British 1796-1804 Pre-Regulation Flank Officers Sabre. Durs Egg

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This is a good example of a pre-regulation Infantry Flank officer’s sabre dating from between 1796 and 1804 and retailed by Durs Egg. The Flank companies of the British army (so called because when deployed in the standard line formation they occupied the right and left flanks) were the Grenadiers and Light companies, including the newly formed Rifle companies of which the famous 95th Rifles was the first.

The grenadiers and light companies of a battalion were considered the elite of these infantry regiments, often fighting out in front of the main army as skirmishers. Grenadiers were also the senior company of any infantry battalion and would typically lead an assault.

The added risk associated with skirmishing meant that flank company officers needed a more robust fighting sword than the standard (and unpopular) 1796 infantry spadroon. Despite regulations, flank officers turned to using sabres based on the new P1796 Light cavalry sabre. The need for a more robust weapon was formally acknowledged by King George III in 1803, when he approved “a Pattern Sword for the Officers of Grenadiers and Light Infantry.” The 1803 pattern Flank Officer’s sabre with its iconic lion-head pommel and George III cypher on the guard.

The 820mm curved, single-edged blade has a flat spine and wide fuller, terminating in a hatchet point. The blade closely resembles that of the light cavalry sabre upon which it was based.

The blade is in good condition with age and use related marks and tarnish with small areas of stabilised pitting. The first quarter of the blade is nicely engraved with a crescent moon, a “man in the moon”, Turks head and Wyvern. The obverse of the blade bears an eight-pointed star on a rayed background, an edelweiss type flower with a crescent moon in the centre and a second Wyvern. This style of engraving is typical of late 18th Century German made blades.

The blade has been service sharpened and retains its fighting edge.

The steel stirrup hilt is in good condition with a good age patina and speckles of tarnish. The leather covering to the grip is intact as is the silver wire binding. There is a small area of loss to the wooden grip and leather at the rear of the grip and a few old and inactive wood worm holes. Despite these, the grip is solid and strong and the blade is firm in the hilt.

The sabre is complete with its leather scabbard with steel mounts. The leather is in good condition for its age and the stitching is intact. The steel furniture has some small repairs to the seam of the locket and drag consistent with age and use and there pale speckled tarnish and some shallow pitting. The top suspension ring is missing. The scabbard’s locket bears an oval cartouche containing the cutlers’ details, “Durs Egg, Hay Market. London.” Durs Egg was a well renowned maker and retailer of firearms and swords.

This is a beautiful and scarce pre-regulation flank officer’s sabre from the Peninsular and Napoleonic Wars period.


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