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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Possible Boer War sword excavated - any ideas on origin? Reply to topic
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Frank Ford





Joined: 05 Oct 2009

Posts: 11

PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct, 2009 8:00 am    Post subject: Possible Boer War sword excavated - any ideas on origin?         Reply with quote

Dear All,

I have a sword which was recently excavated close to where the Boer war battle of Paardeburg happened. I have no idea if this is a British sword from that battle. I believe if it is from that battle it could also be from the Canadian troops.

If anybody could help me find out a little bit more about this sword, it will be much appreciated.

I will try to attach some photos. The sword 91cm from tip to heel / 79cm from tip to grip. It has the number 119 on all parts, and has an elaborate design of a lion. It also has a small marking on the blade in the shape of body armour and helmet.

Kind regards

Frank



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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct, 2009 8:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello, Frank, and welcome to myArmoury. This is not a British or Commonwealth sword. My guess is that it is a Dutch model of some sort, but I am not positive about that because I have not found a match for it in any of my sources at hand. I'll take a look through some books this evening. The knight's head mark is that of Weyersberg & Kirschbaum of Solingen, Germany.

Jonathan
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Hector Mendoza





Joined: 14 Oct 2006

Posts: 16

PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct, 2009 9:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow, it surprises me the good condition of the sable despite the fact that it was buried for 107 years at least. Did you have to pay for this sword or did you just found it and kept it?

What I would give for a historical piece like that.

Kind regards.
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Jean-Carle Hudon




Location: Montreal,Canada
Joined: 16 Nov 2005
Likes: 4 pages

Posts: 450

PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct, 2009 3:13 pm    Post subject: Nederlander?         Reply with quote

I have some old dutch coins, and some belgian. They both have lions, but the belgians are empty handed while the dutch have what seems to be a weapon of some sort in one paw, and a crowned head. So I would say dutch, which in your case would be Boer. JC
Bon coeur et bon bras
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Toni R.




Location: Kuopio, Finland
Joined: 17 Mar 2006

Posts: 39

PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct, 2009 11:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well..this has propably very little to do with the sword, but as a Finn, the lion on the handguard instantly reminded me of the Coat of Arms of Finland. Here´s some more info if anyone is interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coat_of_arms_of_Finland


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Gabriele Becattini





Joined: 21 Aug 2007

Posts: 715

PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct, 2009 11:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

it is without any doubt the coat of arms of finland, if you look at the hilt you could see both the cutlass at the lion's feet and the armoured arm holding the sword, may be a sword belonging to a scandinavian volunteer unit fight for the boer?

i remember that many foreign volunteeers units served with the boer army, including irish, italians, scandinavians, germans
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Gabriele Becattini





Joined: 21 Aug 2007

Posts: 715

PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct, 2009 11:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

found this one on google, search for finnish officer sword,


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Toni R.




Location: Kuopio, Finland
Joined: 17 Mar 2006

Posts: 39

PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2009 12:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

same sword can be seen here(with some more info):

http://www.rathbonemuseum.com/FINN/FINM22/FINM22Parade.html

-T
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Gabriele Becattini





Joined: 21 Aug 2007

Posts: 715

PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2009 12:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

yeah toni, the same link where i have taken the image!
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Frank Ford





Joined: 05 Oct 2009

Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2009 2:09 am    Post subject: Thanks guys         Reply with quote

The sword was excavated by the local power company whilst digging a trench for a power station. It is quite interesting as I now have no idea as to how it got there! I will contact the museum to see if they have any clearer ideas. It really baffles me as to how on earth a Finnish sword ended up in the middle of no-where in South Africa!

Thanks again! I will let you know if I find out more.
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2009 4:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great find, Toni! Now that we know it is Finnish, we can speculate that it belonged to one of the members of the Scandinavian Corps, who were present at Paardeberg (amongst other battles):

http://www.angloboerwar.com/forces/scandinavian_corps.htm
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Gabriele Becattini





Joined: 21 Aug 2007

Posts: 715

PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2009 4:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

it could be interesting to know the pattern of the sword, in one of the above link is worn with an air force officer's uniform of

post world war I period, so may be it was an universal pattern design developped at the end of the XIXth century?

it looks like an infantry sword to me
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Gabriele Becattini





Joined: 21 Aug 2007

Posts: 715

PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2009 5:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

just a couple of thing that look curious to me: finland at the time of the second boer war was still part of the russian empire, so in teory a finnish officer should have had the same sword pattern as every russian officer, the hilt if you don't consider the finnish coat of arms looks almost the same as a russian officer's sabre of the 1909 pattern (that post-date the boer war!), but russian military sword has almost exclusively curved blade,the straight blade looks more influenced by the swedish infantry officers sword of the latter part of the XIXth century, , so could it be a special pattern worn exclusively by finnish officer?
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Toni R.




Location: Kuopio, Finland
Joined: 17 Mar 2006

Posts: 39

PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2009 5:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here´s a couple of more links:

These swords are sold as a finnish officers parade sword. Infantry and navy models available. The handguard is in a bit difficult angle, but it looks like the same sword.
http://www.maanpuolustusyhtio.fi/PublishedSer...code=27830

Here´s one more picture I found. This is from an imagebank.
http://www.vastavalo.fi/displayimage.php?pos=-139514

So, a finnish officers parade sword, in my opinion.

-T
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Frank Ford





Joined: 05 Oct 2009

Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2009 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply from the Factory         Reply with quote

I emailed the factory in Germany and had the following reply, not that this gave me much more information.


yes it looks like finnish navy sword - the 119 means that it is the blade for sword no. 119 of that particular order.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Kind regards / Saludos Cordiales / MA'AS SALAMA


André
W.K.C. Stahl- und Metallwarenfabrik
Hans Kolping GmbH & Co. KG
Wittkullerstr. 140-144
42719 Solingen
Germany

Further I guess this puts the sword out of the Boer war era. I found some documentation on the Gold rush to the then 'Transvaal' which included a lot of Scandinavians including Finns... other than that I am still in the dark about how it got there.
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2009 6:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are a few more links pertaining to the Scandinavian Corps:

http://www.angloboerwar.com/forces/scandinavian_vols.htm

http://www.angloboerwar.com/forces/scand_nominal.htm

Again, what a great sword! Happy The history really makes it special.

Jonathan
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2009 6:09 am    Post subject: Re: Reply from the Factory         Reply with quote

Frank Ford wrote:
Further I guess this puts the sword out of the Boer war era. I found some documentation on the Gold rush to the then 'Transvaal' which included a lot of Scandinavians including Finns... other than that I am still in the dark about how it got there.


How do you know it is too late to be from the Boer War? We still need to confirm the model year. Also, if it does fit into the Boer War time line, I feel I have supplied a possible explanation as to how it got to South Africa.
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Frank Ford





Joined: 05 Oct 2009

Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2009 6:15 am    Post subject: Dates         Reply with quote

Agreed it would make sense from the Scandinavian corps perspective. The battle of Paardeburg happened in 1900 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paardeburg) - it is however just a wild guess as this is where the sword was found. As far as I know Finland has only been around from 1917 which is why I came to the conclusion that this sword is probably not from that battle. I have also not managed to find any records indicating the Scandinavian Corps being in the Paardeburg battle.


Once again thank you very much for all your contributions!
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Frank Ford





Joined: 05 Oct 2009

Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2009 6:21 am    Post subject: Apologies         Reply with quote

I only now noticed your page that states that the Scandinavians was indeed part of the Paardeberg battle:

from <http://www.angloboerwar.com/forces/scandinavian_vols.htm>
Paardeberg

During the night to 17th February the Company marched on with Bloemfontein as final destination. When daylight came the troop put up camp at Wolwe Spruit.[32]

The following day – 18th February – the British attacked but was repelled. In this fight the Swede Elof Blombergson and the Dutchman Jacob Woolf were killed. The Finns Sergeant Johan Viklund and volunteer Otto Backman as well as Danish volunteer Peter Krohn were taken prisoners by the British. A serious blow was that the wagon with food and equipment was hit by a shell and burned out. After that the Company had just one single spade for entrenchment.[33]

Monday 19th February was described as the heaviest day for the Scandinavians although there were only two wounded, namely the Swede Oscar Cederström and the Norwegian Adolf Hansen which both were taken prisoners a week later.[34]

On 20th February Norwegian Abraham Abrahamsen was wounded and taken prisoner by the British.[35]

After fighting for another week General Cronje surrendered to the British at Paardeberg on 27th February 1900 and the Scandinavian Company now counting 47 men marched into captivity

So if this sword came from that era it might very well have belonged to Sergeant Johan Viklund or Otto Backman[/b]
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Frank Ford





Joined: 05 Oct 2009

Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2009 6:40 am    Post subject: Result         Reply with quote

Upon asking Andre from the factory about the age of the sword, he suggests that is could come from that era!


André Willms WKC Solingen
to me

no, not too early. my very old catalogues show this sword already and that must be around 1900. the top pommel is a crown normally though, not a ball.


Last edited by Frank Ford on Tue 06 Oct, 2009 9:10 am; edited 1 time in total
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