The Saumarez Cup has been found in Tamworth and its story is more interesting than you think

PIECE OF HISTORY: Army Reserves soldier and marksman Alex Reeves and Major Grant Prendergast hold the Saumarez Cup that was recently found in Tamworth. Photo: Madeline Link.
PIECE OF HISTORY: Army Reserves soldier and marksman Alex Reeves and Major Grant Prendergast hold the Saumarez Cup that was recently found in Tamworth. Photo: Madeline Link.

HISTORIAN come detective Doug Lennox OAM has unearthed a piece of New England history.

The Saumarez Cup was awarded to young men in the local regiment from 1924.

“The soldiers that competed for it would have come through this depot,” Mr Lennox said.

“One of the big winner was a guy called Tom Johnson, the son of Ian Johnson.

“He won it several times, I think there’s only three other’s on it after him and it was for the best rifle shot every year.”

The cup was issued by the White family from Saumarez Homestead.

The young man who came first would win the Saumarez Cup, and whoever came second was given the White Cup.

All soldiers competed for it, regardless of rank.

In those days, the most important skills were to be able to ride a horse and to shoot at the enemy.

Mr Lennox said the top shot, Tom Johnson, enlisted in the army around 1923.

“He went through the ranks here as a trooper, a corporal, a sergeant and finally an officer,” he said.

“At the start of the Second World War he enlisted in the 2/18th Battallion, they went off to Singapore to fight the war.

“He spent his war time there, when he left he was 16 stone and a rugby player.

“When he came back he was seven-and-a-half stone.”

The Cup would have been on display in the Armidale Gaza Depot prior to WWII.

The White family were very involved in the military, Saumarez property manager F.J White’s brother served in the 33rd Battalion and later commanded it.

There’s three first places still missing, I don’t know where they are but they might turn up – this new’s thing might be the key that unlocks it all.

Doug Lennox OAM

The Saumarez Cup was found at the regimental headquarters in Tamworth.

“I had the idea that there was a big cup around somewhere, I’ve been here a long time and 20 years ago I heard of it,” Mr Lennox said.

“I really got interested because of the little cups.

“On these cups is history – who won it, maybe who came second.

“There’s three first places still missing, I don’t know where they are but they might turn up – this new’s thing might be the key that unlocks it all.”

Those that have a small silver cup can contact Mr Lennox on 6772 3417.

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