Sunday, August 28, 2016

General Sir Sydney Lawford 1865 - 1953

General Sir Sydney Turing Barlow Lawford KCB

The General’s Sword

Dear Mr. Lawford,

Firstly, please allow me to introduce myself;

My name is Troy Zwicker. I am a Deputy Sheriff who resides in Nova Scotia, Canada. One of my hobbies is collecting British military swords, which is the reason I am writing to you.

I discovered your blog while conducting research into a Wilkinson sword in my collection. I read your articles on the Lawford connection to the Draper's Guild with fascination, not least because your articles helped confirm in my mind my working theory on the original owner of said sword.

I have enclosed a link to an on-line article that was put together by a very good friend of mine on his blog regarding the sword in question and its connection to a member of the Lawford family.

Might I prevail upon you to peruse the article and share your thoughts with me regarding my deductive reasoning on the purchaser and owner of this fascinating historical artifact?

Here is the link to the article;

In closing Sir, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to you for your efforts in making available to the world (including amateur historians such as myself!) the fascinating history of your family.

Respectively yours,

Troy Zwicker
Nova Scotia,

5th August 2016

to which my cousin Jeremy replied: 

I am sure Troy Zwicker’s conclusion is correct, and that this was indeed Sydney’s sword.  And he is right that Sydney’s father had died just a few months before, so it is not unreasonable to assume that a relative might have bought 19 year old Sydney his regimental sword.

However, my first thought was that there are no Lawfords in that period with those initials – indeed, there are few apart from Sydney himself who had as many as three initials,   And Troy Zwicker is absolutely right that Sydney was the only Lawford in the Royal Fusiliers.  Certainly not second cousin Percy (who had no other initials anyway),  nor his father’s cousin George (ditto).

So I looked again at the initials in the Wilkinson ledger, and I think the answer may be quite straightforward.  The first initial could be almost anything, but it is certainly not a ‘P’ and I don’t think it’s a ‘G’ either.  If anything it looks like the sort of terminal small case ‘s’ that I was taught to form at Miss Melsom’s school in Deddington 70+ years ago.  The second letter is, I think, a ‘T’ rather than an ‘S’.  And the third letter, which is unquestionably a ‘V’, was written down in error when Sydney gave his name as S T B Lawford.  Not much difference in sound between B and V, as anyone who has tried learning modern Greek will know!

So the purchaser, in my opinion, was S T B Lawford of the 7th Fusiliers, which was, I believe, the battalion to which he was attached after gaining his commission in the Royal Fusiliers on 5th February i885.  The service record which I attach indicates as much.

Jeremy Lawford
8th August 2016