Offered is a George V era (1911-1935) 1897 Pattern British Royal Marines Officer’s presentation sword, as worn by Marine Pilot Captain Mark Langford. The sword features a wire bound fish skin grip, mounted onto an all chequered back strap and pierced bowl guard, featuring the royal cypher of King George V. The nickel finish overall is excellent to outer bowl, overall excellent condition. The blade has battle & laurel leaf etchings running 1/2 down the length of both sides of the 82 cm straight blade. Good etched royal arms and motto’s running along both sides of the blade, including the crowned royal cypher & Royal Marines globe and motto. The blade has been polished from years of service. The leather service scabbard is in excellent condition. Generally, an immaculately well cared for sword, which would be a great addition to your collection. Because of the overall condition, this could easily be used by a serving Royal Marine’s Officer, as this is still the current pattern used. The sword comes with the original black leather travel bag. Overall length: 101 cm.
Captain Mark Langford
This sword was worn by Royal Marine’s Pilot Mark Langford, who flew primarily as a Commando Helicopter Pilot during the 1960’s in Borneo and the Far East. I bought this from his son here in Perth in August, along with his medals.
Mark Langford joined the Royal Marines at Lympstone in November 1955 as a probationary Second Lieutenant in the YO 12 Batch. It was here that he soon gained the affectionate nickname of ‘Perky’ Langford because of his lively nature and cheerfulness. Five years later in 1960, he began his flying career, which, apart from spells of regimental duties, he followed until he took voluntary retirement in 1970. With the advent of the then new Commando Ships, the Admiralty agreed that a portion of the helicopter pilots for the Naval Squadrons of the Fleet Air Arm would come from the Royal Marines, and in 1961 the first Royal MArines helicopter pilots joined 848 NAS on board the Commando Carrier HMS BULWARK in the Far East.
After completing his basic fixed wing flying training course at RAF Linton-On-Ouse, Yorkshire, he proceeded to helicopter flying training at RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall, and then to Commando Helicopter flying training at RNAS Portland, Dorset. Having qualified as a Commando Helicopter pilot in 1962, he joined 848 NAS in HMS BULWARK flying Whirlwind 7s and in 1963 he served in Borneo during the Indonesian Confrontation campaign with 846 NAS.
Mark Langford joined 846 NAS when the squadron was heavily involved in operation against the Indonesian Confrontation in Borneo. Helicopters were invaluable to general Sir Walter Walker, the Theatre Commander, who was able to triple the strength of his ‘teeth arms’ by the skilful use of helicopters. A study of Mark’s logbook shows the intensity of 846’s activities, whether flying in troops or reinforcing the forward bases. From 1966 to 1968 Mark served in 845 NAS in HMS BULWARK flying Wessex 5s, during which time the ship sailed for the Far East, visiting Aden, Singapore, Borneo and Hong Kong.
After retiring from the Royal Marines Mark, like a number of his fellow naval pilots, joined Bristow Helicopters Ltd and was with them for 5 years. He then joined Alan Mann Aviation at Chobham. During this period he was instrumental in securing the Augusta helicopter dealership for the company. He then left to join Westlands in Yeovil, returning to Alan Mann a few years later. In 2002 he formed his own company, MCL Aviation where he was successful selling helicopters to the rich and famous.
Mark died in 2007 and this biography is taken from his obituary in the November-December issue of the Globe and Laurel.