Herbert Mills Birdwood, C.S.I., I.C.S.

An identified malacca walking stick A Malacca cane of unusually substantial gauge discretely named in blackened engraved letters H.M. BIRDWOOD on the bone handle just above the decorative band. The overall length of the cane is 33½ins [85.5cm] and the diameter is approximately 3.5cm at the top with only s slight taper making it an especially substantial stick. The decorative band is unmarked and probably of Indian make: it has a central cartouche centred with a crest of a bird although the bird’s head has become pierced. Apart from the damage to the front of the band the stick is in excellent condition. Herbert Mills Birdwood [1837-1907] was a Judge in India, born at Belgaum to Gen Christopher Birdwood & Lydia, daughter of Rev Joseph Taylor. After education in Exeterand graduating in Mathematics from Edinburgh University and Peterhouse, Cambridge he went to Bombay in the 1858 intake of the ICS. While at Karachi he was judicial commissioner and carried out many reforms. Whilst there he served as a volunteer in the local corps. He was made CSI on 3rd June 1893 when serving as an ordinary member of the Governor of Bombay’s Council. In 1895 he was briefly Acting Governor during the interregnum between Lord Harris and Lord Sandhurst. His five sons [with his wife Marion, daughter of Surgeon Major Elijah Impey] all served in the military in India, the most distinguished being Field Marshal [later Lord] Wiiliam Riddell Birdwood who was Military Secretary to Lord Kitchener and later Commander in Chief in India. The provenance is by direct descent in the family until a recent property contents dispersal. The gilt headed one is embossed with the badge of the Scots Guards.


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