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McBane, Donald (1664–c. 1730), army officer and writer on swordsmanship, was the son of a farmer and publican near Inverness. Little is known of his background and life other than what appears in his colourful memoir The Expert Swordsman's Companion (1728). Aged twenty-three, ...

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Shaw, John [Jack] (1789–1815), pugilist and soldier, was born on a farm between the villages of Cossall and Wollaton in Nottinghamshire, the son of William Shaw, farmer. Educated at Trowell Moor school, he was a delicate child, but grew to be a powerfully built young man. After being apprenticed to a wheelwright in ...