Posted: August 16th, 2016
Jimmy writes: A trophy cabinet in our local British Legion Club was being cleaned out and we discovered an old cup, blackened with age, and nobody had a clue as to its origin. I took it home and cleaned it – and uncovered an antique.
The silver trophy was awarded to Private James Barnes of the 25th Hants Rifle Volunteer Corps in 1876. Yes, 140 years ago! What it was doing in our club I don’t know but I felt it should be returned to its roots. The inscription reads:
Won by Private James Barnes
Presented by Quartermaster Sergeant
I contacted the Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum in Winchester and they were very surprised. They were unable to give any details about Private Barnes but really appreciated our plan to return the cup. So in May, our club secretary drove me to Winchester to present the cup to museum curator Lt Col Colin Bulleid. I asked for a photograph on the day for our local newspaper.
We met Lt Col Bulleid and his assistant, Rachel Holmes, and they were overcome when they saw the trophy and the fact that we had taken the trouble to come to Winchester to make the presentation. Afterwards I received a generous thank you from Mrs Holmes, who wrote:
‘It was good to meet you and your colleague last Friday, I do hope you enjoyed your visit to the Museum.
‘We were very pleased to receive the cup, it is a pretty little thing. I have formally taken it into the collection and given it the reference M5012.
‘The cup looks lovely on display, and as you said it has come home.
‘Many thanks for thinking of us.
Rachel Holmes (Mrs)
On a personal note I was impressed because of my family background. My father took part in the Boer War and World War One and I have vivid memories of World War Two.
The museum has two sections. One covers 1702-1905, and the other is from Dunkirk to the present day in Afghanistan. Everything is beautifully presented and the new trophy will now rest alongside others.
I feel that what we did was an act of chivalry, and I was absolutely delighted to be involved.