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1853P British 7th & 8th Hussars Light Cavalry Sword, sold

In overall good condition, a coveted 1853P light cavalry trooper's sabre marked to the 8th Hussars and then reissued to the 7th Hussars, thereby strongly indicating the sword (although not the scabbard) was present at the Charge of the Light Brigade.

1853P British 7th & 8th Hussars Light Cavalry Sword, Charge of the Light Brigade Provenanceimage J82 1

Sold Item Notice

Charge of the Light Brigade provenance; we are totally convinced that this sword was involved in this famous battle. The blade is marked crown over L over 8, which means the blade / sword was made in Liege in Belgium (there was a shortage of capable makers in England at the time, so the British bought swords that were made in Belgium to the British pattern / specification). Other Liege made blades / swords have been firmly linked with other regiment 1853P's (such as the 11th Hussars) used in that battle.

Next, the outside of cross-guard is Marked "8 H" over "88" (weapon 88 of the 8th Hussars); this is the older form of British regimental markings both in form and location. Inside the hilt / guard, it is marked "7H H 61" (weapon 61, H troop, 7th Hussars); this is the newer form of British regimental markings, again both in form and location and explains why the 8th Hussar markings were not crossed out. So the sword was first carried by a trooper of the 8th Hussars, and then it was reissued to a trooper of the 7th Hussars.

In fact, close inspection shows the original 8th Hussars weapon number was three digits, 85(?) (the last numeral in unclear), later over marked the later 2 digit weapon number (88). Again, this would very much indicate the sword has "history". Given the sword model is 1853 and the likely year it would have been reissued to the 7th Hussars would be 1856 to 1857 (see below), then that amount of "history" really can only mean one thing; the Crimean War.

The 8th Hussars served in the Crimea and were involved in the Charge of the Light Brigade in 1854, the 7th Hussars were performing home service between 1854 and 1857, before setting off for India where they served from 1857 to 1870. So the sword clearly was brought back to Britain after the Charge of the Light Brigade / Crimean War (sometime during 1854 to 1856), and reissued to the 7th Hussars before they set sail for India in 1857.

The scabbard os marked "7H 216", the old form of marking, so the sword came back without a scabbard and was married up with one already with the 7th Hussars. The new style 7th Hussar regimental markings were added to the inside of the guard, as they were then done, and the sword and "new" scabbard went off to India in 1857.

The only photographic evidence of the 8th Hussars at the time of the Charge of the Light Brigade shows a trooper with his scabbard sticking out, and his scabbard was for an 1821P (the predecessor of the 1853P). It is believed that around half the cavalry trooper swords used in the Charge were 1821P's, and half 1853P's. Given the race to arm the various regiments at the start of the Crimean War, it therefore appears the 8th Hussars carried both the 1821P and 1853P trooper sabres. The blade has period damage (nicks), but this must have come from its time in service with the 7th Hussars in India (they were involved in several bloody actions), as the sabre would not have stayed in service after Crimea otherwise.

Early 8th Hussars Markings

Later 7th Hussars Markings

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As stated, this sabre has seen bloody action, in the "Indian Mutiny". The point has met its target in a charge and has a wriggle now to it, and there are many clearly period nicks to the blades; the 7th Hussars used their swords against their Indian foes. Ironically, the sword was probably dropped by the 8th Hussars trooper and not engaged anyone, hence its probable separation from the original scabbard.

The 35 1/4 inch blade, battle damage aside, is in good condition; some age staining which can easily be removed. Blade firm in the hilt. The hilt good / solid but with patina / light rust pitting. The grips are in good though worn condition. The scabbard has medium pitting all over. The sword sheathes and draws well.

The markings and dates make place this sword 99% at the Charge of the Light Brigade. As such, it will only appreciate in time. A good investment. Please quote item reference J82 (1149). Further / full sized pictures available upon request.

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