Sir Charles Longcroft

In Henry VII's Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey, the chapel of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath since 1725, is a sword and scabard set into a glass fronted case in the Great Master's stall on the north side, near the entrance. This was purchased by Officers of the Order from a bequest left by Sir Charles Longcroft who died in 1958. The inscription reads:

This sword of honour of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath was the gift of Air Vice-Marshal Sir Charles Longcroft K.C.B. Scarlet Rod 1932-1948 Registrar and Secretary 1948-1954

Gentleman Usher of the Scarlet Rod is an office within the Order. The sword was made by Wilkinson of Pall Mall and has the hallmark for 1959-1960. It is engraved with the star of both a Military and a Civil Knight Grand Cross (G.C.B.) and shows badges of both the divisions on opposite sides of the hilt. The inscription on the blade is very similar to the above. The sword is used by the senior Knight Grand Cross at an installation service. Sir Charles was born in 1883 in Wales and served in the Welsh regiment until 1912 and then in the Royal Flying Corps (later the Royal Air Force). He was first Commandant of the RAF College at Cranwell, served in the Air Ministry and received honours from France and Russia. There are two metal stall plates in the chapel for both of the offices he held but they have no personal coat of arms on them.

Further reading

Who Was Who

"The Order of the Bath" by Peter Galloway, 2006

Occupation

Soldier; airman

Location

Lady Chapel

Sir Charles Longcroft
Longcroft sword and scabbard

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2021 Dean and Chapter of Westminster