A remarkable slice of military history once hidden under the floor of a house in England, and eventually making its way to Hawke's Bay, is set to be ceremoniously and respectfully displayed as part of a special Anzac memorial.

The management of Club Hastings where the RSA is sited have happily agreed to be custodians for a sword once in the hands of a Turkish officer at Gallipoli in 1915.

"We are very proud to accept it," Club Hastings CEO Jackie Wells said.

"The fact it was a Turkish officer's sword and was captured at Gallipoli makes it very special."


John Sturgess, who is the club's Returned Services Association representative, said the sword had been taken from Gallipoli back to England by a British soldier who secreted it in his belongings and later concealed it under the floorboards of his house.

The old soldier eventually sold the house and the new owner, a mate of Hawke's Bay man Kim Hape who he got to know through the property business, discovered the sword.

About 20 years ago, when the houseowner decided to sell up and relocate to New Zealand, where he now lives in Auckland, he decided to bring the sword with him.

Hape said his mate got in touch about 13 years ago and had decided to gift him and Lorraine Hape the sword.

"I just thought, wow!" Kim Hape said.

The couple kept the sword in its original condition on the wall of their garage for many years.

Jackie Wells (left), CEO Clubs Hastings, Kim Hape, sword donor, Dave Moat, president Clubs Hastings, and RSA representative John Sturgess with the sword. Photo / Paul Taylor
Jackie Wells (left), CEO Clubs Hastings, Kim Hape, sword donor, Dave Moat, president Clubs Hastings, and RSA representative John Sturgess with the sword. Photo / Paul Taylor

"I tried finding some information about it but couldn't come up with much — I may talk to John [his mate] about it," he said, hoping they may unearth some details about the British soldier who came across it.

"Imagine the stories that sword could tell," he said.

"Knowing the fearless way the Turkish soldiers fought there would be some pretty ruthless stories among them I think."

A couple of weeks ago Hape came across the sword again and decided there and then that the most fitting custodians of it would be the RSA.

So he took it in and passed it over to Wells who was stunned to see it, and proud for the club to take custody of it.

Sturgess said for the sword to have been taken it was a "safe assumption" that the officer wielding it had been killed in action defending his homeland.

"Accordingly it will be respectfully displayed as a taonga and memorial to the courage of the officer and his men in keeping with the chivalrous actions and words of Lt Colonel Jamal, Kemal Ataturk — later president of Turkey."

Wells said a specially sealed display case would be created for the sword and it would feature in the club's Anzac memorial section.

The swords, which were carried by Turkish Cavalry officers, were manufactured in Germany from 1820 through to 1920 for issue to the officers of the horse cavalry regiments.

With an 86cm blade the swords were originally carried in a metal scabbard.

The hilt had a brass "D" shaped stirrup guard with a plain brass back strap.

The Islamic emblem of a crescent moon and star is embossed on the top of the sword and the grip is brown bone with a fish skin cover laced with fine bronze wire.

On the occasions it had been brought out to show visiting veterans it had evoked both awe and emotion.

"That is very good to hear — it is in the right place," Hape said.