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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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.

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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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