British Light Infantry sword circa 1800 Wellington Army

British Light Infantry Officer's sword circa 1800 of theNapoleonic wars.

A weapon used during the Peninsula War, the American war from 1812 to 1814 and the Waterloo campaign.

In 1803 has been created a new sword pattern (visit the model presented in our collection) for Infantry officers.

It has a gilt bronze guard with a Solingen blade imported by JJ Runkel.

It is a variation of the 1803 Pattern, with a Bugle badge on the hilt. 

The bugle horn had been the badge of light infantry regiments since 1770, nicknamed the "light bobs".

The introduction of the 1803 pattern sword coincided with the conversion of a number of regiments, like the 43rd and 52nd, into light infantry order to match the french Grande Armée Voltigeurs.

It is quite possible that some 95th officers also used this sword, the same stirrup type guard can be seen on a 95th Rifle sword in the Royal Armouries (NAM 8105-37) and on a sword of the 43rd Foot Regiment Light Infantry.

This one has been a favorite weapon for a Light Infantry, Sharpshooter or Rifle regiments' officer.

85Th Light Infantry Subaltern Officer carrying the curved sword
© Osprey

The curved sword was the weapon carried by rifle or light infantry regiments' officers with one or two pistols.

It has a lion-head pommel and bugle horn badge on one of the langet.

The bugle was the symbol for Light Infantry in the British army.

The grip is in fiskin or sharpskin with copper twisted wire.

The blade is curved with a double edge over the last 10 inches and traces of original blue and gilt.

A lot of engravings adorn each faces such as the GR cypher, moons, sun, stars, turks heads and a cabalistic symbol.

On the side blade is engraved JJ Runkel Solingen.

Runkel was a german immigrant born in 1751, who lived in England and imported blades from Solingen.

Runkel operated at Tooks Court in London ( near today the tube Chancellery Lane) from 1795 to 1808. He died in 1808.

The sword weights .70 kg for a 77 cm blade.

Officer King German Legion carrying the
same sword pattern from Osprey ©

"JJ RUNKEL Solingen"

Bugle Horn Light Infantry Badge and a cabalistic symbol

Riflemen by Osprey©

GR Cypher for King George

Right Face Moon and symbol

The Moon is a symbol for life, she never dies. 
She can be found on a lot of blades ( visit our Cassaignard French Naval Boarding Cutlass Sword).

Below the moon figures a strange symbol, representing a man or a triple Tau cross like the one use by the Egyptians (The ankh symbol), another symbol for eternity and life.

It could be also related also to the Copper chemical symbol, similar also to the Venus sign a symbol for everlasting qualities.

Officer of the 52nd of Light Infantry carrying the same hilt swod by Charles Hamilton Smith

Moon and Sun

The solar system...another symbol for death, life and regeneration

"Honi soit qui mal y pense" and "Dieu et mon droit "

"Honi soit qui mal y pense" is a French phrase meaning "Shamed be he who thinks evil of it". The phrase is sometimes archaically rendered as "Honi soit quy mal y pense"... 

It is the motto of the English chivalric Order of the Garter.

Ltt 43th Light Infantry Regiment by Osprey ©

Turkish Head

Turkish head on each blade face.

Double edge end of the blade

95Th Rifleman ahead of the Infantry

English Infantry Corporal

Light Infantry ahead of the columns

Rifle at Waterloo by Cranston Fine Arts ©

The British army first discovered the need for light troops in the forests of North America against the militia. The hostilities between Britain and France had begun  in 1754 without formal declaration of war,  partly because of friction between the thirteen British colonies and the small French population in Acadie in Canada.

Royal American
60TH Rifle
The  British raised a new regiment, the 60th Regiment of Foot (know as the Royal Americans), with some battalions trained as marksmen.

Also at that time each battalion of line infantry was given a light company, for the purpose of skirmishing and marksmanship.

These light companies nicknamed 'light bobs' were paired with the grenadiers to form the flank companies, with the grenadiers  on the right and the light company on the left.

But the light companies disappeared after the Seven YearsWar, as officers thought that they were of little use on European battlefields, where the victory was decided by the volleys of the line infantry.

With their more practical uniform, individual skills and slightly more relaxed discipline...they did annoy the classic british army and their commanders at Horse Guards Parade.

During the Flanders campaign the commander in chief, the Duke of York fought an inconclusive battle at Egmont op Zee against french revolutionary light infantry, the tirailleurs. 
They were armed with rifles , outranged the musket and all trained to take full advantage of the ground.

The 200 yards accurate Baker Rifle

Colonel Cloote Manningham and Lieutenant Colonel William Steward  reformed the establishment of light troops and armed them with rifles rather than muskets, dressed in green uniforms rather than the old red coat...later an Experimental Corps of Riflemen will be raised in 1800, the famous 95th Regiment (later The Rifle Brigade). To know more abouth the 95th...visit our 1803 pattern Sword

From the TV serie Major Sharpe...a 95Th uniform