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RAF Officer's sword

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RAF Officer's sword

Old 10th Jun 2019, 01:49
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RAF Officer's sword

Lad won Sword of Honour at cadets yesterday - very dusty in the audience it was.
We've got the weapon at home for a year.
On looking at it this morning - I see it's made by Burberry's of Haymarket.
Googled to try and find out a bit more about it - but only Burberrys I can find reference to is well known maker of chav clothes.
The blade says - GVR (which I assume is the cypher George V Rex) then Burberry's Haymarket.
Is that one and the same as the trench-coat maker?
They told him the grip was stingray skin - any truth in that?
I note some of the auction houses just refer to fish-skin.
Beautiful looking thing - bullion knot, eagle head pommel.
Any other details as to history/tradition would be appreciated.
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Old 10th Jun 2019, 06:16
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Just don't lose the bloody thing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You say 'at cadets' which suggests that he is in the ATC or CCF. I would expect the unit staff to have some idea as to where the sword came from originally. There is a sword presented to the best ATC cadet in the Corps called The Dacre Sword and was once the property of Air Cdre Dacre. Rumour has it that it was one of three swords made when the RAF was formed. One sword went to the King, Dacre acquired a second and the third?????????????? Gp Capt Phil Dacre often presents the sword to the annual recipient but they only get their hands on it for a few minutes. Mrs Dacre (air cdre's widow) gave a brooch to the ATC when girls joined and that was called the Dacre Brooch for the best female cadet. It was incorporated into a sash but it is now used by the Duchess of Cambridge when undertaking ATC duties (why she can't wear a uniform is unclear to me!). Female cadets are now awarded the 'ATC75' Sword.

Inevitably drifting the Thread, the ATC remains IMHO the best youth organisation in the country - I've deleted my original comments on the admin and bureaucracy but setting those aside there's still an enormous pull in the air cadets. I joined in 1958 and went back to it after regular service and am still there (just about). Seeing cadets after they have just completed something they thought they could never do still makes all the rubbishy bits worthwhile.

Old Duffer
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Old 10th Jun 2019, 06:33
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Apologies Duffer - I should have clarified - it's Sydney AAFC.
So the sword probably has Australian history... was just intrigued to see Burberry as a sword maker, rather than Pooley etc.
Mrs T's engagement ring came from Haymarket - hence my curiosity.
Yes - my thoughts exactly - don't lose it!!
We may actually take it back to the Wing rather than keeping it at Tartare Towers.
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Old 10th Jun 2019, 07:01
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Re the handle, it probably is stingray skin, properly called shagreen. Sometimes, sharkskin is called shagreen, but it's not, really. The Army swords that I knew 50+ years ago used real shagreen. They were made by Wilkinsons, of razor blade fame.
The photos on this site show true shagreen.

Congratulations to your son.
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Old 10th Jun 2019, 08:38
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Not a problem tartare, Mrs OD always says 'don't assume - check', which signally I forgot to do.

Congratulations to tartare MINOR, hopefully the first of many awards if he is making a career of it.

Old Duffer
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Old 10th Jun 2019, 08:51
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Thank you both, much appreciated.
Yes - he's dead set on flying.
Moving enough to see him lead 400 cadets as Parade Commander.
Magnificent sight.
But when he was named as receiving the sword - complete unexpected shock.
Shargreen - well there you go - you learn something every day.
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Old 10th Jun 2019, 09:51
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Maker or Supplier ?

........
Aaaaah …. “Burberry, The King of Weatherproofs” !

A claim no doubt disputed only by aficionados of Driza-Bone.

I wonder if Burberry was the supplier of the subject sword, made by a cutler who might have put his less apparent maker’s mark elsewhere on the blade ? There would have been a myriad of suppliers and many makers in KGV’s day.

I note that in 1919 King George V granted Thomas Burberry a Royal Warrant as Tailors. Flagship store at No 18-22 The Haymarket, but they were also at No 30, in 1891. Mr Burberry’s first store opened in 1856 in ……… Basingstoke, when he was 21. ... I would doubt if he ever got into actual sword-making.

These links were grabbed in haste. https://www.militariahub.com/the-his...ritish-swords/

http://stories-of-london.org/burberry/ ... We used to hang out at the real Grace Brothers' store at Warringah Mall

HTH - LFH

.....
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Old 10th Jun 2019, 10:06
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My eldest daughter graduated as a Flt.Lt. a few weeks ago, and spent a recent inheritance on a Pooley's Ladies Officer sword. She had it engraved with her (to date) service career details, 7 years in the Army, and that of my deceased father, who was also a Flt. Lt. Both of their service numbers are engraved on the sword, and we bought a suitably engraved Pooley's letter opener as a little gift. Dust does hang about a bit though when your kids make you proud !
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Old 10th Jun 2019, 13:42
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Pooley's Ladies Officer sword
Never been to a wedding where the bride wears a sword.
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Old 10th Jun 2019, 16:50
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Going to happen one of these days. And eventually there may be one where the other half of the couple is wearing a lady's sword as well!
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Old 10th Jun 2019, 19:23
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And eventually there may be one where the other half of the couple is wearing a lady's sword as well!
Or two chaps with swords for that matter....
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Old 10th Jun 2019, 19:45
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1. Congrats tartare. Unlikely either of the Duchess Juniors would follow my footsteps but I know what you mean about being a proud parent.

2. Good friend “hired” his sword for his wedding - but was expressly forbidden from using it to cut the cake. Often wondered why...? But if it’s that it tarnishes the blade surely a good clean immediately after would sort that?
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Old 10th Jun 2019, 22:45
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Thank you for those links LFH.
I've just read through the one about Burberry - fascinating story.
Knew a bit about the coat - grenade rings on the belt etc - but not about gaberdine.
Yes, I suspect you are right about the cutler.
DD - one wonders if cutting the cake was not acceptable - then at least being allowed to take the top off the champagne bottle...!
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Old 11th Jun 2019, 10:38
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Just had our Golden Wedding and dug out our wedding photos, which show me with my hired Moss Bros sword plunged into the cake. I'm sure it still had crumbs from its previous outing on the blade!

Or two chaps with swords for that matter....
Indeed!
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Old 11th Jun 2019, 13:03
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Originally Posted by teeteringhead View Post
Or two chaps with swords for that matter....
been done already.
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Old 11th Jun 2019, 13:09
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My son borrowed a dozen precious swords from the RAF for his wedding sword party. The sword party stood outside the church in a light rain shower but not all the guys ensured the swords were thoroughly dry when they were sheathed. Before he left on his honeymoon the next day, he entrusted one of his RAF buddies to return the swords to the stores. Unbelievably, his friend forgot about the swords in his car boot for two weeks! When my son returned, he found them all covered in a thick layer of aggressive rust! It took almost 2 days of hard graft to return them to their previously pristine state. I am sure he had other things in his mind!
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Old 11th Jun 2019, 13:11
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Originally Posted by tartare View Post
Thank you for those links LFH.
I've just read through the one about Burberry - fascinating story.
Knew a bit about the coat - grenade rings on the belt etc - but not about gaberdine.
Yes, I suspect you are right about the cutler.
DD - one wonders if cutting the cake was not acceptable - then at least being allowed to take the top off the champagne bottle...!
Pooley’s produce an informative ha handbook swords and expressly advise against trying to take champagne corks out with swords.

I recently sold a George V RAF sword that simply had ‘London Made’ on the blade and a London proofing mark In the centr of the star. These were typically sold to gentlemen’s outfitters; when my grandmother died, we found a Webley revolver in her bedside cabinet marked Army & Navy stores. It was from her second husband who had been a Lt Col in Round 1; I recall reading that up to 1915, officer had to buy their own pistols and swords.

Last edited by Whenurhappy; 12th Jun 2019 at 19:27.
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Old 11th Jun 2019, 15:16
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Champagne corks..... use the blunt side of a cutlass blade,
just 'slide' it sharply down the neck of the bottle to catch under
the moulding by the cork. I have friend who dares to do this, and film somewhere.
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Old 11th Jun 2019, 15:29
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I also think congratulations are in order for Tankertrashnav for fifty years of marriage.
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Old 11th Jun 2019, 15:48
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Congratulations TTN. Took the same step into the unknown that year. The RAF Ceremonial Sword is particularly good in the art of "sabrage" or uncorking champers. An energetic and enthusiastic pal covered half the party with bubbles when he removed the neck of the bottle as well
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