Durand cup, India case, object no 7

13 June 2017
13 June 2017, Comments 0

In our galleries, we have many objects that represent the history of the regiment and the story of the daily lives of the soldiers. While the lives of soldiers in war conditions are extraordinary, the other side of that story is a group soldiers exercising to be in the best shape for service. These are stories of men, far from home, representing their country and sovereign in far ends of The Empire, committing their time to healthy competition and like any men in any time, trying to have an enjoyable time.

Few objects tell better that story than the Durand cup.


The Durand Football Tournament starts with Sir Mortimer Durand, who oversaw India as Foreign Secretary between 1884 and 1894. In 1888, he presented this prize to encourage sporting competition amongst British troops in India. After the Second World War, it became a civilian event and now it is the third oldest football tournament in the world as well as the oldest in Asia.

Trophy displayed in the India case is composed of two parts, a wooden stand affixed with the name Simla Football Challenge Prize and plaques commemorating the events on the bottom. This is topped with a football made from silver, with the previous tournaments and winners engraved on it.

For the regiment, the story with the cup started with the first tournament in 1888 and final match between Royal Scots Fusiliers and Highland Light Infantry, leaving the R.S.F. historic victors. The R.S.F. reached the finals one more time once more playing against H.L.I. in 1894. H.L.I. on the other hand won the next five finals it reached in 1889, 1890, 1893, 1894 and 1895, meaning that on its own the H.L.I. has the same number of wins in the tournament as the most successful British regiment in the tournament the Black Watch, but reached the finals one less time. When these records are taken together after the amalgamation into Royal Highland Fusiliers it would hold the top result.

The cup not only shows us that army is not only just manoeuvres, uniform and strict discipline, but comradeship, cooperation and enjoinment. What is most important, sometimes you end up playing against yourself, even if you can only see it with time.

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