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Marks on 1796 Light Cavalry Sabre?

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Marks on 1796 Light Cavalry Sabre?

Postby Owen » August 28th, 2017, 10:46 pm

I wonder if any of you can tell me the unit or other designation of this 1796 Light Cavalry sabre, which I have just acquired. It is marked to the langet with "L S over 7" and bears the ordnance board inspection stamp of a crown over 1. I am a complete novice with swords, being a Napoleonic Wars and Waterloo medal collector who has long wanted an honest example of this iconic sword of the period. The sword was described as being to the "7th Light", but apart from the numeral 7 and the letter L, I can't make the connection.

Not sure if there is also a mark after the 7 or it's my eyes playing tricks?

Any help no matter how small, greatly appreciated. Some pictures attached (these were provided to me pre-sale - I am waiting for the sword to arrive):

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Thank you,

Owen
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Re: Marks on 1796 Light Cavalry Sabre?

Postby Josh&Historyland » August 30th, 2017, 11:59 am

I don't know much about markings, but if the 7 refers to a regiment then it is probably the 7th Light Dragoons, which became the 7th (Queens Own) Light Dragoons (Hussars) in 1807.
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Re: Marks on 1796 Light Cavalry Sabre?

Postby Jerry » August 30th, 2017, 3:59 pm

I don't quite get the LS, it could be initials of an owner. Regimental markings to any Light Dragoon regiment that I have seen have always been in the format numberLD - e.g. 20LD, 10LD etc, sometimes with the number in Roman numerals such as XXLD.

The crowned 1 on the blade is an ordnance inspection mark for quality control.

If original, the leather attachments to the scabbard are amazing, I have not seen these attached to a scabbard before.

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Jerry
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Re: Marks on 1796 Light Cavalry Sabre?

Postby Owen » August 30th, 2017, 9:43 pm

Hi Jerry,

Interesting what you say - I have been doing a bit of head scratching over the possible meaning of the letters "L S" engraved on the langet. Firstly, I wonder if it’s been engraved by an amateur hand – doesn’t look very regimental. Then, for the L to be Light, I'm sure it would have been after or beneath the 7. By deduction, it probably means something else. Maybe it's a soldier’s initials and regiment, engraved by himself on his own sword?

I have checked the Musters and Waterloo medal list for the 7th Light Dragoons/Hussars and find that there was only one man with the initials 'LS'. His name is unusual - 'Lesbias Shearman' (wrongly transcribed as Lesbias Sherman in Mullen's Waterloo Medal roll). He joined the 7th Light Dragoons on 16 January 1800 and was still serving in late 1816 (I haven't looked further, yet). He was still a Private at Waterloo according to the musters (although the MINT Waterloo Medal List (MINT 16/112/6 - Pages 89 - 94 (via TNA) have him as a Corporal in Captain Thomas Pipon’s Troop).

The musters state he was promoted to Corporal on 19th June 1815 (day after the battle) and he survived Waterloo without wounding.

I know it's a leap, based only on a remote possibility, but could the markings be shorthand for "Lesbias Shearman, 7th"?

Also, I went back to the markings and I'm convinced there is an added mark after the 7...have a look at the picture: maybe an X?
Again, grateful for any thoughts.

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Owen
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Re: Marks on 1796 Light Cavalry Sabre?

Postby Josh&Historyland » August 31st, 2017, 7:32 pm

It could be a worn 3 or a 5?
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Re: Marks on 1796 Light Cavalry Sabre?

Postby Jerry » September 1st, 2017, 3:51 pm

Inclined to agree with Josh, if there is an extra character there (not certain) - could be a 3 or a 5.

It looks a little 'freelance' for official regimental markings - the unit marked examples I have seen have generally good quality engraving.

On the other hand these troopers swords were property of the Crown and troopers were not supposed to put their own initials or other marks on them. This would have been more likely in a volunteer unit. So I like your detective work but I think it can only be speculative unless you can find more evidence.

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Re: Marks on 1796 Light Cavalry Sabre?

Postby Owen » September 2nd, 2017, 9:28 pm

Josh/Jerry,

Many thanks for your comments. It's really hard to tell from the auctioneers pictures - the more I stare at the marks the more my eyes begin to play tricks. I'll wait until I have the sword in hand and then try to take some high definition pictures.

Jerry, I agree - purely speculative with a dash of wishful thinking. Just looking forward to getting it now.

Owen
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