In overall sound condition, the WW1 HMAS Australia Chief Navigational Officer’s Sword, Commander William Eckford Cornabe, MBE
The sword is engraved to W E Cornabe on the folding guard. Commander William Eckford Cornabe was the chief navigational officer on HMAS Australia during the so called Battle of May Island (futher details here), an accident in which several British submarines and many British seaman were lost without any involvement of the German Navy. William Eckford Cornabe gave evidence at the subsequent enquiry and was held blameless; in fact, in 1919, he was awarded the MBE for his services.
The 31 1/2 inch blade is sound to good, the etching rubbed (maker’s / retailer’s details no longer visible) and some pitting splotches, firm in the hilt. The hilt is good but all the gilt has gone. The grip has lost a lot of the whitening (some people simply paint the white back on), the twisted grip wire is good. The scabbard is aged with some surface leather loss and the stitchin coming apart towards the drag / chape. The folding guard does work and locate onto the scabbard securing pin with a little effort. The sword sheathes and draws well enough.
The sword is not the best WW1 RN sword but what makes it is the provenance to a well known officer aboard an important ship and involved in one of the most embarrassing events of WW2; it is almost certain he would have been wearing this very sword at the time. Very evocative piece for £750. Please quote item reference Q56. Further / full sized images available upon request. Box 0393-1m (1.884).