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British 1796 Heavy Cavalry Troopers Swords
These are examples of British Heavy Cavalry troopers sabres pattern 1796. Top/left: Unmarked example by Thomas Craven Centre: Example with regimental markings of the 1st Royal Dragoons by I Gill. Bottom/right: Example with markings of the 2nd Royal North British Dragoons (the Scots Greys) by Osborn & Gunby. There were a number of slight variations made in service including modifying the point from hatchet to spear point, removing the langets, and cutting away the inside of the disc to prevent wear on the uniform. These changes meant that there are a number of variants in circulation in museums. The change from hatchet point to spear point was believed to be a result of experiences in the Peninsula and one diary account by Cornet James Smithies makes reference to this being undertaken before Waterloo (JSAHR Vol. XXXIV 1956 p.20). Modifications to the disc edge seem to be immediate with reference to 364 swords of the 2nd Dragoon Guards being altered by 'cutting the hilts' in 1797 (JSAHR Vol. XVII 1938 p.97. The removal of langets was more frequently a field based operation and the result of the swords being difficult to quickly replace in the scabbard. The sword has achieved fame as the one carried by sergeant Ewart of the Scots Greys when capturing the eagle a French infantry regiment at Waterloo. While the origins of the sword are often attributed to General Gaspard Le Marchant in practice the design is almost identical to the Austrian model 1769/75 heavy cavalry sabre.
Hilt detail 1
hilt detail 2