Page last updated at 10:20 GMT, Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Museum is given charity shop gun

Captain Hugh Sayres's revolver
The gun was found in a bag of clothes donated to a charity shop

A rare pistol carried into battle during some of the bloodiest days of World War I is to be handed over to a museum in Greater Manchester.

A 1912 Webley revolver, found in a bag at a Leicester charity shop, belonged to a Lancashire Fusiliers officer killed in the Battle of the Somme.

Captain Hugh Sayres died while leading an attack on Beaumont-Hamel in 1916.

The gun, also used during the Gallipoli campaign, will take pride of place at the Lancashire Fusiliers Museum, Bury.

A police officer from Loughborough donated the firearm to the military museum after it was discovered in a bag of clothes given to a charity shop in May 2008.

Staff at the shop do not know where the clothes came from so the gun's owner has never been traced.

Captain Hugh Sayres
Captain Hugh Sayres died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme

Usually it would have been destroyed, but because Leicestershire Police's Sergeant Rich Matlock - who has an interest in military history - recognised its rarity he was given permission to research its background.

The gun barrel is inscribed with the words, "In Honour of Capt. H.W. Sayres 1st July 1916".

Capt Sayres had a distinguished military career which began in 1909 when he joined the army as a gentleman cadet and, after graduating from Sandhurst, he entered the ranks of the Lancashire Fusiliers.

Sgt Matlock said; "Hugh Winfield Sayres was a remarkable officer who excelled at everything he did including boxing, hockey, steeplechase and cricket.

"All his effects, including his gun, would have been sent home to his family. It is unusual for a gun to have been used in Gallipoli and at the Battle of the Somme which is what makes it so rare."

Sgt Matlock has appealed for anyone with further information about Capt Sayres to contact the force.

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