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Closed 17/12/2020
Royal Engineers Museum

For Valour: purchase of papers belonging to Lt John Chard VC.

The RE Museum needs your support to purchase reports and photographs belonging to the most famous Royal Engineer to receive a Victoria Cross. Lt John Chard VC was recognised for his gallantry and leadership during the battle of Rorke's Drift in 1879.
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Closed on 17/12/2020
RCN 295173

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We are humbled by the enormous public support that the RE Museum received for its campaign to purchase items relating to Lt John Chard VC that were auctioned on the 17th December 2020 at Bonhams, London.

With the support of over 700 members of the public, serving and retired Royal Engineers, the Museum was able to secure three of the Lots on sale. These were:

Lot 69 - surveying and drawing instruments in a wooden case, owned by John Chard and relating to his time in Chatham.

Lot 74 - "Rorke's Drift - Jan 22nd-23rd 1879", manuscript copy (probably written out by one of Chard's sisters .

Lot 75 - RORKE'S DRIFT, SOMERSET AND FAMILY, a small archive of material relating to John Chard V.C.'s career and family.

We are particularly pleased to have won the survey and drawing instruments which represent brilliantly the work of the Royal Engineers and their professionalism. This set has particular local resonance as it is accompanied with an address to Chard from High Constable of the manor of Chatham, noting the local pride that his mililtary education was undertaken at the Scool of Engineering in Chatham.

These items will be place on public display in the Museum in Chatham and be available for researchers to view from August onwards, when we open our new research centre.

Rebecca Nash, Museum Director commented, we are really very happy to have secured these historic items for the Corps. They will bring the events of the Battle Rorkes Drift to life for our many visitors, enrich our understanding of a remarkable man and inspire future generations of Royal Engineers.

Sadly, in the face of some very determined competition, the Museum was unable to purchase Chards manuscript report on Rorkes Drift or his photograph album; two of the items that we had been most interested in securing for our Collection.

However, without the public support received, we would have been unable to secure any of this wonderful collection and the Corps of Royal Engineers and Trustees of the Royal Engineers Museum would like to thank all those who donated.

We would also like to thank Mr Mark Smith for his advice on the auction, the Army Museum Ogilby Fund, V&A Purchase Fund and the Friends of National Libraries for their support and generosity.

About the charity

Royal Engineers Museum

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RCN 295173
The Royal Engineers Museum is one of the UK's leading military Museums, with a historic collection of over 1 million items. We tell a story of over 300 years of military, engineering and scientific development that encompasses the extremes of human experience in peace and war.

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