Presentation Sword

Presentation sword, which belonged to Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth (1748-1817). The hilt of the sword consists of a knuckle-bow guard, box-shaped pommel and langets. The guard is engraved with foliage. The top of the pommel is engraved with a sword and anchor motif. The hilt of the sword is engraved around the pommel with the words 'Presented by H.R.H. the DUKE OF CLARENCE to Sir J.T. Duckworth K.B. in Commemoration of the Total Capture & Destruction of a French Squadron in the Bay of ST.DOMINGO, on the 6 Feb 1806'. The obverse of the langets is engraved with a crown over a foul anchor motif. The reverse of the langets is engraved with a flag, a gun and a trident. The grip is bound with silver wire.

The straight steel blade has been damascened for 254mm; the remainder is bright, which may be the result of restoration. The blade has a broad groove running to within 76mm of the point. The obverse of the blade is decorated with the Royal cypher 'GR', a crown above the cypher and the number 'III' below the cypher. The obverse of the blade is also decorated with crossed flags, and a trophy of guns, flags and drums. The reverse of the blade is decorated with the Royal arms of 1800 with supporters, the motto below, crossed flags, and a trophy of arms. The back, or spine of the blade bears the inscription 'Joh. Fried. Raab 1800'. The black leather scabbard has two gilt lockets with rings, and chape. The mounts are engraved with rings and leaf motifs. There is a frog-button on the obverse of the top locket engraved with a shell motif. The reverse of the top locket is engraved with the words 'S.BRUNN, Sword Cutler to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales 55 Charing Cross, London'.

Although the blade of this sword was made and engraved in 1800, it was presented to Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth after his action in 1806. It was for this reason that the inscription is on the hilt instead of as is more usual on the blade. The blade and the hilt were probably manufactured abroad. On dismantling the hilt it was noticed that the shoulder, where it joined the tang, bore a number of stamped words or letters thought to be 'Konig G, F Hertzberg'. As the junction has been filed to fit most of these words were indecipherable. It is thought that the stamp refers to the Konigliche Gewehrfabrik zu Hertsberg, the principal arms factory in Hanover. A member of the Kraus family who also made firearms may have made the blade.

Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth (1748-1817) was born on the 28th February 1748 and entered the Royal Navy in May 1759 after early schooling at Eton. In 'Namur' he took part in the Battle of Quiberon Bay. After being confirmed in the rank of Lieutenant on the 14th November 1771, Duckworth was court-martialled following an accident with a shot carelessly left in a gun. He was acquitted on this charge. After the outbreak of war with France in 1793, Duckworth commanded 'Orion' at the Battle of the Glorious First of June, receiving a gold medal for his part in this action. He was promoted to the rank of Commander on the 26th July 1779, to Captain on the 16th June 1780 and to the rank of Rear-Admiral of the White on the 14th February 1799. Following his promotion to Rear-Admiral of the White, Duckworth captured a very valuable Spanish convoy while blockading Cadiz and saw further service in the West Indies capturing Swedish and Danish islands and directing operations against General Rochambeau in San Domingo. He was promoted to Rear-Admiral of the Red on the 1st January 1800 and was Commander-in-Chief of Jamaica, from 1803-1805. He became Vice-Admiral of the Blue on the 23rd April 1804 and Vice-Admiral of the White on the 9th November 1805.

On his return to England, Duckworth faced a further court-martial on charges of using a frigate for private trading. A gold medal action under Duckworth's command saw the destruction of a French squadron off San Domingo on the 6th February 1806. In 1807 Duckworth's squadron sailed through the Dardanelles in an ineffectual attempt to dictate conditions to the Ottoman Porte. He was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral of the Red on the 28th April 1808 and after employment in the Channel in 1808-1809 he was appointed Governor and Commander-in-Chief at Newfoundland. He was promoted to Admiral of the Blue on the 31st July 1810, to Admiral of the White on the 4th December 1813 and was made a KB on the 6th June 1816. He returned to England and was appointed Commander-in-Chief at Plymouth in 1817, dying a few months later on the 31st August 1817.

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