Colonel Arthur Campbell-Walker's sword
Burials connected with this article
1 burial in Rectory Lane Cemetery is linked with Colonel Arthur Campbell-Walker's sword — click on a burial below to find out more about the historical connections:
Description of a military backsword belonging to Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Campbell-Walker (1833 – 1887)
A Scottish Officers’ back sword of “Pinch of Snuff” form dating to the middle of the 18th century. The blade is engraved with the name of Colonel Arthur Campbell-Walker and three of his ancestors who carried the sword on military service dating back to 1798. The sword is in excellent condition.
The attractive and delicate construction of the basket of this sword identifies it as a member of a rare and distinct group of mid-18th century Scottish swords.
The complex style of hilt is unique and identical to two others depicted in contemporary portraits. The first is a painting called “The Pinch of Snuff” by William Delacour, after which the sword type gained its name, and shows an officer in a Highland Regiment probably on service in the Americas, with the sword tucked under his arm whilst he pauses to take a pinch of snuff. The painting is illustrated in “History of Highland Dress”, John Telfer Dunbar, Oliver & Boyd 1962, Plate 47.
The second shows Colonel William Gordon of Fyvie, in the uniform of the Queens Own Royal Regiment of Highlanders, painted in Rome by Pompeo Batoni in 1766, illustrated in “The Clans of Scotland”, Micheil MacDonald, Brian Trodd Publishing, 1991, Page 108.
The bun-shaped pommel with integral pommel button sits comfortably in a ring forged around the top of the basket. The wooden grip is covered with shagreen and bound with twisted wire. The hilt retains its red woollen fringe and leather liner covered with red velvet and finished with a blue silken border and black ribbon. The 18th century backsword blade is of fine quality with a pronounced fuller extending from the hilt underneath the spine to a short distance from the tip after which the blade becomes double edged. Beneath this a shallower fuller extends down the middle of the blade from the hilt almost to the tip. The sword retains its black leather scabbard which carries a repair to its upper section and is mounted with its original iron chape and mouthpiece parts.
The blade is engraved with three separate panels which were executed at different times in slightly different styles and also exhibit different levels of wear. The panel to the centre of the blade is the oldest. It shows the name “Henry David Walker” then underneath this “West Indian Army Horse 1798”. This probably refers to the West Indies rather than a western province of India. Scots regiments as well as other British units were posted to the West Indies at this time. We can assume that Henry David Walker owned the sword at the end of the 18th century and possibly inherited from an earlier Walker family member. An adjacent panel shows the names Charles Walker above and J. Leslie Walker below. Presumably these individuals were also officers and possessed the sword in the early 19th century.
Colonel Arthur Campbell-Walker appears in the third panel nearest to the hilt: “COLONEL ARTHUR CAMPBELL-WALKER” then beneath this “79TH CAMERON HIGHLANDERS”. Colonel Walker owned the sword in the third quarter 19th century. He was the son of Mr G Walker of Fagdalen Point, Angus where he was born on 2 Dec 1834.The additional name of Campbell was adopted in 1875 the year in which he was married; a son was born in 1866 in Cookham, Hants. He was an Ensign on 9 Mar 1855, Lieutenant on 16 Jun 1857, an Instructor of Musketry on 27 July 1857, Captain on 20 Feb 1866 and a Captain with Higher pay on 11 Jan 1867.
Colonel Campbell-Walker served in the Crimea, after the fall of Sevastopol, and in the Indian Mutiny campaign 1858-59, as ADC to Brig Gen Douglas, including in operations across the Goomtee, the siege and capture of Lucknow, and subsequent operations on the march to the relief of Azimghur. He was Mentioned in Despatches, Medal with Clasp. His medals are in the McLachlan Collection at the Regimental Depot of the Highlanders Museum at Fort George in Scotland. He became Adjutant 1st Admin. Northumberland Rifle Volunteers on 20 July 1869 and served on the staff of the School of Musketry, Hythe 1859-64. He was a member of the Hon Corps of Gentlemen at Arms (appointed 20 July 1869) and died in 1887.