This sabre belonged to Major William Cecil Welsh Rawlinson whose regiment spent most of the later half of the 19th century in garrison positions on garrison duty so it must have been a surprise when William C. W. Rawlinson, then a Captain, was sent to India to be a staff officer under the Bengal governor and served in the Sikkim expedition, as Aide-de-Camp to Sir Steuart Bayley. From limited information it appears he was mainly working in procurement and logistics, ensuring food and billets serving with the Bengal Staff Corps alongside the largely Sikh 32nd Pioneers, the Derbyshire's and the Gurkhas.
It must have been even more of a surprise when after a ten year peacetime career on the 21st of May he participated in the defence of Gnathong, a surprise attack by the Tibetan forces to attempt to kill, capture or intimidate the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal in an attempt to influence British policy in the region.
During the battle just over fifteen hundred men, almost eight hundred being Pioneers, defended against three thousand Tibetans taking only a handful of casualties and killing between one and four hundred. This sword whilst it was purchased on 25 May 1878 has been altered at some point before the Sikkim expedition to represent Rawlinson's position as a staff officer.
Sadly passing away at forty two in 1898 Rawlinson was a dutiful officers serving mainly in peacetime but earning honour in battle. On an interesting side note two years before his commisioning Rawlinson represented England as a forward against Scotland in a Rugby Union Home Nations game.
The swords blade is in great condition with good quality etchings on a broad sabre blade. The hilt has a snap to the brass shown in the photos, there are some losses to the shagreen.
This sword with its varied history can be yours for £675 or best offer.