About Melanie Marsh

Curator of The Rifles Collection.

Looking Ahead in 2014

This week, it’s been reported in the news that most people heading back to work are suffering from “January Blues”, however for The Rifles Collection, this is far from the case. January is proving to be one of our busiest and most exciting months as we plan for the year ahead and what exhibitions, events and activities we will be running.

We were recently awarded a grant from the Army Heritage Branch to fund our exhibitions. Major Rob Yuill, our Exhibitions Curator, is designing a full programme out of this grant, with developments to the gallery in Winchester and a travelling exhibition planned. Much of this will be themed on 4 RIFLES’ recent tour of Afghanistan, so will illustrate a contemporary viewpoint of the military, which will be complemented by contemporary interpretation. (More to be revealed over the coming months!)

Patrol Base bed space

Patrol Base bed space in the gallery

There is a new events programme proposed for 2014, with a variety of events and activities running throughout the year. We are delighted to be joining in with the Museums at Night, a national campaign in May, with a themed talk, ‘Chosen Men: The Rifles in Afghanistan’ with soldiers sharing their experiences. We will also be joining in with Armed Forces Day and Heritage Open Days, as well as a few child-friendly activities such as Halloween – who could imagine a more spooky setting than Peninsula Barracks, previously a Norman fort and Medieval castle, and a key to the history of Winchester?

So 2014 promises to be a busy and innovative year for us at The Rifles Collection! Using this blog we will keep you updated on our behind-the-scenes work. Stay posted for the latest updates covering news on our exhibitions, recent acquisitions to the collection, historical articles on moments in The Rifles’ history, guest posts from our Regimental Historian, Dr. Huw Davies and others and much, much more as this exciting year continues.

A young visitor in the gallery

A young visitor in the gallery tries out the gear

RIFLES Remembrance

[cd_row][cd_column width=”span12″][cd_text]

For November, we developed a theme of ‘RIFLES Remembrance’ with our Exhibitions Curator, Major Rob Yuill, working alongside military artist, Arabella Dorman to create this installation. The installation is based around the work of Arabella Dorman and our own small Field of Poppies, focusing on remembering our Riflemen fallen since 2007. The installation is open throughout November, normal opening times apply.

The RIFLES Remembrance Installation

The RIFLES Remembrance Installation

The Regiment also commemorated their Fallen on Remembrance Sunday, from those who marched at the Cenotaph; attended the Westminster Abbey service; and those who attended their local parades, cathedrals and churches.

Corporal Ricky Fergusson MC, who sustained life-changing injuries serving in The Rifles, marched at the Cenotaph, supporting Fallen Riflemen.  As did Sue Clack with The Rifles Regimental Association in honour of her son, Lieutenant Daniel Clack.

Cpl Ricky Fergusson MC with Lt Col Mike Smith

Cpl Ricky Fergusson MC with Lt Col Mike Smith

To find out more about The Rifles Book of Remembrance and Roll of Honour, visit our dedicated website: www.riflesremembrance.co.uk

 

[/cd_text][/cd_column][/cd_row]

Today is National Poetry Day!

As today is National Poetry Day, we thought we would share a poem from The Rifles:

 

Be A Rifleman

A flash, then a bang was the last thing I saw

My Corporal shouted “GRENADE, THROUGH THAT DOOR!”

My legs were heavy, I couldn’t catch my breath.

When I opened the door I might meet my death.

 

But I remembered my training,

What I’d learned every day.

And suddenly all of my fears blew away,

So I primed the grenade and put on a fresh ‘mag’,

Praying the soldier behind would not lag.

 

And I thought to myself, be the best man I can.

And the best I can be is a Rifleman.

 

Poem from a wall in Basra Camp, Op Telic 8

‘J.T.T’

Riflemen

Riflemen

RIFLES History on this day

RIFLES HISTORY TODAY – 24th September 1780, during The American War of Independence, Colonel Benedict Arnold of the US Continental Forces turns his coat and flees to the British Lines after his plot, to surrender the garrison of West Point to the crown forces, is discovered.  The connection to The Rifles? The discovery of Col Arnolds treachery had come about as the result of the capture of Major Andre of The Kings 54th (West Norfolk)Regiment of Foot, an Intelligence Officer on the British Staff. Andre having been captured in civilian dress, but carrying his uniform, was hung (wearing at his insistence his uniform) as a spy by George Washington for his part in the plot. The 54th in 1881 became the 2nd Battalion Dorset Regiment, later Devon & Dorset Regiment and now part of The Rifles and a number of artefacts connected with Major Andre are now preserved in The Keep Military Museum in Dorchester, home to the collections of The Devon & Dorset Regiment and part of The Rifles Museums Network. Why not visit to learn more of Major Andre and his exploits?
The Capture of Major Andre

The Capture of Major Andre

September at The Rifles Collection

Recently in September, The Rifles Collection took part in Heritage Open Day on Saturday 14 September. This year, Winchester Military Museums, as a whole, had the best figures since 2006, and there was a great atmosphere on the site. This was particularly in no small part to the re-enactors we had based on the site, as you can see in the photo below.

Re-enactors on Heritage Open Day 2013

Re-enactors on Heritage Open Day 2013

The curators have also been out and about, visiting some of the other museums connected to The Rifles and to 4 RIFLES, who have recently returned from Afghanistan. It was really good to see Somerset Military Museum’s work and see their plans for ‘Somerset Remembers’, which is a project for the World War One Centenary across the whole of Somerset. We also really liked the new plans for The Keep Military Museum, who were recently awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to renovate their displays for World War One and were keen to demonstrate a strong link to the current regiment. We would also like to thank 4 RIFLES, who are planning to contribute to our ‘Stories’ project of their recent tour, particularly at this busy time.

We are also visiting 1 RIFLES in October to record some of the battalion for the ‘Stories’ project. 1 RIFLES are also busy at the moment, having recently deployed to Mali to help train African troops, but still kindly took the time to join in the project.

This year, we have also been flexing our social media credentials in The Rifles Collection and have launched on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. For Facebook, search for The Rifles Collection and on Twitter @TheRiflesCol and we are hoping to soon hit 1000 followers on each. Social Media is a great way for us to reach our audiences, especially since our core audience is scattered across the United Kingdom and we have a battalion in Germany, so we expect some interest from there too!

Keep checking this blog for more stories of the work of The Rifles Collection.