Pioneer Sword – 1890 issue

A pioneer sword approximately 24 inches long with a steel blade and teeth on upper side There is a black leather scabbard with brass tip and fittings with a white leather frog. The sword grip handle is brass.

The British army has had several patterns of saw-back bayonets but few saw-back swords. The pattern 1856 infantry Pioneers’ short sword (hanger) was issued to the Pioneers within each infantry battalion.

In the 19th Century, each British infantry battalion had a ten-man squad of Pioneers, under the command of a corporal or sergeant. Their main tasks were to travel in advance of the main army, to clear the way and to undertake and supervise heavy construction work, often in enemy territory. The Pioneers were an early form of combat engineers.

Besides being a weapon, the saw-back sword was robust enough to replace the axes and hand saws usually carried by the Pioneers. The short, heavy blade could be used as both a saw and a machete and was of particular use when cutting brush to clear a field of fire and for clearing bivouac areas.

Sgt McKenna J round F11-1889

Associated place
Associated event
Associated name(s)
Sgt. McKenna J.
1891 – 1913 Early years
Location of artifact
Case 9/10 Early Yrs

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