Distinguished Marksman group to Lt Col J.L. Topham, US Army
Group of five to Lt Colonel Joseph L. Topham, Quartermaster Corps: Philippine Campaign Medal, Army, wrap brooch, numbered “No.18697″; Mexican Service Medal, Army, wrap brooch, numbered “No.212″; World War I Victory Medal, with clasps “St. Mihiel”, “Meuse-Argonne” and “Defensive Sector” (brooch detached but present); Army Distinguished Marksman Badge, gold and enamel, unnamed; National Rifle Association Medal for the Leech Cup Match, gold and silver, with enameled “1909″ on the top bar. With a pair of pin-back lieutenant colonel’s oakleaves and a pin-back ribbon bar for the campaign medals. Topham’s Philippine Campaign Medal is confirmed on the medal roll (First Lieutenant, 1st Infantry); his Mexican Service Medal was sent to him as Major, Ordnance, 89th Division.
Lt Col Joseph Lybrand Topham, Jr, was born in March 1882 in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of a Civil War veteran. He spent his youth in Kansas, and later attended the University of Kansas. A National Guardsman initially, Topham enlisted in the Army in 1902 and was commissioned a second lieutenant of infantry in 1904. He qualified as a Distinguished Marksman in 1908. In World War I, he went to France as a major, part of the Advance Party of the 89th Division. He served 30 years before retiring from active duty and going into hotel management. Col Topham died in February 1966 and is buried at the Presidio of San Francisco.
The Leech Cup is the oldest trophy offered today in competitive target shooting in the United States. Presented to the Amateur Rifle Club of New York in 1874, it is now held by the National Rifle Association. Then-Lieutenant Topham, 13th Infantry, won the trophy in 1909, when the match was based on seven shots each from 800, 900 and 1000 yards with a service rifle.