Getting Ready for our Touring Exhibition

We are thrilled to announce that to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Formation of The Rifles, we are planning to send a touring exhibition across the UK. Within the exhibition, we hope to feature stories and objects that reflect the ethos of The Rifles from the past 10 years. We are currently looking for contributions or suggestions from across the Regiment and those connected to the Regiment. If you have a contribution to make to this exhibition, please contact us on museum@the-rifles.co.uk before Friday 30th September.

 

If you would like to volunteer or support this project in any way, then please do get in touch at the above email address. We would be delighted to hear from you.

 

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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Armed Forces Fun Day for All

This Sunday (29th June) Winchester Military Museums will be hosting a special event for Armed Forces Day. If you are in or around Winchester why not visit Peninsular Barracks and join in the  fun. All the Museums are free for the day and there are a number of activities on from 10am to 4pm including a team from The Rifles providing a paint ball gallery range where kids little and large can test their marksmanship, Gurkha Soldiers from the Sandhurst Company, Cadet association displays,  The Band of the Adjutant Generals Corps and much more. So why not come along and show your support for our armed forces.

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.

Back Badge Day – The 28th North Glosters and The Battle of Alexandria, March 21st 1801

On March 21st 1801 a battle was fought outside Alexandria, Egypt, which would see the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte’s military expedition to Egypt and result in the 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment adopting a unique distinction.

A British Army led by General Sir Ralph Abercrombie had landed in Egypt to remove a French , who had been in occupation there since 1798. The 28th were part of the Reserve Division under the command of Major General Sir John Moore, occupying an unfinished redoubt in advance of a key position on the British right flank.

Exposed on low sand hills by the sea shore, when battle commenced, the 28th were subject to the full brunt of the French attacks. At one point they were simultaneously attacked in the front by Infantry and the rear by Cavalry. With no time or space to form square the Commanding Officer ordered his rear rank to about face to meet the new threat, and the 28th fought on back to back. Due to their steadiness and their devastating volleys they managed to turn the battle at a crucial time and inflict a significant defeat on the French, the first time for 30 years and a turning point in the campaigns against Napoleon.

The gallant action of the 28th fighting back to back, holding against the odds, the right flank, was henceforth commemorated by the wearing of an emblem of the Egyptian Sphinx on the back of the headdress.

To find out more about this story and other great tales of The Gloucestershire Regiment, why not visit The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, part of The Rifles Museums Network.

This honour is continued by The Rifles, successors to the 28th and the Gloucestershire Regiment, and is worn in barrack and ceremonial dress. The 21st March remains Back Badge Day and is celebrated by former ‘Glosters’ and Riflemen alike. This year a Back Badge Parade will be held in Gloucester City on the 22nd March.

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.

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

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.