Joubert’s Welsh trench sword

Thomas Scott-Ellis, 8th Lord Howard de Walden, was a polymath who had ridden with the 10th Hussars in the Boer War and was always ready for a fight.

From the National Trust

Tommy’s enormous range of interests included: documenting heraldry as a medieval historian, editing Burke’s Peerage, competing in the 1908 Olympics at speed boat racing (the only time this has ever been an Olympic event), horse racing, sailing, hawking, golfing, flying, model-boating, writing libretti for operas (with music by his friend Joseph Holbrooke) and writing both pageants and pantomimes for his six children and their friends – he did the lot!

When the Great War came, Lord Walden became involved with the 9th Batt., Royal Welsh Fusiliers, and as can be expected, began searching for a blade that set his Welshmen apart.

That’s where antiques dealer, arms collector and scholar Felix Joubert of Chelsea came in. The so-called Welsh sword was a trench dagger that Joubert said was based on the traditional “Welsh cleddyd” (or cledd), but this has been ruled out as just so much window dressing to appeal to Lord Walden.

Welsh Knife with scabbard (WEA 785) The ‘Welsh Knife’ was designed in 1916 by the sculptor and armourer Felix Joubert and patented by him, as a ‘new or improved trench knife’. It was allegedly based on an ancient Welsh weapon, although the existence of such a distinctly Welsh mediæval sword has since been disproved. An unknown, but limited, number of Welsh Knives were manufactured by the Wilkinson Sword Company, Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/30001257

The pommel is heavy and pointed, the hand guard folds flat against the blade for sheathing and the ricasso is inscribed “Dros Urddas Cymru”, Welsh for “For the honour of Wales”

The blade was some 17.6-inches long, leading to a two-foot long, 36-ounce weapon.

Joubert’s Welsh sword trench knife, patent drawing. Note the folding mechanism

He patented the blade in 1916 (GB108741) and it was produced by both Wilkinson (who apparently made 200) and locally in France by firm(s) unknown. Originally only for use by bombers (grenadiers), trench-pirates and machine gun crew, it was later issued to most officers and ranks of 9th RWF.

They were reportedly “used with great effect in a raid at Messines Ridge, 5 June 1917.”

From the Royal Armories

As noted by the Royal Armories, “The ‘Welsh knife’ inspired the design of the Smatchet fighting knife of The Second World War by the renowned hand-to-hand combat expert and innovator, Lieutenant-Colonel William E. Fairbairn.”

Behold, the famous Fairbairn Smatchet…or is it a Welsh cleddyd?

The Welsh trench swords are widely reproduced by Windlass in India as well as others, while the Smatchet is even more common.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

2 responses to “Joubert’s Welsh trench sword”

  1. Tim says :

    Looks like one of the short swords from the Hobbit.

  2. Tim says :

    Midway USA has Cold Steel Smatchet Machete 14″ 1055 Carbon Steel Black Blade Polymer Handle Black on sale for 19.19

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