Page 69c2 Great Canadian Heritage Discoveries
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More important Canadian antique memorabilia the Museum has preserved.

1890s Sabretache & Crossbelt Pouch - General VAS Williams - 1867-1949 - 2

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Great Canadian Heritage Treasure A fabulous discovery that sometimes happily occurs when a collector dies - the signed sabretache and crossbelt pouch of Canadian General Victor Arthur Seymour Williams, a Boer War and World War I veteran.

It dates from the 1890s when he was an officer in the Royal Canadian Dragoons. It was constituted as a unit with a new uniform and the royal cypher in 1893.

Unlike most sabretaches, this one is named, raising it a significant level above the others.

A bonus beyond that is that it also belonged to a major historical figure. It is also in fine condition but was obviously lovingly used by its original owner.

Sabretaches were originally introduced for cavalrymen, and were slung by straps from the same belt that carried their swords. They were flipped up to reveal a pouch flap under which documents or letters could be carried on campaign.

The close ups show the nuts and bolts that held the gilt badge to the front, and the brass button which held down the flap.

This superb sabretache and crossbelt pouch were, for years, buried from public view, in the private hoard of passionate Canadian cavalry collector Alan Barauskas, of Montreal, who died in December, 2009.

His collection of cavalry helmets and sabretaches went to auction and disappeared from public view - probably for decades - into other collections.

So a word of advice to collectors - don't show your stuff to fellow collectors. They will only pray for your early demise... And your estate sale...

Sabretache & Crossbelt Pouch - Captain VAS Williams c 1890

Orig. leather - Size - sabretache 26 x 32 cm: pouch 6 x 9 x 12 cm
Found - Toronto, ON























This sabretache is from the twilight era of this piece of fabled military memorabilia. In 1901, during the Boer War, Edward VII was "pleased to approve" the abolition of this cumbersome part of the uniform for cavalry officers.


Right the Royal Canadian Dragoon helmet Victor would have worn and below more decorative sabretaches, from early Canadian cavalry units, all from the Alan Barauskas collection.

















Below a Napoleonic Hussar from 1808 and his sabretache, and right a closer view of Sir Charles Tertius Mander painted in the "swagger style" by noted Edwardian society artist John Collier in 1896. Note the three long straps used to suspend the sabretache.



Great Canadian Heritage Treasure The uniform of the Royal Canadian Dragoons of the 1890s is worn by the unit's commanding officer in South Africa in 1900, Col. FL Lessard.

The most famous pictorial set of military generals ever produced came out during the Boer War to lionize some 75 of the British Empire's top generals. In fact they were produced the same year as Bobs' Vanity Fair litho.

Col. Lessard commanded a Canadian Mounted Rifles unit in 1900, during Bobs' fabled March to Pretoria.

These prints were sold as singles, and in book form, all provided with generous borders designed to make them easy to frame and hang, in homes, shops, and hotels. Thousands were.

The colours were nice, just don't look too closely. No match for a real chromolithograph. But it was just too expensive to keep producing the quality which chromolithography provided, when making photomechanical repros was faster, cheaper, and produced acceptable results.

Col. FL Lessard, Royal Canadian Dragoons - (Celebrities of the Army) 1900
Orig. reproduction - Image Size - 18 x 26 cm
Found - Kitchener, ON

Go to The Celebrities of the Army
Go to the Chromolithograph Page