Hidden Heroes

The Families and Communities behind The Rifles

On 12 March 2018, The Rifles Collection will open its new exhibition as part of a programme of exploring non-operational topics. Hidden Heroes examines the families and communities that support The Rifles and looks at their stories and perspectives from the last 10 years of the Regiment’s history.

The Rifles, and the British Army, rely strongly on the support that the families and communities behind soldiers give. Military families are prepared to uproot their family every few years to follow their soldier in their career to give their soldier the continuity of family life. This exhibition provides an insight into what sacrifices families make for the military and also demonstrates the solidarity found within military communities, with the rise of support groups such as Military Wives’ Choirs. It looks at the support given by welfare teams and the developments in keeping in touch for families whilst on tour has developed.

With personal testimonies, photographs and items from both the families and the welfare teams, the exhibition illustrates how the support of families is vital to soldiers and how the Army recognise and support families in their role. Collections Assistant, Josie Dear, said “it is an exciting opportunity for the museum to examine the behind the scenes lives of soldiers and take a step away from an operational focus. It helps to portray the very human stories behind the Regiment.”

The culmination of Hidden Heroes will be a panel discussion featuring various organisations key to the support of military families discussing the support networks available for families and how these have developed significantly over the last ten years. Tabitha Burch, Collections Assistant, noted that “This will provide an open forum to look at what support is available for military families and highlights how important the backing of military families for soldiers is.”