HOLDEN, Mass. — The veterans of Holden's American Legion Post are trying to solve the mystery of the missing rifles, two of several military artifacts that have disappeared over the past few decades since the closing of the local post hall.
The rifles, a Remington M1 Grande and a Winchester 1903A3, were conditionally donated to the John E. Harkins American Legion Post 42 by the United States Army Tank And Automotive Command for ceremonial and display use.
While current post members have no information about where the artifacts are now, Post Commander Anthony Renzoni said there is speculation that when the town's American Legion post building was sold, a few members may have had the artifacts temporarily secured for safekeeping.
"The hope would be that, someday, there would be a post hall again," said Renzoni.
But, decades later, no new post hall has been opened, and, as many of Holden's veterans have passed away over the years, the living members have lost track of the rifles and other artifacts.
"We have a military service tradition in this town that goes back to the revolution," said Renzoni. "We've been involved in every major conflict since the establishment of the country. Holden residents stepped up to fight, so there has to be a ton of military artifacts."
While there are some items at the Hendricks House, which is operated by Holden's Historical Society, Renzoni hopes that the public can help shed some light on the whereabouts of the rest of Holden's military artifacts.
"The post was established immediately after World War I, and so at a minimum we're optimistic that some of the WW I memorabilia that those veterans brought home and that was in that hall could be recovered if they're still out there."
Renzoni filed a police report on the two missing rifles, which the post would particularly like to see returned out of concerns for both safety as well as the historical value of the items.
While there is no record of the serial number on the Winchester, the Remington can be identified by the serial number 325989876.
Anybody with any information about the rifles can contact the Holden Police Department. Questions about artifacts or military memorabilia can contact Renzoni at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (617) 909-9790.