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 Sword tradition

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Anglo-Norman
Consulatus


Posts : 224
Join date : 2012-04-24

PostSubject: Sword tradition   Wed May 23, 2012 11:09 am

I realise the following is a very specific question, and possibly requires a specific expertise, but research has failed to turn anything up and I'm reluctant to join another, specialist forum just to ask one question:

Those of you who have seen the Changing of the Guard ceremony (at least the one in Windsor - I assume it's the same in London) will know that at certain points the officers parade up and down in front of their men, holding their drawn swords. Reputedly this dates back to the 18th century, and was done before battle to demonstrate they weren't drunk! No idea if that's true. However, I was puzzled by the fact that with the Irish Guards they carried their sword just above the hilt, rather than by the grip. I asked a former Grenadier Guards acquaintance of mine, who confirmed this is a tradition specific to the Irish Guards, but did not know the reason for it.

I'd love to have an explaination for this seemingly rather hazardous activity - after all, the blades are sharp! - so I'm turning to the knowledgeable company here for help.
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Islanddawn
Censura


Posts : 1993
Join date : 2012-01-05
Location : Greece

PostSubject: Re: Sword tradition   Wed May 23, 2012 11:23 am

Interesting question AN. I can't help I'm afraid, know nothing about swords or how to hold them except that you use the pointy end! But I'd like to know the answer now that you've asked.

Pity Catigern hasn't been around lately, he seems to be a historical military/weapons expert and may be able to provide information.
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nordmann
Nobiles BarbariƦ


Posts : 5379
Join date : 2011-12-25

PostSubject: Re: Sword tradition   Wed May 23, 2012 12:49 pm

Holding the sword by the ricasso is not peculiar to the Irish Guards, I don't think. I have definitely seen this style of presentation in other countries.

What might be relevant to the Irish Guards' adoption of the style is that it was also the style used by the Royal Irish Constabulary on parade duty. It is very possible that the custom transferred with personnel originally drilled by the RIC when the Irish Guards regiment was set up after the Boer War?

Only guessing ...

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Anglo-Norman
Consulatus


Posts : 224
Join date : 2012-04-24

PostSubject: Re: Sword tradition   Wed May 23, 2012 5:52 pm

@nordmann wrote:
Holding the sword by the ricasso is not peculiar to the Irish Guards, I don't think. I have definitely seen this style of presentation in other countries.

Perhaps. However, I've seen the Guard Change at Windsor numerous times, and I've never noticed officers from any other Guards (or indeed Line) regiments carrying their sword in that manner.

The possible RIC connection is an interesting one.
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