SWORD OF HONOUR - JOHN CHARD V.C. R.E. The cased silver-mounted Sword of Honour, presented to John Chard V.C., R.E., by the inhabitants of the Town of Plymouth, presented 18 November, 1879

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Lot 67
SWORD OF HONOUR - JOHN CHARD V.C. R.E.
The cased silver-mounted Sword of Honour, presented to John Chard V.C., R.E., by the inhabitants of the Town of Plymouth, presented 18 November, 1879

Sold for £ 81,500 (US$ 98,760) inc. premium
JOHN CHARD V.C., R.E., "HERO OF RORKE'S DRIFT"

Sold on behalf of his descendants
SWORD OF HONOUR - JOHN CHARD V.C. R.E.
The cased silver-mounted Sword of Honour, presented to John Chard V.C., R.E., by the inhabitants of the Town of Plymouth, retailed by Messrs. Hunt and Roskell, Jewellers and Goldsmiths to the Queen, 156 New Bond St., London, No.96533, London, with their silver hallmarks, with slightly curved fullered blade (old light rust patination) with point of flattened diamond section, one side etched with the presentation inscription ("...in recognition of his gallant defence of Rorke's Drift on January 22nd 1879. November 879") between the crest and motto of the recipient and that of the Town of Plymouth, the latter below Union foliage framed by strapwork, and the other side with a representation of a lion (representing Empire) emerging from foliage, with the inscription "Strong to Defend the Right - Swift to Avenge the Wrong" in gothic script against a ground of stars, and towards the tip with strapwork framing the badge, crest and motto of the Royal Engineers, the ricasso etched with retailer's details in full on one side, and with a proof stamp centred on an etched star on the other, silver gilt hilt comprising guard pierced and engraved with Union foliage and retaining the original bullion sword-knot, back-piece cast with laurel pommel with a border of beadwork, scrolled quillion, and fluted, wire-bound fishskin-covered grip, and retaining much of original gilding, housed in original wood-lined silver scabbard, ornamented with panels in repoussé representing the mission-house at Rorke's Drift; shields bearing the arms of Plymouth and England; "Vulcan forging the armour of Achilles" (referring to the generally defensive character of the operations of the Royal Engineers); a trophy of broken Zulu weapons; allegory of a lion and elephant ("symbolising the triumph of British arms in Africa" as noted by the I.L.N. see below), and on the other side panels representing the order of the Victoria Cross; shield with arms of Major Chard and the Royal Engineers; Britannia; trophy of Engineer's tools crowned with laurel by fame; St. George vanquishing the dragon, the shaped shoe hallmarked and stamped "Hunt & Roskell 7835" one one side, the lower suspension mount inscribed "Ulundi", and with the two suspension rings, held in original two-tiered oak case lined in burgundy silk and velvet, the upper tier for the sword and presentation scabbard, the lower tier for the brass-mounted brown leather belt and suspension straps and brass service scabbard, the former with gilt thread borders and gilt buckles applied with silver cast and pierced regimental badge, the interior of the lid in padded cream silk with crowned gilt retailer's details, the exterior with brass plaque engraved "J.R.M. Chard V.C. R.E." on the lid, presented 18 November, 1879

Footnotes

  • PRESENTATION SWORD OF HONOUR GIFTED BY THE PEOPLE OF PLYMOUTH TO JOHN CHARD V.C., THE HERO OF RORKE'S DRIFT, inscribed "by the Inhabitants of the Town of Plymouth & Its Vicinity in Recognition of His Gallant Defence of Rorke's Drift on January 22nd 1879. November 1879". A sum of £300 was raised by public subscription for the sword (retailed by Hunt & Roskell, the Queen's goldsmiths), and it was elaborately tooled with decorations relating to Chard's exploits at Rorke's Drift and his connections with the Royal Engineers and the city of Plymouth.

    Chard was born in 1847 at Boxhill, near Plymouth. His early education took place at Plymouth New Grammar School (a fellow student recalling Chard, in Life, 11 October 1879, as "a quiet boy, not much-over given to games, and with the peculiarity of wearing the largest hat in the school"). On his arrival in the city on 18 November 1879, just over a month after his return from the Anglo-Zulu conflict, Chard was greeted at the Guildhall by the largest gathering in the city "since the Prince of Wales opened the municipal buildings... thousands of persons of all grades... a more striking scene would be hard to produce in Plymouth" (The Western Morning News, 18 November). In his dedicatory address, the Mayor told Chard that his actions at Rorke's Drift had instilled in the "men of Devonshire... something of the old pride which filled the hearts of their forefathers in the days of Drake and Raleigh". In his acceptance speech Chard thanked the crowd for their welcome back to his birthplace "to which I am attached by the associations of my whole life" before speaking of his role at Rorke's Drift, with particular emphasis on the Zulus, "an enemy that it was some credit to us to defeat; they shewed courage that could not be excelled by anybody, and their military organisation and their discipline might have given a lesson to more civilized nations".

    The sword was described and illustrated in The Illustrated London News, 22 November 1879.

    Provenance: John Chard V.C., R.E.; by descent to the present owner.
Contacts
SWORD OF HONOUR - JOHN CHARD V.C. R.E. The cased silver-mounted Sword of Honour, presented to John Chard V.C., R.E., by the inhabitants of the Town of Plymouth, presented 18 November, 1879
SWORD OF HONOUR - JOHN CHARD V.C. R.E. The cased silver-mounted Sword of Honour, presented to John Chard V.C., R.E., by the inhabitants of the Town of Plymouth, presented 18 November, 1879
SWORD OF HONOUR - JOHN CHARD V.C. R.E. The cased silver-mounted Sword of Honour, presented to John Chard V.C., R.E., by the inhabitants of the Town of Plymouth, presented 18 November, 1879
SWORD OF HONOUR - JOHN CHARD V.C. R.E. The cased silver-mounted Sword of Honour, presented to John Chard V.C., R.E., by the inhabitants of the Town of Plymouth, presented 18 November, 1879
SWORD OF HONOUR - JOHN CHARD V.C. R.E. The cased silver-mounted Sword of Honour, presented to John Chard V.C., R.E., by the inhabitants of the Town of Plymouth, presented 18 November, 1879
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