Nine 103-year-old chocolate bars that were discovered amongst the mementos of a First World War hero featured in an online auction of antiques and other collectable items.
Almost all of the chocolate was still intact inside the tin that was inspected by leading auctioneers and valuers at Eddisons CJM - just one bar had been eaten. The Colonies Gift Tins were sent to troops serving in the trenches in France during the first Christmas of the First World War.
The tin was amongst a collection of items relating to a Leicestershire Regiment soldier called Richard Bullimore, who went on to win the DCM (Distinguished Conduct Medal) and the MSM (Meritorious Service Medal).
Paul Cooper, Director at Eddisons CJM, said: “The colonies chocolate was sent to troops in that first winter of the war. Trinidad, Grenada and St Lucia provided the cocoa. Cadburys made the chocolate bars. The tin was made by Barringer Wallis & Manners of Mansfield, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of decorative tinware. Even the container is rare but to find the chocolate still inside is just unreal.”
“The chocolate actually looks in pretty good shape, although I have to admit that I wouldn’t be tempted to give it a go, even if the experts say that actually chocolate seldom becomes really dangerous over time, but it does lose its flavor and texture. I think they probably did not have century-old bars of the stuff in mind!”
Paul added: “Richard also received a Princess Mary tobacco gift box containing cigarettes, tobacco and matches and almost all of the contents of that are still there. Just three cigarettes are missing.”
The apparently chocophobic, non-smoking, Richard Bullimore received his DCM for conspicuous gallantry during a clash in no-man’s land between the trenches in the Ypres salient in July 1915. By then a corporal, he was leading a reconnaissance patrol of five men that surprised a larger enemy force. Despite being outnumbered by more than three to one, his patrol attacked with grenades, inflicting a number of enemy casualties. He then covered his patrol as it withdrew and carried one of his own men who had been wounded back to the trenches.
Richard’s DCM was gazetted in January 1916 and in October that year he was also awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, by which time he had been invalided home because of head wounds from shrapnel.
Richard eventually recovered and in 1919 he went back to the Leicestershire Constabulary, which he had actually joined just a matter of weeks before the outbreak of the war. In a highly successful career he would rise to the rank of Superintendent. He died in January 1967 at the Barrow Haven Inn, North Lincolnshire, where his son was the licensee.
The entire Bullimore collection, including chocolate, medals, citations, letters and other material achieved £3,000 when it was sold as a single lot in the Antiques & Collectables Auction at Eddisons CJM.
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