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WW1 British / Australian Staff Sergeants Patt.1905 Mk.I Sword – Extremely Rare

WW1 British / Australian Staff Sergeants Patt.1905 Mk.I Sword – Extremely Rare

$1,750.00
Product code: 44

Availability: SOLD

Quick Overview:

AN ORIGINAL BRITISH SWORD, STAFF SERGEANTS, PATTERN 1905, MARK I FITTED WITH ITS ORIGINAL PATTERN 1905 SCABBARD CONVERTED IN 1911 FROM A PATTERN 1899 WILKINSON BLADE AND MARKED WITH THE ROYAL CYPHER OF HM KING GEORGE V (GRV - GEORGIUS REX V - 1911-1936). BOTH SWORD AND SCABBARD ARE STAMPED AND DATED TO "G" COMPANY, 73RD INF REGT (VICTORIA RANGERS) NORTH BRIGHTON IN AUGUST 1912. The Sword, Staff Sergeants, Pattern 1905, Mark 1, as it was officially designated, is one of the rarest issue swords produced for British, Australian and Commonwealth Senior Non Commissioned Officers (SNCO’s). Very Rare Variant – Australian Unit Marked to 73rd Inf Regt (Victoria Rangers) - Enfield Pattern Conversion of Pattern 1899 Produced in 1911 – Wilkinson Blade / George V Guard.

Details

Very Rare Variant – Australian Unit Marked to 73rd Inf Regt (Victoria Rangers) - Enfield Pattern Conversion of Pattern 1899 Produced in 1911 – Wilkinson Blade / George V Guard

AN ORIGINAL BRITISH SWORD, STAFF SERGEANTS, PATTERN 1905, MARK I FITTED WITH ITS ORIGINAL PATTERN 1905 SCABBARD CONVERTED IN 1911 FROM A PATTERN 1899 WILKINSON BLADE AND MARKED WITH THE ROYAL CYPHER OF HM KING GEORGE V (GRV - GEORGIUS REX V - 1911-1936).  BOTH SWORD AND SCABBARD ARE STAMPED AND DATED TO  "G" COMPANY, 73RD INF REGT (VICTORIA RANGERS) NORTH BRIGHTON IN AUGUST 1912. The Sword, Staff Sergeants, Pattern 1905, Mark 1, as it was officially designated, is one of the rarest issue swords produced for British, Australian and Commonwealth Senior Non Commissioned Officers (SNCO’s).  As Brian Robson in his excellent reference work ‘Swords of the British Army’ writes: ‘In 1905 a bout of economy seems to have affected the War Office, for a new pattern sword was introduced for staff sergeants of all dismounted services except those equipped with the claymore – the Sword, Staff Sergeants, Pattern 1905, Mark 1.  It was, in fact, nothing more than a cut-down Cavalry Pattern 1899 blade fitted with a Pattern 1897 infantry guard – a somewhat crude looking sword.  It would appear that very few were made or issued.  In 1912, new versions of both the Patterns 1898 (the Sword, Staff Sergeants, Pattern 1898) and 1905 swords were issued, incorporating the cypher of George V.

The basic characteristics of the Sword, Staff Sergeants, Pattern 1905, Mark 1 were similar to the Cavalry Pattern 1899 from which the blade was sourced. While the Pattern 1905 (Enfield Sealed Pattern No.1185) was fitted with a cut-down Pattern 1899 blade, it was not cut down that much. The blade on the '99 was 33-1/2 inches while the blade on ‘05 was 32-1/2 inches. The firm’s of Mole and Wilkinson produced the swords in batches.  Mole first in 1905 and then again for the five years 1907 to 1911 with a final batch in 1914 while Wilkinson’s produced their first batch in 1905 and 1906 and then in 1910/11 and 1912. There is no record of how large the batches were, but usually Staff sergeant orders were pretty small, between 12 or 14 at a time, so the Pattern ‘05 is rare. Costs were 25s/0d for the sword and 8s/6d for the scabbard.

Under a revised Wilkinson Contract (77/25/3585) dated 25th Feb 1915, the stipulation was made that:  'You will be instructed whether you are to continue the manufacture of Cavalry swords and scabbard or whether a portion of your plant is to be diverted to the manufacture of other kinds of swords after 24th April 1915.   A further communication will be made to you regarding the output of 500 swords of descriptions other than Cavalry Swords, these being Swords, Staff Sergeant Pattern 1905 Mk1*.  The prices to be paid to the Company (ie Wilkinsons) shall not exceed:  SS Swords .......£1/5s/0d, SS Scabbards ......8s/6d'.  There is no record of whether this stipulation was ever activated and 1912 appears to have been the last year that these swords were produced by Wilkinson.  This sword with its George V cypher was one of the very small number (probably no more than 10) produced by Wilkinson in 1911.

The Sword, Staff Sergeants, Pattern 1905, Mark 1 was only produced for about 9 years and would have seen service in the First World War with staff sergeants and warrant officers.  These swords were only produced in very small numbers and are reported to have been withdrawn from regular British Army service in 1926.  This may explain why they are so rarely encountered.  With regard to Australian service it is thought that a number of staff sergeants swords of various patterns were supplied to Australian units but precise numbers are unavailable.  It is also quite likely that these swords remained in use in the Commonwealth and Dominions long after they were declared obsolete with the regular British Army. In fact, it’s likely the vast majority of these swords were transferred to Colonial and Dominion service after being declared obsolete by the British War Office which would explain why those that are recorded have often been located in Canada and Australia.  Amongst collectors, these robust swords are highly regarded for both their utility and effectiveness.  For reference, attached to this listing is a photograph of a group of New Zealand Mounted Rifles NCO’s, two of who are holding similar pattern swords.

This is a very good example of a Sword, Staff Sergeants, Pattern 1905, Mark 1 produced in 1911 by WILKINSON. The sword is fitted with an armoury adapted Cavalry Pattern ‘99 straight plated steel blade in very good original condition patinated consistent with age and use. The plated steel three-quarter basket guard with the inset Royal Cypher of HM King George V (GRV - Georgius Rex V - 1911-1936) is in very good condition with patination particularly on the inner guard.   The sharkskin covered, copper wire bound, wooden grips are original and are in excellent original condition.  The original Steel Scabbard, Staff Sergeants, Pattern 1905 is in similarly good condition and is marked with a MOLE manufactures mark and inspectors stamp, a 1911 date (‘11), a 'broad arrow' Government acceptance mark and the reverse broad arrow ‘Sold out of Service’ stamp..

The blade is correctly marked for a Sword, Staff Sergeants, Pattern 1905, Mark 1 with the back edge of the blade stamped with the feint Pattern 1899 mark P 99. The obverse ricasso is stamped with the Wilkinsonre-manufacture date and an Enfield re-inspection mark from November 1911 (11 ’11). On the reverse ricasso is the 'broad arrow' Government acceptance mark, the WILKINSON trademark, two 'X' blade ‘bending’ proof marks and the reverse broad arrow ‘Sold out of Service’ stamp. It also has a feint Enfield inspectors mark of a crown over T5 over E (see picture).  The original marks on the blade are characteristically feint as the conversion of the '99 blade, according to the Specifications, was done by reducing width, length and thickness followed by the fitment of a new guard, grips, hand-stop and pommel. The back edge of the hilt is marked and dated 73. N.R. 8/12 while the scabbard is stamped 73. N.B.H.R. 8/12, which is indicates that the sword was issued to "G" Company, 73rd Inf Regt (Victoria Rangers) North Brighton in August 1912.

Type: Sword, Staff Sergeants, Pattern 1905, Mark 1
Maker:  Wilkinson, London
Overall Length: 975.0 mm
Blade Length:  823.0 mm
Blade Width (at guard):  27.0 mm
Scabbard: Steel Pattern 1905
Overall Length of Scabbard:  865.0 mm

From Australia, a very good Sword, Staff Sergeants, Pattern 1905, Mark 1 fitted with its original steel Pattern 1905 Scabbard, marked with the Royal Cypher of King George V, and produced in 1911.  A vary rare variant of a very scarce type, in production for only one year, this sword is a first class example of its type.  This is the only ’05 I have ever listed and only the second I have ever held, the other is in my own collection.  Probably the rarest sword I have ever sold, in fact its as rare as rocking horse teeth, this is a cracking sword and this week’s ‘best on the net’ by a country mile.

Additional Information

Weight (kg) 3.0000
Country of Origin Australian, British
Sword Type Infantry
Maker Wilkinson
Year of Manufacture (circa) 1911
Overall Length (mm) 975
Blade Length (mm) 823
Blade Width (at guard) (mm) 27
Scabbard Steel Pattern 1905
Overall Length of Scabbard (mm) 865