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 knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment

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Magnus



Posts : 12
Join date : 2019-11-11

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PostSubject: knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment    knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment  EmptyMon Mar 09, 2020 4:38 pm

For years I wondered why a small 14 inch long knobkerrie that I have in my collection had the number 16 carved on it.  I purchased it in Truro, Cornwall, many years ago. I was holding it in my right hand, as right handed people do.  Then one day I held it in my left hand and the answer was there.  The number 16 became 91.  Could this be a link it to the 91st Highland Regiment?  Perhaps this knobkerrie was carved by a left handed soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment. It seems to make sense.  Holding the ball of the knobkerrie in his right hand, he carved the number 91 in the shaft. Perhaps not long after the battle of Gingindlovu.  All speculation of course but an interesting story that I thought I would share with you.  The first photograph below showing the number 16 when held in the right hand.  The second photo shows the number 91 when held in the left hand.  The third photograph shows the knobkerrie in its entirety.  Anyone who has the book - The National Army Museum Book of the Zulu War by Ian Knight, take a look at illustration number 31, a photograph of the 91st Highlanders with the typical Zulu trophies on the ground in front of them  There is a small Knobkerrie here. Which of the men looks to be left handed?  All speculation of course.  I have never seen or come across a 14 inch knobkerrie before, only the one that I own.  I suppose there must have been left handed soldiers who fought in the Zulu War.  I wonder how difficult it would have been for a left handed soldier to fire a Martini Henry rifle.      


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Magnus



Posts : 12
Join date : 2019-11-11

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PostSubject: Re: knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment    knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment  EmptySun Mar 15, 2020 11:40 am

My last sentence about left handed riflemen was made tongue in cheek but as I had no response, it encouraged me to research this further. All ex service men will know this but apparently the British Army trains all recruits (left and right handed) to shoot right handed.  They always have.  Nearly all British infantry weapons since the Brown Bess musket have been designed for right handers.  The exception was the Martini Henry rifle and carbine which being lever action and top ejecting made them truly ambidextrous, except possibly for the added safety catch on later models after the Zulu War.  I have done the opposite as I am right handed but have trained myself to shoot a shotgun (and a rifle) from my left shoulder, as my master eye (and best eye) is my left eye.
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timothylrose



Posts : 65
Join date : 2013-09-07

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PostSubject: Re: knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment    knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment  EmptySun Mar 15, 2020 2:13 pm

Actually the Martini Henry was still taught to be fired from the right shoulder - the Manuals are illustrated to show that is the intended way to use them - and the thumb form on the Mark 1 to 3 is on the right hand side
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Magnus



Posts : 12
Join date : 2019-11-11

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PostSubject: Re: knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment    knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment  EmptySun Mar 15, 2020 9:53 pm

Thanks Timothy.  It is good to get a knowledgeable response.  I guess that left handers would also be trained to use the bayonet in the same way as a right hander would do - with a leading left hand.  It would all probably have been quiet awkward at first for a left handed recruit.
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Julian Whybra



Posts : 2251
Join date : 2011-09-12

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PostSubject: Re: knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment    knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment  EmptyWed Mar 25, 2020 2:51 pm

Surely, a right-handed soldier would carve right-handedly while holding the knobkerrie in the left hand? Then you would get the carving as in your middle picture, i.e. the correct way up.
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Magnus



Posts : 12
Join date : 2019-11-11

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PostSubject: Re: knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment    knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment  EmptyWed Mar 25, 2020 4:18 pm

My theory is that a right handed man would hold the ball of the knobkerrie in his left hand when carving.  I have tried holding it like this and it feels comfortable for me, being right handed.  I therefore assumed that a left handed man would hold the ball of the knobkerry in his right hand when carving.  The problem with your theory is that when the right handed man holds the knobkerrie by the handle, as if to use it, he would see the number 16.  When the left handed man holds it by the handle, as if to use it, he would see the number 91.  I am right handed and every time I picked it up by the handle in my right hand, as if to use it, I saw the number 16.  Then one day (I don't know why) I picked it up by the handle in my left hand and saw the number 91. Thanks for you comment.  I guess that it could have been carved by a right handed soldier in the way that you say.  The trouble is that when he picked it up by the handle in his right hand (as he would being right handed), he would be in for a surprise.  He would be looking at the number 16!!!  If you are right then I can imaging his reaction when he realised his mistake. I wonder what he would have said!!!! I hope that I haven't confused everyone.
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Unimex



Posts : 5
Join date : 2013-11-12

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PostSubject: Re: knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment    knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment  EmptyWed Mar 25, 2020 11:51 pm

I went to military school and shooting was one of our lessons (I know, it's weird to think that it was rated up there with Maths, English and Marching) and we learnt to shoot using .22 Martini-Henry action rifles. For us left-handers we had to learn to shoot right handed. I never quite understood why because theoretically the lever could be operated with whichever hand was favoured, but we were all turned around so we shot right handed. For this reason I think it's unlikely that, whilst the Martini-Henry could be used left-handed, any of the soldiers of the time would have used it that way. Obviously this doesn't mean that someone wasn't left handed, but I doubt they'd have shot that way.

Having had a little think about it, it may have been because if you are forming a line, or a square where you are firing, and reloading simultaniously then it makes sense for all to do that with the same arm so you don't knock or nudge the person next to you. (although this is purely a hypothesis.)
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90th

90th

Posts : 10040
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 63
Location : Melbourne, Australia

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PostSubject: knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st    knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment  EmptyThu Mar 26, 2020 4:26 am

Hi All
I'm left handed but shoot right handed , wasn't taught , it was just the way I picked up the rifle ! .
90th
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Frank Allewell

Frank Allewell

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Join date : 2009-09-21
Age : 73
Location : Cape Town South Africa

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PostSubject: Re: knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment    knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment  EmptyThu Mar 26, 2020 6:43 am

Drinks with both hands. Very Happy
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90th

90th

Posts : 10040
Join date : 2009-04-07
Age : 63
Location : Melbourne, Australia

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PostSubject: knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st    knobkerrie brought back by a soldier of the 91st Highland Regiment  EmptyThu Mar 26, 2020 12:13 pm

Frank ...Touche ! lollll
90th
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