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8th Hussars Cavalry Trooper's Sword, 1821P, sold

Excellent Charge of the Light Brigade provenance, a rare 8th Hussars (The King's Royal Irish Light Dragoons) trooper's sword and scabbard, in good order.

8th Hussars Cavalry Trooper's Sword, 1821P, Charge of the Light Brigade Provenanceimage C39 1

Sold Item Notice

It is rare to get a sword and scabbard with such solid provenance for it to have been at the famous / infamous Charge of the Light Brigade during the Crimean War in 1854. Here we have a scabbard clearly period marked "8H B 52"; weapon 52, B Troop, the 8th Hussars. Now, there is debate over what swords the British cavalry held during this charge, the 1821 or 1853 Pattern.

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The 1821 pattern was not popular with cavalrymen but less so was the 1853 pattern. Famous author Robson states that both were used, but more of the 1821 pattern than the 1853. It is widely known that the 11th Hussars held the 1853P, but information including one reference book states the 8th Hussars carried the 1821P either in full, or mostly. One of the few records (photos) for this debate is of some of the troopers of the 8th Hussars taken in 1855, just after their participation in the Charge of the Light Brigade. Although no clear image of a sword is shown, there is a clear image of the chape of a trooper's scabbard, and that scabbard has the pronounced chape / drag of an 1821P. It is more bulbous than the chape of the 1853P.

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This, therefore, is one of the rare Charge of the Light Brigade sword items you will ever have the chance of owning. On the other side of scabbard, there is also period, though of a different font, the name "C. Oughton". Just in case, I have searched various roll calls for the 8th Hussars and found no reference to any trooper called "Oughton", and there is none, but I did not expect there to be, as I have never known a trooper to have his name marked to a sword / scabbard. There was no sword maker Oughton, but there was an army supplier, mostly of bayonets for the period, Oughton & Co in Birmingham, so it may be the supplier to the 8th Hussars was them. Or possibly, the marking is later and perhaps of a trooper of a yeomanry cavalry regiment if the sword was relegated from front line regiment to reservist, as state owned swords often were. In any event, the scabbard clearly shows a correct aged / worn marking for the 8th Hussars and we are as certain as we can be, it therefore was there at the Charge of the Light Brigade.

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The sword and scabbard generally are in good condition or order. The scabbard and blade are better than the hilt; the blade protected by the scabbard from rust, the scabbard having been later painted which protected it (the paint was very old, possibly Victorian). The hilt having had no protection against damp air in someone's attic has suffered more so, though is still sound. The 35 1/2 inch blade is very good, some nicks to the forward cutting edge commensurate with use against the enemy, and is firm in the hilt. The hilt has some deep rust pitting but is sound. The leather covered grip has some leather remaining, which is a big bonus as it brings you closer into contact with the trooper who originally held it. A great and rare investment, well worth £2250. Further / full sized pictures available upon request. Please quote our item reference number C39 (650)

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The pace of our Cavalry increased every moment, until they went thundering along the valley, making the ground tremble beneath them. On they went headlong to death, disregarding aught but the object of their attack. At length they arrived at the guns, their numbers sadly thinned, but the few that remained made fearful havoc amongst the enemy's artillery.

Lieutenant the Hon S Calthorpe, 8th Hussars, 1854

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