Victorian Boer War Northumberland Fusiliers
An extremely rare Victorian Boer War Northumberland Fusiliers
sword, battlefield use blackened.
An extremely rare and highly sought after sword of the Royal Northumberland
Fusiliers which clearly was present if not used during the Boer
War given the Victorian cypher and the fact the hilt and scabbard
are blackened for battleground use; during the war, the Boer marksmen
targeted British soldiers with gleaming swords on the basis they
were officers. Officers of the prestigious and highly accomplished
Northumberland Fusiliers who played a significant role in the Boer
War, therefore had the sword hilts and scabbards blackened. Dress
swords of the Northumberland Fusiliers are the opposite with nickel
plated hilts / scabbards with a back St George and the Dragon Flaming
Bomb emblem under the royal cypher.
The 32 inch etched length blade has likely been shortened half
an inch, evident from the fact the scabbard is longer than necessary.
The scabbard is clearly original though, and the blade point very
precisely done, so perhaps the tip was lost at some stage and a
new point formed. With dress swords, a shortened blade is a sign
of an accident or misuse and therefore lessens the value of the
sword as a whole. Conversely, with a sword which clearly was finished
for battlefield conditions, there is every chance this is a "bloodied
sword", one which has been used on an opponent. I am speculating
the blade has been shortened as 32 inches is normally the regulation,
but I have seen many of this this pattern with 32.5 inch blades
so believe the scabbard confirms the likelihood this weapon was
once used on a foe.
The blade is firm in the hilt, the fishskin a little worn which
again indicates being held / used, the ring bindings tight and present.
The sword sheathes and unsheathes well in and out of the scabbard.
The sword was made by Poole & Co of fashionable Savile Row in
London. Further pictures available upon request.