The Silver Spear awarded to John Henry Watson in 1876 is an iconic piece of Irish and British military colonial history. It was awarded to J.H. for his prowess in a competition of skill and horsemanship. Although we now live in different times with different moral values, hunting in then Colonial India was common place.
The officers’ horseback and fighting skills had to be exemplary not just to gain the respect of their troops but because they were frequently fighting a highly skilled adversary in the battles and squirmishes against the Afghan troops and local militia who were raised to ride and fight on horseback from their early years. These competitions were not just a way to gain respect but also to measure their abilities, a factor often taken into consideration for promotion.
The 28 Wild boar killed by J.H. Watson was a record that remained unbeaten and the awarding of the Silver Spear was deemed a great honour indeed. Often looking back at history, we read stories that are believable but lack the ability to allow us to connect directly to the happening.
The Silver Spear is a strong and valuable connection. Not only does it link Ballydarton House, family home of John Henry Watson to us, but it links Colonial India, the home of Gin & Tonic and the strong military history of the British 13th Hussars directly back to modern day. For us, it closes the circle, connecting the past with our present, pointing forward with strength and direction into the future.