On March 27 1811, two years after The Royal Marines had invaded the Danish island of Anholt, British naval officers were at battle again in an effort to fend off attempts by the Danes to recapture the island.
Under the command of Captain Robert Torrens, the Royal Marine Garrison was victorious in the attack, managing to retain control of the vital Baltic trading territory.
Two hundred years later, the Portsmouth-based Royal Marines Museum has acquired a rare steel nautical-themed sword presented to Torrens by non-commissioned officers who served under him in recognition of their admiration for his bravery.
The museum already holds important material relating to the Battle of Anholt, including two other swords which were awarded to Torrens.
“These swords are a tangible reminder of the bonds formed between officers and men in time of war,” says museum curator Ian Maine. “It is especially fitting that we have managed to reunite the swords in time for the 200th anniversary of the Defence of Anholt.”
The 79cm-long sword, which was made by Henry Tatham and features an illustration of Hercules on its silver inlaid grip, was bought for £27,170, helped by a donation of more than £25,000 from the Art Fund.
“We’re thrilled to have helped make this timely acquisition possible,” says Fund Director Stephen Deuchar. “This sword gives a flavour of the drama of the historic battle and the grandeur of Britain’s Royal Marines at the time.
“Displayed with the other swords, it will help people gain a picture of Robert Torrens and his place in history.”
Robert Torrens was born in Ireland and was instrumental in the promotion of emigration to Australia as a way of reducing poverty in Ireland in 1817. He also helped to found Adelaide, as well as influencing companies to mine for copper and build railways in South Australia.