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Kevin O'Marah

Welsh Swords

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Kevin O'Marah

New to collection

post-1398-0-26297600-1333014700.jpg

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clive_hughes

Hi Kevin,

Very nice - are they both original & full-size? The lower one looks very shiny for a WW1 piece!

Clive

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pioneecorps

Hi Kevin

My mate had one just like your top one in the photo, he did think his was not a genuine one, it looked ok to me, there is one on display at the Impirial War Museum, I'm not sure now, if they were used by the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, but don't quote me on this :ph34r: .

,

Regards.

Gerwyn

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Kevin O'Marah

Clive, Gerwyn,

No they are not original, but they are full size. They were purchased from America the top sword was listed as very rare Welsh WW1 sword,aged REPRODUCTION, but having bought the bottom one a few months prior I thought that an aged version would be an interesting addition( the cost was greater, but were only passing through once). The bottom sword was sent as goods and no import tax was paid( International Military Antiques. NJ). The aged sword was sent from (Military Antiques and Museum.CA) who listed it as what it was so an additional cost was paid for VAT and ParcelForce cost. They look good on the wall and knowing that they were repros. I did not feel that I was ripped off or conned.

If you require any info please let me know.

Hwyl am y tro

Kevin

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pioneecorps

Hi Kevin

I agree with your comments on looking good framed and on your wall, I would love to have them :thumbsup: . still can't find where I heard/read, that they were used by the RWF.

Regards.

Gerwyn

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clive_hughes

They were financed by Lord Howard de Waldron of Chirk Castle and presented to the 9th Battalion RWF. Supposedly based on a medieval Welsh sword pattern: the hinged hilt guard was officially patented. Within the battalion they were issued to machine-gunners and possibly other specialists such as bombers. Some blades are engraved "Dros Urddas Cymru" (For The Honour Of Wales).

Another who may have used one was A.O.Vaughan (aka "Owen Roscomyl"), a writer and adventurer who spent time as a cowboy in the American West and fought in the Boer War, before raising the Welsh Horse in 1914. His biographer Bryn Owen found tantalisingly little about his WW1 service even though he rose to Lieut-Colonel rank (in the Northumberland Fusiliers). He turns up briefly in a Welsh-language autobiography by E.Beynon Davies, an officer of the 19th (Bantams) RWF, where he's described as giving bloodthirsty advice to the troops and carrying an unusual short sword. He actually signed one month of the unit War Diary in 1916 as acting CO, so it wasn't a mistake on Davies' part. He was best friends with de Waldron and a Welsh nationalist, so it's not unlikely he got one.

Clive

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pioneecorps

Hi Clive

Thank you for helping me out, a great book to read the Welsh Horse, I met Bryn Owen when he was the Curator of the Welch Regimental Museum, he helped me with sorting Harry's Medals to Ribbons, and help with the history on the 15th Battalion.

Cheers.

Gerwyn

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Muerrisch

the actual weapon seems useless: I have held the real deal and cannot imagine using it for anything except as an entrenching tool. Short, heavy, unbalanced, grip too small and uncomfortable, the folding guard a joke ........... could not even chop firewood!

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clive_hughes

Agreed, Grumpy! The hinged guard is supposed to allow the weapon to lie flatter against the body when not in use, but I can't imagine that those who had to wear this item blessed its creator much...still, an interesting piece of militaria which I wouldn't mind owning!

Clive

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Kevin O'Marah

From papers received from R Wilkinson Latham who presented a Centenary Sword at Cardiff Arms Park on 3rd Feb 1982 to the Welsh Rugby Union in paying tribute to its national game as it celebrated its centenary, the presentation sword was engraved with the names of all the captains of Wales.

The presentation was linked to a sponsorship gift to be made available over three years for schoolboy coaching, and future fund rasing efforts for the Welsh Rugby Union's Centenary Appeal.(Incidentally Wilkinson Sword had a factory at Bridgend).

Also mentioned in the draft press release- The sword(or knives) as they were then called)were supplied privately by Lord Howard de Walden."The sword itself is of significance, being based on a pattern used by Welsh long bowmen at the battle of Crecy in the 15th century and by the Royal Welsh Fusiliers during WW1 particularly at the Battle of Messines Ridge in 1917.

Extracts from IWM website- The "Welsh Knife" was designed by the sculptor and armourer Felix Joubert and patented by himself as a "new or improved trench knife". It was allegedly based on an ancient Welsh weapon, although the existence of such a distinctive Welsh mediaeval sword has since been disproved. An unknown, but limited, numbers were manufactured by the Wilkinson Sword Company, at the behest of Lord de Walden who shared Joubert's interest in mediaeval weapons.

The IWM possesses a memorandum, dated 27 January 1920, which relates to information on the knife supplied by Colonel H Lloyd Williams, late commander of the 9th Battalion, RWF(Lord de Walden commanded the battalion between September and December 1917; Lloyd Williams succeeded to command October 1918). The memorandum states-"9th Batt'n RWF. This battalion made use of a knife with which all machine gunners and bombers were always equipped. Every member of a raiding party was so armed and in one raid on the Messines Ridge two days before the battle of Messines they were used with conspicuous success. They were provided by Lord Howard de Walden and were a replica of a weapon used by Ancient Welsh tribes. They were double-edged, but were intended more for bayoneting than cutting".

I hope that this has and will be of some help to those who have and wish to research the history of "The Welsh knife"

Hwyl am y tro

Kevin

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Kevin O'Marah

Clive the hinged guard was patented by Felix Joubert.

Kevin

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Kevin O'Marah

the actual weapon seems useless: I have held the real deal and cannot imagine using it for anything except as an entrenching tool. Short, heavy, unbalanced, grip too small and uncomfortable, the folding guard a joke ........... could not even chop firewood!

[ I'm sorry to disagree to its use as a weapon it might be a bit clumsy so are 2lb or 4lb hammers that were used in trench raids, but were very effective. As I’ve mentioned in my posting "used with conspicuous success" and a good chop from the bladed edge or the flat side with the weight of momentum and a man with the intent on inflicting severe injury and a primary purpose of killing his enemy behind it? Bone smashes easier than fire wood, and I doubt that fire wood feels pain?]

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Khaki

Although a historically interesting weapon, I would think that a short bladed stabbing knife like the German trench knife was more practical for silent work.

khaki

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Muerrisch

"They were double-edged, but were intended more for bayoneting than cutting".

How do you fix the thing to a rifle then?

I have a genuine Gurkha kukri ........... now THAT is a weapon to take off an arm or a head ........ razor sharp, with the weight in the right place.

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truthergw

Are there any accounts from the men of their use? What do they say? I seem to hear the faint echo of Lady Wotsits' Gas Fan.

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Khaki

I wouldn't want anything to do with any weapon that I had to raise above my head to deliver a lethal blow, in close work you probably would be the looser,. exposed torso open to a single thrust by bayonet or knife. This is not to say that all the clubs, sharpened trench tools and rifle butts weren't effective, they could be, however if I was crawling toward an enemy I wouldn't want to be waving my arm at him

khaki

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Muerrisch

I wouldn't want anything to do with any weapon that I had to raise above my head to deliver a lethal blow, in close work you probably would be the looser,. exposed torso open to a single thrust by bayonet or knife. This is not to say that all the clubs, sharpened trench tools and rifle butts weren't effective, they could be, however if I was crawling toward an enemy I wouldn't want to be waving my arm at him

khaki

"THE POINT BEATS THE EDGE!"

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Khaki

"THE POINT BEATS THE EDGE!"

well said grumpy, very much, 'to the point'

khaki

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pioneecorps

Your loosing the point, your not reading Kevins post; Posted Yesterday, 11:18 PM. you will find all the details in it as to how it was used; "They were double-edged, but were intended more for bayoneting than cutting" .

Regards.

Gerwyn

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Scalyback

Sorry more questions chaps.

It appears to be a bit of a no starter as a weapon. Given the above points, has anyone field tested a copy?

Did any units in 38th Div manage to get "Brethyn llwyd" and Welsh swords at the same time? reading between the lines, BL appears to be a Welsh regiment recruitment tool, where RWF have the swords. I know BL was pie in the sky and never reached frontline troops as such but did the two every get combined as a recruitment tool?

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Khaki

I think we got what he meant, which was a stabbing blade, it sort of reminds me, in spirit, of the massive bowie style knives that confederate's often armed themselves with at the beginning of the US Civil War. I think that there existed a belief that there was a need for a massive blade in most armies, but there is a difference in needs between combat infantry requirements and pioneers. I am guessing that the concept behind the Welsh sword was to foster an aggresive mentality (although Welsh regiments proved they already had one) and a pride in cultural heritage (they also had that as well) hence the legend engraved on the blade. Other large blades existed such as the US bolo blade. We have the creator of the Welsh sword to thank for leaving us with a wonderful piece of rare Great War weapon curiosa.

khaki

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Kevin O'Marah

I tend to agree with khaki, that It was more of a morale booster for the Welsh and all things Welsh, as we have mentioned in previous threads, that after the way the Welsh were portraid at Mametz Wood their feelings would have been on the negative side, and the thought of Welshmen attacking Messines Ridge with a knife thought to be a copy of a similar ancient sword carried by their forefathers would have been a great morale booster for the R.W.F?

Kevin

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clive_hughes

Interesting idea, but no: the Welsh "cleddyd" and the grey Brethyn Llwyd were never combined. The 9th RWF was not part of the 38th Welsh Division, which alone wore the grey uniforms (and even then, only some units).

The uniform was indeed a 1914-15 recruiting tool, sometimes conspicuously so when used on "recruiting marches" which were tours around areas which could have supplied more manpower! I got the impression that even quite nationalistically-inclined Welsh senior officers looked askance at the outfit and were keen to replace it a.s.a.p. with khaki (though the same could be said for those battalions who received "Kitchener Blue"). It was hard-wearing, however, and when exchanged for khaki SD it was reused well into 1916 by Reserve formations at Kinmel Park Camp. Sadly, no authenticated examples of it seem to survive.

Apologies for misspelling de Walden as "de Waldron"! I have somewhere a copy of the Patent document for the sword.

Clive

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Scalyback

Thanks for the information chaps.

In planning both are very good ideas but I think Lloyd George had his hand in it with Welsh bardism as such. LST_164 are you saying that no period uniforms are know to exist?

How much is a copy "cleddyd" btw?

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Kevin O'Marah

Clive, I believe that Felix Joubert patented a bayonet style knife/short sword prior to the concept of the Welsh knife,but it was rejected by the British Army (I have seen a photo of one that was for sale a long,long time ago and regret now not braking the bank to purchase It as It was well in excess of £1,700 then, been much, much rarer and more or less a prototype). It was longer in length but much narrower and thicker and appeared to be much heavier, the hand grip was of similar bound design but the cross guard was short and fixed. It seemed to be a much more practical weapon, and I think that It was this that de Walden first saw and inspired him into the concept of the Welsh knife.

Hwyl

Kevin

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