Saturday, June 1, 2013

British Pattern 1897 Infantry Officers Sword

Some collectors are attracted to identified guns and swords.  Initials, names, unit IDs marked on the item lead to research and, hopefully, discovery of an interesting story.   Identifying the piece to a particular owner or regiment ads to the collecting experience.  It  can also dramatically increase the item's value depending upon the history of the individual or unit. 

This is the British pattern 1897 officer's sword of Captain Charles R. Dixon of the Middlesex Regiment.  Captain Dixon was born into a middle class English family. He attended boarding school and, as many if his mates did, joined a militia unit.  That unit was mustered into a British regular regiment and shipped off fight in The Great War.  

Captain Dixon's life ended in 1915 when he was mortally wounded while on patrol at Gallipoli. Captain Dixon and his patrol approached what they believed to be the British trench line.  They received instructions in perfect English to call the password and approach the trench.  As Captain Dixon's patrol neared the trench line, the Turkish machine gunner opened up.  Captain Dixon received several wounds.  His was recovered from the field and taken to a hospital ship in the Mediterranean Sea where he later died.  

This sword was in my collection.  I found ownership of Captain Dixon's sword to be rather haunting.   I know that all of my guns and swords have a history. Some of them may never have seen the field of battle. Others may have been participants in great moments in history.  Some may have done and witnessed horrific things.   While that possibility is there, I've never really though about the original owner's fate and, until this sword, never had it hit me in the face.  I suppose for me ignorance is bliss.