Happy New Year from The Rifles Collection

Happy New Year from all of the staff at The Rifles Collection!

2016 looks to be another exciting year for the museum. Keep checking our website for updates on all the events we are hosting at the museum throughout the year.

We have recently updated our website, adding new and exciting features for you to enjoy.

We are taking social media by storm in 2016, so like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to check out our Pinterest page.

 

Let’s make this year a good one!

New Afghanistan/Herrick Gallery – Looking forward in 2015

The museum currently has part of the gallery closed for refurbishment as we will be updating our Afghanistan/Herrick gallery. This gallery will show The Rifles’ and their changing roles in Afghanistan from all seven Battalions. Any suggestions or donations for displays are always greatly appreciated.

The picture is a sneak preview of one of our Afghanistan showcases and will tell visitors about The Rifles’ interactions with Afghan locals and culture, focussing on hospitality.

The role of Curator and looking after the museum and its extensive collections and exhibitions has been taken on fully by Melanie Marsh, with Rob Yuill moving to the role of Assistant Regimental Secretary Heritage. We will be looking for an Assistant Curator to support the museum, details of which can be found under Connect

Hospitality in Afghanistan

Hospitality in Afghanistan

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Rifles Museums Network News – Change at The Royal Green Jackets Museum – New “Road to Waterloo Exhibition” under way.

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Mannequins are lie piled as the gallery is emptied to allow the re-development to take place.

Mannequins are lie piled as the gallery is emptied to allow the re-development to take place.

The cases are empty and the artefacts are packed ready to go to storage or conservation and cleaning.

The cases are empty and the artefacts are packed ready to go to storage or conservation and cleaning.

The Waterloo diorama being dismantled section by section, 16 parts in all, and removed for renovation.

The Waterloo diorama being dismantled section by section, 16 parts in all, and removed for renovation.

 

 

 

 

 

LCpl Biggin from 100 Fd Sqn (Militia), Royal Monmouthshire, Royal Engineers (Militia) assisting with the RGJM re-display pre works.

LCpl Biggin from 100 Fd Sqn (Militia), Royal Monmouthshire, Royal Engineers (Militia) assisting with the RGJM re-display pre works.

 

The RGJM at Winchester has begun a major re-development of the upstairs gallery that will see a new exhibition layout telling the story of the campaigns leading up to Waterloo, a major redisplay and restoration of the Waterloo Diorama and the creation of a new multi use (education, function and temporary exhibition) space.

The majority of the upstairs gallery is now shut from 21 September to facilitate development of the gallery space. It will be closed off until the new exhibition is launched on 25th March 2015 in time for the 200th anniversary of The Battle of Waterloo next year.

Pre works to close of the Gallery were conducted with support from The Army Reserves with LCpl Paul Biggin of 100 Field Squadron (Militia) Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia) constructing stud walls and doors to close of the development area.

Since then Museum staff and a team of volunteers have been cataloguing and packing items to empty the galleries. The redisplayed Waterloo diorama will be stunning after undergoing restoration and will be the highlight of the new exhibition. ‬

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RIFLES History Today – 70th Anniversary Operation GARDEN, Holland September 1944.

Operation MARKET GARDEN was a major allied assault into German occupied Holland, 17-25 Sep 1944. This week marks the 70th anniversary of the concluding phases of this operation. It was a combined ground and airborne forces operation designed to seize vital river crossings across rivers in Holland with the main prize of Arnhem Bridge, the crossing over the Rhine at the end of it. ‘Market’ were the Airborne forces and ‘Garden’ were the ground forces, provided by 30th Corps of the British Army.

The operation was ambitious; with 30th Corps expected to reach Arnhem in four days to relieve the Airborne Forces, the airborne troops expected to hold on with light equipment for that period and then to support 30 Corps in a break out, to bounce over the rhine into German.

The plan became unhinged quickly with 30th Corps facing stiffer opposition on the advance than estimated and the Airborne forces finding themselves engaged with 1st line troops from an SS Panzer Division which was on rest and maintenance in the area, rather than the 3rd line auxiliaries and reserves which the opposition had been expected to be.

The American Airborne troops at Eindhoven (82nd Airborne Division) and Nijmegen (101st Airborne Division) achieved their objectives with heavy casualties and were relieved by 30th Corps but behind the original planners schedule. The British 1st Airborne Division was forced to hold on for 8 days, with intense fighting around the bridges in Arnheim and in the town suburbs. Eventually after heavy losses and lacking vital combat supplies they were forced to withdraw from Arnhem as the troops of 30th Corps couldn’t get through in the face of ferocious resistance from German forces.

RIFLES antecedents took part in the hard fought ground forces battle which is often overlooked by the Airborne forces battle.

4th & 7th Somerset LI, 4th &5th Bns Wiltshire Regiment, 1st 4th & 5th Dorset Regiment, 2nd Devons, 5th DCLI and 6th 8th & 9th Bns The Durham Light Infantry were all to endure heavy losses in 30 Corps hard fought advance.

The accompanying picture shows troops of 4th Wiltshires in the town of Valkenswaard during Operation Market Garden.

4th Wiltshires in the town of Valkenswaard during Operation Market Garden.

4th Wiltshires in the town of Valkenswaard during Operation Market Garden.

The Rifles Great War Legacy, Great War 100 – Outbreak of the War and BEF deploys.

British Infantry recently arrived in France, possibly somewhere outside Boulogne, preparing to move off towards the Belgian border.

British Infantry recently arrived in France, possibly somewhere outside Boulogne, preparing to move off towards the Belgian border.

British Infantry 'somewhere in France' rest on the move towards Mons.

British Infantry ‘somewhere in France’ rest on the move towards Mons.

 

4th of August 1914, 11pm the British Government having not received suitable assurances from the German Government regarding preservation of Belgian neutrality, declares war on Germany and thus begins British involvement in the conflict that would become know as The Great War or First World War.

5th August 1914, the order is issued for The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) to mobilise and deploy to France and Belgium. The BEF was a unique force for its time – a modern and wholly professional and very experienced field force from the higher command down, when most European Armies were conscripted. Within its make up, were a number of the antecedents of today’s Rifles, with all of the forming Regiment’s represented in these opening moves of the war. The first units began deploying from Southampton to France on the 8th/9th August with further moves on the 22nd/23rd Aug and 8/9th Sep 1914. They would all variously find themselves engaged in the momentous opening battles of the western front campaign, Mons, Loos,Marne & 1st Ypres. Those former Regiments in the order of battle, and the formations to which they belonged are as follows:

1st Corps BEF
– 1st Division: 2nd (Inf) Bde – 2nd Bn KRRC; 3rd (Inf) Bde – 1st Bn Gloucestershire Regt.
– 2nd Div: 5th (Inf) Bde – 2nd Bn Oxford & Buckinghamshire LI; 6th (Inf) Bde – 1st Bn Royal Berkshire Regt & 1st Bn KRRC.

2nd Corps BEF
– 3rd Div: 7th (Inf) Bde – 1st Bn Duke of Edinburgh’s Wiltshire Regt.
– 5th Div: 13th (Inf) Bde – 2nd Bn KOYLI; 14th (Inf) Bde 1st Bn DCLI; 15th (Inf) Bde – 1st Bn The Dorsetshire Regt.

3rd Corps BEF (Landing in France 22nd/23rd Aug, formed in France 31st Aug)
– 4th Div: 11th (Inf) Bde – 1st Bn Prince Albert’s Som LI, 1st Bn The Rifle Brigade.
-6th Div (Landing in France 8th/9th September: 16th (Inf) Bde 1st KSLI; 17th (Inf) Bde – 3rd Bn The Rifle Brigade; 18th (Inf) Bde 2nd Bn The Durham Light Infantry.

The opening moves were begun, in what many hoped would be a short war; “It’ll all be over by Christmas”; but in reality would evolve into four years of war the likes of which Europe had never experienced – total and industrialised – effecting the home front as well as those at the battle front.

100 years on we will endevour to commemorate the major events of 1914 – 1918 and the parts played by our antecedents as The Rifles Great War Legacy, a legacy in which The Rifles can be justly proud.

(For a complete Order of Battle for the BEF in 1914, a good summary can be found at the following link: – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Expeditionary_Force_order_of_battle_(1914)

The Battle of Salamanca – Regimental Day of The Rifles

The Battle of Salamanca, 22 July 1812, Wellington directs the attack, from a contemporary print.

The Battle of Salamanca, 22 July 1812, Wellington directs the attack, from a contemporary print.

RIFLES HISTORY  – The Battle of Salamanca 22 July 1812 –  Annually The Regimental Day of The Rifles.22 July 1812 saw Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, execute one of his most stunning victories over the French forces during the Peninsular War in Spain & Portugal. It showed his brilliance as an offensive general as he beat 40,000 Frenchmen in 40 minutes.

All forming Regiments of The Rifles had antecedent who fought in this action; 1/11th (Devonshire) nicknamed ‘The Bloody 11th’ for the heavy casualties taken this day, the 32nd (Cornwall), 43rd (Monmouthshire) LI, 51st (Yorkshire) LI, 52nd (Oxfordshire) LI, 53rd (Shropshire), 5/60th (Kings American Rifles),1/61st (South Gloucestershire) who after having had 6 reliefs of officers shot away in the colour party finished the day with Privates Nicholas Coulson and William Crawford carrying them in the final assault , 68th (Durham) LI engaged from early morning and throughout the day, and 1/2/3rd Bns 95th Rifles, who with the rest of the Light Division were instrumental in defeating the French rear-guard. For this reason it is chosen as the Regimental Day of The Rifles.

Our ancestors of 1812 set high standards of discipline, courage, initiative and decisive action, and the British attacks can be aptly described as Swift & Bold, providing a fine example of soldiering for today’s Rifles to follow.

Salamanca Day is a Day all Riflemen and former Janners, Glosters, Lightbobs and Jackets can celebrate and recall with pride. The actions of the Regiments  ancestors this day are written large in the tales of The Peninsular War.

Rifles Collection Hosts first Royal Visitor

On Monday 23rd of June – Plassey Day – His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester visited Winchester to raise the City’s Armed Forces Day Flag and launch the event in the city. As Royal Colonel of 6 RIFLES, one of our Army Reserve Battalions, he also took the opportunity to visit Regimental Headquarters The Rifles and The Rifles Museum (RGJ & Rifles) in Peninsular Barracks. After a brief tour around the RGJ collections, The Duke was introduced to The Rifles Collection Team, curators Miss Melanie Marsh, & Major (Retd) Rob Yuill, and Mr David Wiggins the collection volunteer archival assistant. He also met serving members of the Regiment; Cpl Avtar Gill (1 Rifles), LCpls Andrew Borthwick and Dan Owens (both 4 Rifles) who have been key supporters of The Rifles Exhibition giving up their time to do talks and donating items to the collection.  After a quick tour round the gallery, His Royal Highness departed to the flag raising outside County Hall where the proceedings were accompanied by music from The Rifles Band & Bugles.

Battle of Plassey – A unique battle honour.

This week saw the 257th anniversary of the Battle of Plassey, fought in West Bengal, India, 23rd June 1757. This is a unique battle honour to The Rifles and one inherited from our antecedents the 39th Devonshire Regiment who were the only British Army Regiment, to fight in the action, the remainder of the force Commanded by Robert Clive being comprised of East Indian Company Regiments. On the 29th January 1754 the 39th Regiment was ordered to sail to India, and became the first Crown regiment to serve there. In June 1756, Siraj-ud-daulah, the Nawab of Bengal, captured Calcutta (present day Kolkata) and incarcerated the surviving members of the garrison in the infamous ‘black hole’. Lieutenant Colonel Robert Clive was entrusted with recapturing the city for the East India Company. He took with him three companies from the 39th Foot under command. On 13th June 1757 his modest but well disciplined force of 3,000 set off to confront Siraj-ud-daulah’s enormous army of 35,000 infantry and 15,000 cavalry. On 23rd June Clive attacked the Nawab’s army which was drawn up in front of its camp at Plassey. The turning point came with a dramatic rainstorm at midday, which dampened the enemy’s powder, thus silencing their guns. Clive’s gunners, better disciplined, had wisely kept their powder dry and could continue to fire. They cut down the enemy cavalry. This enabled the 39th Foot supported by the Grenadier Companies of the native Regiments, to push forward and seize what little high ground there was and capture the Nawab’s main gun batteries. The defeat of the Cavalry and loss of the guns caused the Nawab’s army to disintegrate and rout. This decisive victory, cost Clive’s force just 80 casualties but set the seal for 190 years of British rule in India. The Battle Honour was awarded retrospectively by Queen Victoria on 17 November 1853 together with the motto ‘Primus in Indus’ commemorating the first honour granted to a Crown Regiment in India. On the 23rd June 1757, the soldiers of the Dorsetshire Regiment had certainly earned the title. Primus in Indus. In an interesting foot note. A Rifles antecedent Regiment was the first British Regiment in India. A Rifles antecedent was also the last British regiment in India, the 1st Battalion The Somerset Light Infantry embarked for Britain 28th February 1948 after a ceremonial march out of The India Gate in Bombay (now Mumbai), the last Crown regiment to serve on Indian soil.

Key RIFLES Historic Anniversaries in 2014

The men of the DLI come ashore at Sword Beach, on the Normandy coast.

The men of the DLI come ashore at Sword Beach, on the Normandy coast.

Wellington's key victory in The Peninsula War that set the conditions for the invasion of France victory in 1814.

Wellington’s key victory in The Peninsula War that set the conditions for the invasion of France victory in 1814.

2014 will see some important anniversary events occurring across the UK and Europe and many have direct relevance to the heritage of The Rifles.

The major anniversary that will be the out-break of the Great War in August 1914. All the museums in The Rifles Museum Network will be staging events and exhibitions highlighting the part played by The Rifles’ antecedent Regiments in that war, it will be worth checking them out throughout the year.

2014 also marks the 70th Anniversary of D-Day in 1944 and the Allied landings in France to commence the liberation of Europe in World War Two. The Dorsetshire Regiment, the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry, The Durham Light Infantry 1/1 Buckinghamshire Volunteers Bn and The Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry all played major parts in D-Day itself with all our antecedent Regiments contributing in the follow on campaigns throughout Normandy and subsequently across all NW Europe into 1945.

A little further back in The Rifles’ heritage, 1814 saw the defeat of Napoleon and the defeat of his forces in Spain & Portugal by the Duke of Wellington’s Army, so worth keeping an eye out for events commemorating the 200th anniversary of the end of The Peninsula War.

I’ll endeavour to keep you informed of other Regimental dates past and present throughout the year.

RIFLES Remembrance

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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

 

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