The 1853 pattern British cavalry sword was the first sword to be issued to troopers of both light and heavy cavalry regiments. The sabre was also issued to troopers of the Royal Horse Artillery. It was the first issued sword to utilise Reeves “Patent Solid Tang,” the blade and tang being of one piece instead of the iron “rat-tail” tang that was traditionally forge-welded on to the steel blade. This of course made for a much stronger sword, more rigid and far less likely to suffer a catastrophic failure having eliminated the junction between blade and tang.
The 1853 pattern universal cavalry sword was developed prior to Britain’s entry into the Crimean War at the beginning of 1854. Production was stepped up at the commencement of the conflict and by the end of the Crimean campaign in 1856, all branches of the British line cavalry had been issued with the sword.
The 898mm single-edged blade is slightly curved and has a thick, flat spine with a single fuller and terminates in a spear point. The blade is in excellent condition, bright and clean, with only a few tiny nicks on the sweet spot of the service sharpened edge.
The spine bears twin crowned inspection stamps and the ricasso is stamped with a Liege (Belgian) inspection stamp. At the outbreak of the Crimean War, Britain, fearing that the Belgians would supply firearms to the Russians, flooded the Belgian arms manufactory in Liege with orders for firearms and insisted that British inspectors be placed in the factory for quality control. Liege had an international reputation for the quality of its firearms but did not actually make any swords, those 1853 pattern sabres bearing Liege inspection stamps are thought to have been produced in Solingen, Germany and then sent to Belgium for inspection, ostensibly Keeping the British inspectors in work, while their presence in the factory ensured that no arms were supplied to Russia.
The iron 3-bar guard comprises a single knuckle bow and two side bars and is in great condition with a pleasing patina consistent with its age. The front of the knuckle bow is engraved with the markings for C-company of the 3rd King’s Own Hussars, weapon number 27. The front of the guard is also stamped with a Liege based inspectors mark. The “new” solid tang is almost the same width as the blade and is gripped with two leather scales secured by five rivets. The grip scales are firmly in place and are in good condition showing use related wear to the leather.
The sword is complete with its iron scabbard with twin suspension rings. The scabbard is in great condition and is free of dents and damage. The top of the scabbard, below the throat is engraved on one side with the regimental markings of the Royal Horse Artillery, and on the other with the post Crimean conflict date of March 1871. The sword sheathes and draws smoothly.
This is an excellent example of an increasingly hard to find Crimean War period British cavalry trooper’s sword with prestigious regimental markings.