I offer for sale a fine British Pattern 1897 Infantry Officer’s ceremonial sword and miniature medal grouping, issued to Major George Allan (Royal Marines Light Infantry) who served in the Boar War, fought at the Battle of Jutland where he was mentioned in dispatches and promoted, and served in the Dardenelles. Major Allan was recalled for duty and served in WWII between 1940 to 1945. Yes, he served his Country almost right through from 1901 to 1945!
So the sword was manufactured by Wilkinson Sword in 1904 and is fitted with a ceremonial Straight 32 ½ inch long blade tapering to a sharp point and having partial fullers. At the ricasso on one side it bears the stamp “Wilkinson Lond” (London); an “X” (the bend mark proof of blade) showing the blade passed the bend test; the figure 49 under a Royal Crown and surmounting a capital letter “W” for Wilkinson Sword; and a Broad Arrow for proof by the War Office - Board of Ordnance.
On the other side of the blade are found a further two Wilkinson inspection marks, a figure “11” the month of manufacture perhaps? (November) and a “C2” stamp (unidentified). The basket hilt bears another Wilkinson inspection stamp and the figure “1904” showing the year of manufacture to be 1904 during the reign of Kind Edward VII – reigned 1901 to 1910. The blade is in excellent overall condition with only the odd patch of discolouration.
In 1895 a new pierced Steel hilt was introduced to British infantry swords to replace the earlier ‘Gothic’ hilt. This three-quarter basket hilt was short-lived as the sharp edge of the hilt frayed uniforms and so the Pattern 1897 basket hilt with it’s rolled edge came about, the piercings also being smaller. This sword is fitted with the P.1897 hilt which bears the Royal Cypher of King Edward VII.
The grip is covered in Shagreen and bound with Steel wire, all in excellent condition and there is absolutely no movement between blade and hilt. The original leather washer is also present and in good order at the blade forte.
This sword comes complete with it’s leather field scabbard and it’s “Sam Brown” leather Frog straps. The original leather ‘Acorn’ Portepee sword knot is also present. All in good overall condition.
Major Allan’s sword also comes with his grouping of miniature service medals as viewed from left to right:-
Boar War (Queen’s South Africa Medal); WWI 1914/15 Star; British War Medal; Victory Medal (the ribbon of the Victory Medal is fitted with an Oak Leaves spray denoting “Mentioned in dispatches”).
WWII – Defence Medal and Victory Medal.
Service history of Major Allan:-
George Allan – Born Glasgow 29th Nov 1879; married 1903; died Okehampton 3rd Jan 1961.
Military career:- (drawn from services records held in the National Archives):
Enlisted as a Private in the Royal Marines Light Infantry aged 17 years at Plymouth in 1897. Served in the Boar War on HMS Monarch at Simonstown in 1901. He rose to Gunnery Sergeant Major (1911). Was at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 on HMS Temeraire, where he was Mentioned in Dispatches and promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. He served in the Dardenelles at Imbros 1916-18. Promoted to Captain (1921) and retired from the service in 1922. Was made Chief Inspector in the Royal Marines Police 1926-32 before retirement on the grounds of ill health. Recalled for WWII in 1940 where he served at various Royal Marines barracks; depots and training camps until the conclusion of the war in 1945.
Mentioned is dispatches, 1916 – following the Battle of Jutland, May 1916:
This officer has served afloat for the whole of the war and is Senior Warrant Officer, R.M., in the Squadron. He was recommended for commissioned rank by the Squadron Selection Committee on 14th January 1916. Is fully worthy of promotion.” Vice-Admiral Sir Doveton Sturdee.
Full Provenance of the above sword and the medal group can be supplied – on request.
This is a rare military sword issued to a Royal Marines Light Infantry Officer, who had a distinguished service history encompassing from the Boar War almost right through to the end of World War 2. As the reign of King Edward VII ran for only 10 years British swords from his reign can be harder to find. The sword comes complete with a superb miniature medal grouping awarded to Major Allan.
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