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Lot 79: A FINE LLOYD'S PATRIOTIC FUND SWORD OF 50 POUND VALUE TO LIEUTENANT CHARLES MENZIES OF H.M.S. MINERVA / 1806* 91cm longPlatinum House
May 19, 2013
Melbourne, AustraliaLive Auction
A FINE LLOYD'S PATRIOTIC FUND SWORD OF 50 POUND VALUE TO LIEUTENANT CHARLES MENZIES OF H.M.S. MINERVA / 1806*
with curved single-edged hollow-ground blade, the blued ground intricately etched and gilt with a naval trophy, figures of Britannia and Hope, the crowned arms and cypher of George III, cornucopia, flowers, foliage and inscription 'FROM THE PATRIOTIC FUND AT LLOYDS TO LIEUT. CHARLES MENZIES OF THE ROYAL MARINES, FOR THE DISTINGUISHED COURAGE & BRAVERY DISPLAYED BY HIM IN COMMAND OF THE ROYAL MARINES AT THE STORMING FORT FINISTERRE, BEING THE FIRST WHO MOUNTED THE BREACH AND PLANTED THE BRITISH COLOURS ON THE RAMPARTS ON THE 22ND JUNE - RECORDED IN THE LONDON GAZETTE OF THE 15TH JULY 1806, chequered ivory grip with ormolu back-piece in the form of the Nemean Lion, knuckle-guard shaped as a club entwined by a snake, ormolu stirrup hilt, crossguard with detail in the form of fasces, in original fishskin-covered scabbard with intricately detailed ormolu mounts, two suspension rings and locket with engraved inscription 'R. TEED Dress Sword Maker to the PATRIOTIC FUND Lancaster Court STRAND'; a red leather belt with embroidered silver-gilt thread, with gilt mounts, bosses in the form of lion's heads and circular interlocking buckle showing Britannia fighting the Hydra above lettering in relief 'PATRIOTIC FUND 1803', in fitted mahogany case lined with blue velvet and 'PATRIOTIC FUND, LLOYD'S,1803' paper label to interior of lid
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It is believed that the sword was purchased by a member of the Menzies family at auction in England in the 1950s. The sword was presented to Sir Robert Menzies shortly after and has remained in the Menzies family to the present day.
A portrait of by Daniel Cunliffe (1801-1871) painted in 1843 shows Lieutenant Colonel Sir Charles Menzies, wearing the Lloyd's Patriotic Fund Sword (see front cover). This painting is in the Collection of the Royal Marines Museum, Southsea, Hampshire.
Sir Charles A.F.N. Menzies (1783-1866), Royal Marines officer and founder of Newcastle, New South Wales was born at Bal Freike, Perthshire, Scotland, the son of Captain Charles Menzies of the 71st Regiment, and Sarah, née Walker. He was educated at Stirling and, at age 15 commissioned as a second Lieutenant in the Royal Marines, serving on HMS Holden with Lord Nelson's squadron off Boulogne during the blockade of the French Invasion Fleet.
In 1803 Menzies sailed on HMS Calcutta to transport convicts to NSW and shortly after was promoted to lieutenant. In 1804 he was in command of a detachment of marines that crushed an uprising near Castle Hill by a group of Irish convicts, who were political prisoners from the 1798 Battle of Vinegar Hill, County Wexford. Following this incident, in March 1804 Governor Philip Gidley decided to separate the worst offenders to establish a new settlement on Coal River for the purpose of coal production. He accepted Lieutenant Menzies' offer to take command of the new settlement. The group sailed from Sydney on the Lady Nelson, Francis and Resource and arrived on 30 March. Initially Menzies named the new settlement Kingstown, but it was re-named Newcastle by Governor King. Although still only in his early 20s Menzies acquitted himself well and by the time he resigned his position in March 1805 to return to England the settlement was well established.
Menzies resumed active service soon after returning to England. He commanded Royal Marines attached to HMS Minerva and was involved in numerous actions. On 22nd June 1806 Menzies was in one of the Minerva's boats that were responsible for cutting out five boats from under Fort Finisterre. He led a landing party which rushed the fort with pikes and bayonets. Menzies was the first to enter, lowered the enemy's colours and raised the British flag. The British suffered no casualties. On 11th July he planned an attack on a barge that captured the Spanish Privateer Buena Dicha and was instrumental in cutting out the Spanish vessel of war St. Joseph, landing at the Bay of Arosa and taking prisoner the Spanish commodore. Menzies also led the Marines at the capture of Fort Guardia. During this period he was severely wounded and his right arm was amputated.
In 1813 Menzies was promoted to Captain of the Royal Marine Artillery. He married Maria Wilhelmina in 1817, the only child of Dr Robert Bryant, physician to the Duke of Gloucester and they had five children. He was Colonel 2nd Commandant of the Royal Marines, Chatham from 1844-48 and Colonel Commandant al of the Portsmouth Royal Marines from 1848-54. Menzies was appointed General in 1857. Menzies became K.H. in 1831 and K.C.B in 1856. He was appointed aide-de-camp to Queen Victoria in 1851. He was the first Colonel of the RMA Division until he died in Hastings in 1866, aged 83.
Reference: 'The Battle of Hernai and General Sir Charles Menzies, Daniel Cunliffe's Royal Marine Artillery Paintings by Major Alastair Donald', Royal Marines Historical Society, The Sheet Anchor, Volume XXII No.2, Portsmouth, 1997.