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Title Royal Engineers officer's sword, 1892 pattern
Nationality British
Period 1895
 (This item is subject to special postage, click here for more information.)

This is a Wilkinson sword, serial number 33133, which, according to their records, was completed on 8 April 1895 and purchased by E.E.B. Wilson R.E. Brigadier Sir Eric Holt-Wilson (Holt added in 1909 by deed poll) was knighted in 1933 before his retirement in 1940 from MI5, with whom he served from 1912. By 1918, he was Deputy Director General.

Holt-Wilson (1875-1950) had a distinguished military career, serving in the Boer War, receiving both QSA and KSA medals, and also the Distinguished Service Order, gazetted 27 September 1901 as a Lieutenant. After this, he served at Woolwich RMA (1909-12) as an instructor, joining MI5 in 1912. There is copious mention of him in the official history of MI5, Defence of the Realm by Christopher Andrew (published recently). He was an enigma of a man, describing himself as a champion revolver shot, at the same time as being a self-confessed evangelical Christian, his nickname in the service being Holy Willie. There is an excellent group photograph in the book showing him seated next to his boss, the Director of MI5, Vernon Kell, in full military service dress. He was educated at Harrow and RMA Woolwich and had an organising brain of a very high standard.

The sword has its original gold bullion RE knot. The blade: the RE title and winged thunderbolts badge are engraved in the centre, with H-W's two first initials (EE for Eric Edward) reversed on each other; on the reverse are the Royal Arms of Queen Victoria, with Henry Wilkinson, Pall Mall, London at the base of the blade. The scabbard is the dress scabbard described in the Wilkinson archives. It has four small dents in the centre and there is considerable wear to the nickel plating, with some minor surface rust remaining. The blade is somewhat worn and has lost all of its original finish. The hilt (with the VR cipher) has most of its original nickel finish, with a little surface rust and lifting to both sides of the guard. The grip would appear to be the original, with a small patch of fishskin having been replaced towards the pommel.

If you want to comment on this item—re quality, age, etc—please email me.

[Edged Weapons : Swords : British : 19th Century]


The iron cross you sent me came on Saturday morning. Very pleased with the medal.

A M, UK, 13.08.2007

I received the book yesterday and I must say I am delighted with it, a cracking piece of work ... A very big thank you for perservering and getting the book to me, a big thumbs up for you and your business.

C B, UK, 05.01.2006