy cavalry sabre made by Dawes of Birmingham and scabbard is 95% or greater certain to have come from the Battle of Waterloo. Justification / reasoning;

1) I bought this sword at a general auction in England. The auction house did not know what it was; they reported to me it came from a deceased's estate. So many swords proclaiming to come from Waterloo are not and have been engineered to appear that way by unscrupulous dealers. However, dealers always make sure their items are well described and would ensure such an item as this was sold by a militaria auction house (who are not the experts they always claim to be). So this was not a dealer item.

Dawes Birmingham

2) The blade is not rusted (except a little near the hilt where enough gap exists from the scabbard). The rusting to the hilt and scabbard is commensurate. The scabbard is not a more recent addition / replacement; they have been together for many years.

B 13

3) The troop and trooper markings on the hilt and scabbard are genuine. It is almost impossible to reproduce the process of rust aging, so the markings are authentic.

E 64

4) The blade is marked to Dawes (Birmingham) on the spine (together with the relevant two "B" or bend test marks) dating the sabre's manufacture to around 1802. The blade also has the correct Crown with arrow inspection mark (see Robson's Swords of the British Army plate 14 on page 23), which means it was used by a regular trooper, not a trooper with the yeomanry (reserve) cavalry.

Crown Arrow

5) The blade point has been converted to a spear point. The vast majority of 1796 P HC sabres were ground down to a spear point just before Waterloo. However, crucially, the langets have not been removed and / or the disc guard cut back / folded down as happened soon after Waterloo. Consequently, this sabre ceased to be in active service at or just after Waterloo.

6) The troop and trooper numbers are different on the sabre's hilt and the scabbard. The hilt shows trooper 13 of B troop, the scabbard trooper 64 of E troop; the later proving it was from a large main front line regiment. With the British heavy cavalry regiments suffering up to 90% casualty rates, many of their sabres lay strewn across the battlefield. When they were collected up afterwards, government owned swords such as this one were placed in the nearest available correct also fallen scabbard without reference to the troop / trooper numbers.

7) Because the troop / trooper numbers were never corrected, the sword was not put back into service. As the British heavy cavalry regiments took such massive casualties, it took regiments involved in Waterloo a long time after to come back up to strength. Many swords with damage were replaced, plus this pattern of sword was superceded 6 years after Waterloo.

8) This 1796 has some damage to the cutting edge near the tip; one nick and some grinding wear, commensurate with carving down infantry as the Union Brigade (which this sabre likely served) did. The Household Brigade, the other heavy cavalry brigade at Waterloo, were involved mostly against French Cavalry and the damage to their weapons would therefore normally be different. Union Brigade swords mostly bearing signs of hacking / carving up infantry, Household Brigade full on thrusting damage.

I have no doubt in my mind this sword comes from the Battle of Waterloo, the 5% stated doubt is simply margin of error as very few swords of that time were regiment marked, so I can not state it as such with 100% certainty.

The grip has lost 75% of the leather covering and the wood base has one or two worm holes; the grip could be replaced, left as it is or augmented with a black silicone paste. The blade is in good order except for battle damage as noted before. The blade is a little loose in the hilt but this can be easily corrected by simply pushing two slivers of wood down the side of the blade into the grip as most dealers would do and say no more on; I would prefer to keep the sabre as it is. The scabbard is generally good with some rider dents to the shoe / drag area as to be expected, plus has lost one throat screw. There is an unusual dent to the front of the scabbard near to throat which I presume is battle damage. The sabre sheathes very well. Further photographs available upon request.

 

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