By Jove! Updates?!

Lace Has Arrived

We have a slew of updates that are long overdue! As you can see from the picture above, Man the Capstan has finally received its last shipment of gold lace from Military Heritage! They had some lengthy order issues to deal with through their supplier, but in the end came through. They sent me the lace straight away, and it arrived within days of them receiving it. Thank you very much to the kind folks at Military Heritage for putting up with us here in Nova Scotia!

The lace is ten metres long, and should be more than adequate in finishing the trim on the first R.N. uniform. The uniform is still missing trim on the front lapels, the back, the tails and the sleeves. I imagine she’ll look very different when fully trimmed, and I can’t wait! We’ll be sure to post an update when it is complete.

Another substantial update is one of our acquisitions, save the lace. She arrived about a month ago from Australia, in a very large box! Understandable, given she was an expensive sword purchased and shipped from Australia. This newest addition was hinted to in the Behind the Uniform, Addendum post (scroll down until you see the brass anchor/crown picture), and only now have we had the time to talk further on it.

Sword Has Arrived

The sword is a replica, of course. She’s based off of an 1827 pattern, which is currently in use by many Commonwealth navies around the world (United Kingdom, Canada), so it’s no surprise we were able to find it in Australia. The 1827 pattern is similar to a 1805 sword, which is often called the Nelson Trafalgar sword. This sword was worn and used by Admiral Horatio Nelson, during the Battle of Trafalgar on the 21st of October in 1805. Trafalgar was one of the more decisive naval battles of the Napoleonic Wars, and it was significant both strategically, and socially. The victory at Trafalgar supplied a significant morale boost for both civilians back home, and for sailors and servicemen at sea. Strategically, it all but annihilated Bonaparte’s influence on the high seas, assuring Great Britain’s dominance. Indeed, it was Britain’s ability to circumvent Bonparte’s “continental system” that kept her in the war, and ultimately was a large contributor to the dissolution of Bonaparte’s strangle-hold on Europe.

Sword hilt close up

All of the metal components on the sword are solid brass! Take a peek at the picture above, and note the detail of the hilt. Like many R.N. swords, she bears the fouled anchor and crown of the Royal Navy. There is one hole on the top of the hilt for the sword knot, and two others on the bottom part of the hilt. The sword knot currently being used is a regulation knot, in use today by the Royal Navy. The scabbard rings are nicely welded, and fit beautifully to our Royal Navy regulation sword belt. They both look like they are perfectly suited to one another (which, I suppose, is true).

Close up of the hiltThe hilt is imitation ivory, taking after Nelson’s sword (which was real ivory, I am sure). The pommel, near the tang button, features a lion’s head. The scabbard of the sword is real leather, which makes the sword surprisingly light to carry (and not as bulky). The other swords for Man the Capstan feature solid steel scabbards. These steel scabbards are heavier and sturdier, and when you draw the blade make a very nice sound. Our new Nelson scabbard, while not solid steel, is genuine leather and is true to form. The metal components on the scabbard are also solid brass, and feature decorative etchings as well.

All in all, this sword is a truly exquisite addition to Man the Capstan, and will be a true pleasure to wear. It really adds to the presentation of the uniform, improving the overall authenticity that we’re so deeply concerned about.

Featured below is another YouTube video we’ve produced on the Nelson sword. Please take a look!

Dave & Miranda

Halifax’s Tall Ships 2009 is approaching fast, and with the new lace and the sword having arrived, we are one step closer to being adequately prepared for it. There is still so much left to do, though, and finding time to get it all done has been difficult. The good news is that I’m now finished all my schooling. I wrote my last exam two days ago, and will graduate in May from Acadia University. I am finally earning my Bachelor of Arts degree, and am glad to finally move on! I’ll have plenty of time this summer while I get situated to work and update on our efforts here at Man the Capstan. The picture to the right features myself posing alongside Miranda, who is wearing the Passage to India.

We’ve had relatives from British Columbia visit us this past week, my cousin Miranda and grandmother Sjoukje (SHOWK-YA). I am half-Dutch on my mother’s side, and my visiting grandmother originally came from the Netherlands. They immigrated in the 50s to Canada. My grandmother and Miranda managed to try on both of the dresses here at Man the Capstan, in particular Passage to India and English Rose.

grandma_duchess_smlWith this in mind, we’ve decided that any friends or family passing through who manage to try on our uniforms will be inducted into the Crew as honourary members! In a few days I’ll throw up some pictures of my grandmother and Miranda outfitted in the dresses, with some form of write-up to our crew page. Pictured to the left is Sjoukje, “the Duchess”, in the English Rose.

Speaking of dresses, I believe Johanna, the tailor, is still working on a few more. I think she’s shifted her choice of style, and will be trying her hand at some regency style gowns. One of the main reasons will be temperature—these larger gowns tend to be quite warm, while the regency varieties are lightweight and incorporate a great deal less fabric. I’ll let Johanna expand on this in a future post, however!

That’s all for the moment! Until next time!


About Dave

I am a twenty-two year old university student living in Nova Scotia, Canada. I am an avid naval history enthusiast, particularly the Regency/Napoleonic eras. I have a particular interest in the British Royal Navy and other Britannic military orders.

10 thoughts on “By Jove! Updates?!

  1. C. A. Sorensen, Esq. says:

    To My Fellow Officers,

    Greetings from the Great Pacific Northwest. Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Chris Sorensen, Amateur Historian, Tall Ship Sailor & Fellow Royal Navy Enthusiast. As such, I recently ran across your very well put together website and have found that I am not alone here upon the far side of the world.

    I must say you’ve covered almost all aspects of the uniform and the officer’s kit, but I have come across a few other bits of information that I believe you might find interesting if you’ve not already heard of them.

    Belts & Accoutrements:

    Sutler’s is located in the United Kingdom, and as such has the downfall of high shipping costs, but they are the only suppliers of the ‘S’ Hooked Lions Head belt that I can manage to find. It comes in both Black/Brown & White with Brass Hangers. They also supply cockades & other miscellaneous items you may be wanting to find.

    While on the topic of accessories, might I say ‘well done’ on the Australian Ebay find. I believe I purchased a R.N. WWII Belt Buckle – which I wear daily – from the same gentleman that I’m assuming you purchased your lovely replica 1827 Pattern from. I’ve the same blade, but wasn’t able to acquire the commissioned warrant officer’s white grip. Having ordered it directly from the forge, they denied me that small pleasure.

    But I stray from my point – I wanted to mention that while watching your video upon the 1827, you’d mentioned that an earlier version was carried by Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. This is in fact not entirely true. Nelson, in a hurried attempt to reach the Quarterdeck after having written his famous prayer, left his sword and pistols upon the sideboard. He walked into the battle entirely unarmed -aside from the orders upon his chest, which ultimately led to his demise.

    The rumor of the 1827 pattern having been used at Trafalgar is complete pot. Nelson’s sword was that of an earlier pattern, the 5-Ball Hilt Pattern that is now available in Replica on Military Heritage. So, yes.. I thought you’d be interested in that bit of history.

    I’ve ranted for far too long now, so I’ll leave off. I do hope to keep correspondence from time to time; asking questions here and there. Feel free to e-mail me if you might have any questions as well.

    Until the next, I remain your humble servant..
    -~: C. A. Sorensen, Esq.:~-

  2. Jonathan says:

    I agree with the comment above. The P1827 is not based on the Pattern 1805. The P1827 hilt is basically a more robust version of the Pattern 1822 infantry officer’s sword. Before about 1845 the P1827 would have had a pipe-back blade.

  3. Robert Swanson says:

    Agree that, while some Trafalgar-era Naval swords had lionshead pommels, the 1827 version was more based on infantry models. The hilt was never ivory but today’s plastic imitates the older rayskin (sometimes called “sharkskin”), white for Commissioned officers and black for Warrant Officers (now worn only by Masters at Arms). Go easy on the brasso, by the way -Further to my last. Agree that, while some Trafalgar-era Naval swords had similar lionshead pommels, 1827 pattern was more based on infantry models. The hilt was never ivory, but today’s plastic imitates earlier rayskin (sometimes called “sharkskin”), white for Commissioned Officers and black for Warrant Officers (now worn only by Master at Arms). Go easy on the brasso, by the way, I nearly ruined the gilding on mine (circa 1902) which I wore every week in the 1950s and is still the pattern for the Royal Australian Navy as well as RN and RCN. Nice, if later, your sword knot really needs a second, shorter length, which goes through the two holes at the foot of the guard, and your gold lace is really more Army than Navy – but so what, just minor quibbles. It’s nice to see such bright young people interested in the subject and getting everything just right.

  4. F. Damiani says:

    Greetings from the Toronto area. Just wanted to comment that you do not need to go to Australia to get great swords. You can Google the “Discriminating Genral” (a Canadian operation) and get acess to some great top of the line napoleonic period swords/uniforms etc. from most nations that participated in that conflict….including the 1805 Nelson Trafalgar sword.

    Keep collecting it’s a great hobby!


    F. Damiani

  5. Liam says:

    Dear Man the Capstan crew,
    I am a twelve year old boy who is a huge fan of the Aubrey/Maturin series, Horatio Hornblower, and most of all, Man the Capstan.
    I was wondering if you would know of any good movies in that genre? I was watching the third Pirates of the Caribbean and I shut it off as soon as the 122-gun First rate got destroyed by two galleons off 36 & 44 guns. Something accurate in that genre would be greatly appreciated.

    • Johanna says:

      Hi again Liam,

      Thank you so much for your great comments! I will have a look for some more movies in that genre. Have you ever watched the old Horatio Hornblower movie starring Gregory Peck? I believe it is from the 1950s or 60s. I found it quite neat.

      • Liam says:

        Hi Johanna,
        I just finished Horatio Hornblower and I wanted to thank you, it was very enjoyable.

  6. Johanna says:

    🙂 So happy that you liked that one! I did too!

  7. M.Wilkinson says:

    Nice looking sword, but you have not got the sword knot correctly tied. See

    Good luck,


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