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Sports Teams and Trophies (1910-1950)

Sports Teams and Trophies (1910-1950)

By Jessica Stevenson, MI, MMSt

The museum collection contains many items related to sporting events held throughout time. Trophies, banners, and paraphernalia related to sporting events, these items relate to the same event or tournament, providing us (with an) the opportunity to connect artefacts and documents together. This story highlights examples of team photos and their accompanying trophies in our collection, from the period of 1910 to 1950.

Football Team and Petawawa Cup 1912

This photograph depicts the football team from D Company, The RCR. The photo was originally owned by Lance-Corporal James Dymond, seen here sitting on the far left of the middle row. In 1912, D Company was stationed in Halifax at Wellington Barracks. The D Company football team was quite successful in this year, winning the Petawawa Cup and becoming champions of the Inter-Company League. The term “football,” in this context, is used to describe the sport we now refer to as “soccer” in Canada. This photograph is special because it is believed to be the only image in the museum collection that shows the Petawawa Cup as it originally appeared when it was awarded. The cup now sits in the museum’s First World War Galleries. The story attached to the cup alleges it was in the officers’ barracks of Wellington Barracks when the Halifax Explosion occurred in 1917. The cup was damaged and the pieces were kept by The RCR as relics until they were transferred to the Regimental Museum in 1960.

D Coy FootBall Team 1912 Photograph
Date: 1912
Donated by: Corporal J.H.A. Demers
Object ID: RCRM1964.002.001
Petawawa Cup
Date: 1912
Donated by: The RCR Collection
Object ID: RCRM2016.038.018

Basketball Team and St. Johns Basketball Trophy, 1930s

These photographs depict the Senior Basketball Team from D Company, The RCR. In the 1930s, D Company was stationed at Fort St. Jean, Quebec, sometimes anglicized as St. Johns. These photos represent a significant period for sports culture. Basketball was invented in 1891 and spread through North America, gaining popularity especially from the 1910s into the 1920s. By the 1930s, basketball was winning in popularity as the indoor sport of choice for gymnasiums.

Included in these photographs is a trophy that now resides in the museum collection: The St. Johns Basketball Association Senior Playoff Championship trophy. It is the smaller of the two trophies present in each photograph, and can be distinguished by the decorative shape of the handles on the cup. The trophy has four winners’ plaques around the base, including “R.C.R. 1936” and “R.C.R. 1937-38”.

Also of note in these photographs is Colonel Peter Bingham, who was a Corporal in the 1935-1936 team photo (third from the left in the back row), and a Sergeant and Team Manager in the 1937-1938 photo (seated in the dark jacket in the front). Colonel Bingham enlisted as a private in Quebec in 1931 and would later be commissioned during the Second World War. He was then promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, and lead 1RCR as Commanding Officer during the Korean War.

D Coy Senior Basketball Team 1935-1936
Date: C.1935-1936
Donated by: The RCR Collection
Object ID: RCRM2002.001.0316
D Coy Senior Basketball Team 1937-1938
Date: C.1937-1938
Donated by: The RCR Collection
Object ID: RCRM2002.001.0312
St. Johns Basketball Association Cup
Date: C.1930s
Donated by: The RCR Collection
Object ID: RCRM2022.001.002

C Company Football Team, 1936

In the 1930s, C Company was stationed in London at Wolseley Barracks. This photograph captures the C Company Association Football Team from 1936. The term “association football” was another way of referring to the game called “soccer” today. The photograph has the names of the men in the photo listed below, however no positions or titles are given beyond their rank.

The trophy in the middle of the photo is believed to be The Royal Canadian Regiment Football Challenge Shield. Although the photograph does not label the awards included, the Football Challenge Shield is part of the museum collection and appears to match the shield in the photo, particularly the placement of the smaller metal shield plates and the larger grain of the wood on the right side. While is it likely that this is the Football Challenge Shield, there are still a few questions surrounding the timing of this photograph. For example, the title dates the photo to 1936, yet there is no plaque on the Football Challenge Shield from that year. Instead, it lists C Company as the recipient of the award in 1937. Further research is required to understand the possible discrepancies in the dates, including the format of the tournament in which the shield was awarded.

C Company, The Royal Canadian Regiment Association Football Team, 1936
Date: 1936
Donated by: Ernest Williams
Object ID: RCRM1984.016.0001
Royal Canadian Regiment Football Challenge Shield
Date: C.1908-1949
Donated by: The RCR Collection
Object ID: RCRM2019.001.020

BHQ & Band Regimental Volleyball Champions, 1949

After the end of the Second World War, The RCR was stationed in Brockville, Ontario from 1945 to 1949. It was during this time that many organized sports resumed, including regimental leagues. This photograph depicts the Regimental Volleyball League’s champion team from 1949. The team was comprised of members of Battalion Headquarters and The RCR Band. Part of their success including winning the Sergeants Volleyball Challenge Cup; this trophy today is in the museum collection.

According to donor documents, the Sergeants Volleyball Challenge Cup was presented by the Sergeants’ Mess in Brockville as the trophy for the “Annual Inter-Company Competition in Volleyball.” The format consisted of an annual competition where two tournaments occurred simultaneously; each of the messes (Officers’ Mess, Sergeants’ Mess, Corporals’ Mess, and Men’s Mess) formed a team and played off for a champion, and each company played each other for a company champion. The winners from each tournament would play each other for the overall champion and winner of the trophy. The trophy was only awarded from 1946 to 1949.

Of note again is Colonel Peter Bingham, seated on the left of the front row. At this point, he had been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, which he would hold while commanding 1RCR in Korea in 1952.

BHQ & Band Champions Regimental Volleyball League 1949
Date: 1949
Donated by: Captain J.L. Goodridge
Object ID: RCRM1981.026.001
Sergeants Volleyball Challenge Cup
Date: C.1946-1949
Donated by: The RCR Collection
Object ID: RCRM2022.001.001