Category Archives: Community

The Rifles Collect

The Rifles Collect is the Regimental Prayer of The Rifles:

O Almighty God, the sure stronghold of each succeeding age, guard us your servants
of The Rifles. That we may uphold and be worthy of the great traditions bound up in
our former Regiments, and as we were chosen to be swift and bold may we seek with
courage you grace in every time of need and so be patient and persevering in running
the race this is set before us. This we ask through Jesus Christ, your Son our Lord.
Amen.

A RIFLES Memorial and Roll of Honour in the museum

 

It’s almost 2018…

2017 has been a busy year for us here at The Rifles Collection and we can’t believe 2018 is almost here! Lots of changes have been happening, but a lot have been ‘behind the scenes’ changes, so we thought we’d taken this opportunity to let our visitors know all about them.

The museum now has its own Trust, previously, it was under The Rifles Regimental Trust, now it is an independent Trust – The Rifles Museum Trust, charity number 1174293, chaired by Brig. (retd.) Jolyon Jackson.

The museum ran a paid internship for 6 weeks from May to June. This was part funded by the museum but administered and the rest of the funding paid for by Santander’s Internship Scheme for University students. Our Intern was Philip Lazenby, who came from Brunel University studying his MA in Military History and completed the museum’s Collection Audit.

This year has been a changing time for our volunteers. Out of our small team of dedicated volunteers, one now has a full time job with the Museum of Military Medicine as their Assistant Curator, one has full time work in the field of archaeology, one has left to go to Queen’s University, Belfast to study History in the hope of a museum career and the other has returned to the University of Reading to complete a Masters in Museum Studies for a future museum career. This left us with a lack of volunteers, but all for good reasons, meaning we had to run a recruitment drive in September and October. We have four new volunteers who have started this month. Our volunteers have given us 454 hours so far this year in work on the collection – documenting and accessioning items and working on the archives.

 

Austen’s Officers: Then and Now

We have been working on our travelling exhibition; ‘I am a Rifleman’, which will be touring across the country in 2018 – please keep checking our website for dates and venues! We have also developed an education programme with Winchester’s Military Museums for STEAM national curriculum standard.

Additionally, we have submitted our first ever application for Museum Accreditation, a huge step and the accumulation of years of work for the museum, so fingers crossed!

Finally, we developed our temporary exhibition gallery and held our first ever temporary exhibition themed on ‘Austen’s Officers: Then and Now’, which is still running until mid-November. The photos below are from this temporary exhibition.

After such a hectic year, we can’t wait to see what 2018 brings for the museum!

Some of the items on display in Austen’s Officers: Then and Now

 

An interesting Regimental Photo. Men of 3rd Battalion KRRC, Egypt 1882-84

Soldiers from the Kings Royal Rifle Corps , Egypt 1882. Probably 3rd Battalion KRRC.

Soldiers from the Kings Royal Rifle Corps , Egypt 1882. Probably 3rd Battalion KRRC.

A photo of3rd Battalion Kings Royal Rifle Corps possibly prior to embarking for Egypt in 1882.

This photo was taken during the Anglo Egyptian War and River Nile Expedition that took place from 1882-1885.

The 2nd DCLI, 1st Royal Berkshire, 1st KSLI, 3rd KRRC and 8th (City of London) Battalion, The London Regiment (Post Office Rifles) all served in this campaign. The Anglo Egyptian War was fought between Great Britain and Egyptian and Sudanese forces under Ahmed Orabi, who had led a coup against Tewfik Pasha, the Khedive of Egypt and the Sudan. Success enabled British troops to occupy Egypt until the Anglo Egyptian treaties of 1922 and 1936 which gave back gradual control to Egypt. The volunteer force unit, The Post Office Rifles, whose battle honours have passed to the Rifles and who 7 Rifles have direct lineage to, provided a detachment of 2 Officers and 102 men to undertake postal and telegraph duties for the Force Commander General Wolseley.

3rd Battalion KRRC who acted as mounted infantry during the campaign. Rifleman Frederick Corbett of this Battalion was awarded the VC for his efforts to save his officers life during this campaign, only to have it stripped from him in 1884 for embezzlement. Lt Percival Scrope Marling of 3rd KRRC was also awarded a VC in this campaign and the Battalion received honours for Egypt 1882, Tel El Kebir, and Egypt 1884 for a short expedition against the Mahdists in Suakin.

To find out more about the service of our antecedents in Egypt why not visit the Museums in Bodmin, Salisbury, Shrewsbury and Winchester, all part of The Rifles Museums network the locations of which are on the interactive map under Rifles Museums.

RIFLES HISTORY TODAY – 1st of July 1916

At 7:28 am on 1st July 1916, The Battle of The Somme commenced. A huge mine was exploded under the German Lines at Hawthorn Redoubt and the British forces moved forward, over the top, from their forward ‘ jump off’ trenches.

British Mine explodes under the German Lines at Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt at 07:28 1st July 1916, and the Batlle of the Somme commences.

British Mine explodes under the German Lines at Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt at 07:28 1st July 1916, and the Batlle of the Somme commences.

SOMME is a representative Battle honour for the Rifles borne with pride on our Regimental Belt badge. It recalls the major battle on the western front fought between 1st July and 18 November 1916 in which 97 Battalions of The Rifles antecedent Regiments took part.

The Battle was to become the crucible for Kitchener’s New Army. The battle was costly for the British Army, and one of the costliest of the Great War. 419,654 British (60,000 alone on the first day, the 1st of July) and 202,567 French casualties, against 465,181 German for a gain of 6 miles advanced on a 16 mile wide front by the time the battle slid to a halt in the winter rain and sleet of November. The Rifles remember with pride the courage, fortitude and sacrifice given by our forebears during this battle, we remember the Officers and men and the families of…

Wiltshire Regiment moving up the line near Acheux, Somme 28th June 1916

Wiltshire Regiment moving up the line near Acheux, Somme 28th June 1916

Soldiers of The Wiltshire Regiment crossing no mans land in the fighting around Thiepval, the Somme, July - Aug 1916.

Soldiers of The Wiltshire Regiment crossing no mans land in the fighting around Thiepval, the Somme, July – Aug 1916.

The Devonshire Regiment: 1st, 2nd, 8th & 9th Battalions.
The Somerset Light Infantry: 1st, 6th, 7th & 8th Battalions.
The Gloucestershire Regiment:1st, 1/4th, 1/5th/ 1/6th, 8th, 10th, 12th, 13th & 14th Battalions.
The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry: 1st, 1/5th,6th, 7th and 10th Battalions.
The Dorset Regiment: 1st Battalion
The Oxford & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry: 1/4th, 1/1st(Bucks), 2/1st(Bucks), 8th, 5th, and 6th Battalions.
The Royal Berkshire Regiment: 1st, 2, 1/4th,2/4th, 5th, 6th & 8th Battalions.
The Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry: 2nd,1/4th, 1/5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th,, 10th and 12th Battalions.
The Kings Shropshire Light Infantry: 1st, 5th and 7th Battalions.
The King’s Royal Rifle Corps1st, 2nd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 20th and 21st Battalions.
The Wiltshire Regiment: 1st, 2nd and 6th Battalions.
The Durham Light Infantry: 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 20th and 22nd Battalions .
The Rifle Brigade: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 8th, 9th, 13th and 16th Battalions .
The London Regiment: 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 16th and 17th (Rifles) Battalions.

Memorial to the men of 8th & 9th Battalions The Devonshire Regiment at Devonshire Trench Cemetery near Mametz on the Somme Battlefield.

Memorial to the men of 8th & 9th Battalions The Devonshire Regiment at Devonshire Trench Cemetery near Mametz on the Somme Battlefield.

“Swift & Bold”

ANZAC DAY – The 25th APRIL – AND THE RIFLES

25th April is ANZAC Day in Australia & New Zealand. ANZAC stands for Australian New Zealand Army Corps.  The Day itself is the Anniversary of The Australian & New Zealand Expeditionary Forces taking part, alongside British forces,  in The Gallipoli Landings in WW1, 1915. This was the first time they had deployed as national Australian & New Zealand forces. It is now a national day of remembrance in both countries  commemorating all Australians and New Zealanders that have fallen in conflicts then and since.
The RIFLES has 7 Regimental Alliances in the Australian Army of today: (The Royal New South Wales Regt, 11/28 Bn, The Royal Western Australian Regt, The Monash University Regt, Western Australian University Regt, Sydney University Regt, Melbourne University Regt, 51st Bn Far North Queensland Regt.) and 4 Regimental Alliances with the New Zealand Army: (1st Bn The Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment – (RNZIR), 2nd Bn [Cantebury, Nelson, Marlborough & West Coast] The RNZIR, 6th Bn [Hauraki] The RNZIR, 7th Bn  [Wellington’s Own & Hawkes Bay Bn] The RNZIR.

As todays Riflemen serve alongside’ the Diggers’ of The Australian Army  and ‘Kiwis’ of the  New Zealand Army in Afghanistan today as part of ISAF, our  antecedents also have a close association with the landings at Gallipoli and The ANZACs of 1915; many of them having fought there alongside them in the Dardanelles, where Gallipoli is situated on the Turkish coast.

1/1st Herefordshire Regt in action at Suvla Bay 9 Aug 1915, a sketch for a full painting by Charles Dixon, both of which are in the collection of The Herefordshire light Infantry Museum.

1/1st Herefordshire Regt in action at Suvla Bay 9 Aug 1915, a sketch for a full painting by Charles Dixon, both of which are in the collection of The Herefordshire light Infantry Museum.

5th Bn Dorsetshire Regiment, 5th Bn (Duke of Edinburgh’s) Wiltshire Regt, 7th Bn Gloucestershire Regt, and the 1/1st Bn Herefordshire Regt, (shown in the paint sketch) of the Gallipoli landings, all took part in this ill fated campaign alongside the ANZACs.

To find out more of our Gallipoli history, why not visit their Regimental Museums in Dorchester, Salisbury, Gloucester and at the TA Centre Hereford – all part of The Rifles Museum Network. 

Remembering The Glorious Glosters in Korea – April 1951

 The Battle of Imjin River, Korea 22-25 April 1951. The 1st Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment as part of 29th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade were in defence holding a key historic invasion route from the north towards Seoul, a shallow crossing on the Imjin River.
The Battalion consisted of approximately 650 all ranks.

Drum Major Buss 1st Bn The Gloucestershire Regiment, answers the Chinese Bugles with his own. Gloster Hill, Korea 1951.

Drum Major Buss 1st Bn The Gloucestershire Regiment, answers the Chinese Bugles with his own. Gloster Hill, Korea 1951.

The battle commenced on the 22nd April when the forward standing patrols engaged the advanced guard of massive assault by the Chinese Peoples Army attempting to drive towards Seoul. By the morning of the 23rd, facing some 10,000 Chinese troops, the forward Companies of the Glosters were forced to withdraw to concentrate on Hill 235 with the remainder of the Battalion, later to be known as Gloster Hill. The Glosters were to fight on for a further 2 days against insurmountable odds, often driving off massed charges at the point of the bayonet; becoming increasingly isolated as the rest of the Brigade withdrew under the weight of similar hammer blow attacks by Chinese Divisions. By the 24th April B&C Companies had merged to one, due to casualties sustained. By the morning of the 25th, Brigade Artillery support had become untenable. Brigadier Brodie left the decision whether to attempt a break out or to surrender to Lieutenant-Colonel Carne, the Glosters’ CO and with ammunition and medical supplies spent, he “gave the order to his company commanders to make for the British lines as best as they could” on the morning of the 25th. Only the remains of D company under the command of Major Mike Harvey escaped successfully from Gloster Hill and reached the safety of friendly lines after several days. The rest of the battalion was taken prisoner, including Lieutenant-Colonel Carne. 620 men from the Gloucestershire Regiment, which mustered 217 men on 27 April, were on the Brigade Casualty list. 522 soldiers became prisoners of war and of them, 180 were wounded and a further 34 died while in captivity. 59 soldiers of the Gloucestershire Regiment were killed in action.The action of The Glosters and 29th Brigade had however so worn down the combat effectiveness of the lead Divisions of the communist assault that their attack was stalled and the South Korean capital saved. For this action the Glosters received 2 VCs (one to the CO), 1 George Cross, 2 DSO and 1 MC and were awarded a US Presidential Citation. The swift decisive action and boldness in defence demonstrated by the Glosters during this battle are duly seen as part of the proud legacy The Rifles have inherited from there forming Regiments. Imjin is one of the 34 battle honours borne on the Belt Plate Badge of the Regiment. To find out more about this piece of The Rifles story visit the recently refurbished Soldiers of Gloucester Museum

 

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

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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