I am pleased to offer for sale a truly superb, Victorian era, Mameluke sabre issued to a Officer of the famous 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own Regt.). The first thing you notice about this sabre is the highly ornate, floral decoration to the gilt brass and steel original scabbard and the Neo-Classical decoration to the counter-guard and back-strap of the hilt. The Steel scabbard has only minor pitting to the surface and the gilt is still mostly present. A Sphinx button is seen at the centre of the cross-guard with the country “Egypt” below (the 11th Hussars served for a short time in Egypt during 1801).
When you un-sheath the sword a truly magnificent, Frost-etched, slightly curving, 32.5 inch (83cm) long Steel blade is present very much in the killic or shamshir style. The frost-etching continues for two-thirds of the blade length and consists of swags of Acorns at the forte; floral swags; Classical Urns; Stands of Arms and flags; trumpets; helmets; and the Retailer’s name and address – Hamburger Rogers & Co. of 50 King Street, Covt. Garden, London. The original blade polish is still present and the blade is in lovely condition, having only a few tiny spots of black oxidization and one tiny ‘nick’ to the blade edge about 8” back from the blade tip. The blade has a fine double-edged Yelmen which runs for some 13 inches. The blade is firm in the hilt and sheaths well with the scabbard.
The hilt of the sabre is executed in a very flamboyant Anglo/Ottoman style of the period. The grip plates are Ivory and in wonderful overall condition, with just a tiny nip of one plate where it joins the cross-guard and the feintest of tiny cracks to the other plate where the decorative rivet attached. The original, regimental, Dress sword knot (Portapee) is present and in good condition. The finials of the cross-guard are quite wonderful, terminating in distinctive buttons decorated with foliage, hardly anything is left undecorated.
And so to a brief history of the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own). The regiment was originally established in c.1715 and served for three centuries, eventually amalgamating with the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales Own) to form the Royal Hussars in 1969.
In July of 1715 Philip Honeywood formed one of 16 new regiments to combat the Jacobite uprising of that year. His regiment was called “Honeywood’s Regiment of Dragoons” and they fought at the Battle of Preston. When the uprising was defeated, his regiment was not disbanded.
In the 1745 Jacobite rising it took part in the December 1745 “Clifton Moor Skirmish”, allegedly the last military engagement on English soil, as well as Culloden in April the following year, often cited as the last pitched battle on British soil. After 1751, regiments were numbered, rather than being named after the current Colonel, and it became the “11th Regiment of Dragoons”.
When the Seven Years War broke out in 1756, the regiment took part in the 1758 raids on St Malo and Cherbourg. In July of 1760 they won their first battle honour at Warburg. It was also present at the victory at Villinghausen in July 1761.
During the French Revolutionary Wars the 11th were involved in the Duke of York’s – Low Countries campaign in 1793 -95 and also involved in the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland.
With the exception of a short spell in Egypt in 1801 (the hilt honour badge), the regiment did not see service again until April 1811, when it was sent to Portugal during the Peninsular War campaign. In August, one of it’s squadrons was forced to take cover in an orchard at San Martin de Trevejo in Spain, an incident that may have been the derivation of it’s nickname, “the Cherry Pickers”. The 11th fought at Badajoz in April 1812 and at the Battle of Salamanca in July 1812 before returning to Britain. During the campaign of 1815, it was part of Vandeleur’s 4th Cavalry Brigade, fighting at Quatre Bras and Waterloo.
In 1819, the regiment moved to India, where it remained until 1836, shortly before returning to Britain. James Brudenell, the 7th Earl of Cardigan, became lieutenant-colonel and he embarked on a series of changes, which were intended to increase regimental prestige, but instead resulted in a series of highly publicised disputes, including the so-called ‘Black Bottle’ affair.
In 1840, it was renamed the 11th (Prince Albert’s Own) Hussars, after Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort, who became colonel of the regiment. Prince Albert’s interests included military tactics and equipment and he helped design a new uniform for the regiment named after him. Purely by coincidence this new uniform included “cherry” or crimson coloured trousers, unique at that time and very appropriate for the “cherry pickers” or “cherrybums” as they became known.
The regiment served in the Crimean War, as part of the Light Brigade commanded by Earl Cardigan, now a Major-General, and they fought at the Battle of Alma in September 1854. It was also involved in the Charge of the Light Brigade in October 1854. The 11th lost three officers and 55 men in the debacle, while Lieutenant Dunn was awarded the Victoria Cross for rescuing two members of his troop.