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.

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


Medal Sets Appeal

The Regimental Museum of The Rifles is appealing for medal sets for its’ collection.

If you are currently serving in the Regiment and hold a Conspicuous Gallantry Cross, Military Cross, George Medal or Queen’s Gallantry Medal – please get in touch! We would like to create a replica set of medals from those serving in the Regiment. You will be able to keep your medals but your story will be shown in the museum.

If you have recently left the Regiment and hold one of the above medals, please still get in touch! We recognise these medals have a monetary value if you wish to sell them to the museum. Or, equally, you could loan them to us for our travelling exhibition until 2019. Or, finally, you can let us create a replica set from yours so you get to keep them.

There are so many ways we can display these medals to always keep your best interests in mind. It seems unbelievable that, for a Regiment that holds 4 CGCs, 21 MCs, 1 GM and 5 QGMs amongst many other honours and awards, the Regimental Museum of The Rifles has none.

Please contact the museum on 01962 828505 or

On Parade! 2017

This Sunday, 18th June 2017, is Winchester’s Military Museums’ annual Armed Forces Day event, On Parade!

The event begins at 11:00 and will run until 15:00. It will feature live music courtesy of The Spitfire Sisters and The Rifles Band and Bugles, along with displays of modern military vehicles provided by the British Army as well as various re-enactors for some historical flavour.

The event is free to attend and all of Winchester’s Military Museums are also free to enter during the event. The weather is looking very good for this Sunday, with the weather being up in the high twenties and sunny, so remember to put on some sun lotion and stay hydrated!

For those who are arriving by car, unfortunately we can not offer any space to park at the museum. However, less than 5 minutes walk away is the Tower Street Car Park which offers free parking on Sunday.

We hope to see you at our event and also hope you will take the opportunity to look around The Rifles Collection museum as well as the five other military museums in Winchester.

It’s National Poetry Day 2016!

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For National Poetry Day 2016, we would like to share a poem “To Reflect and Remember” by former Serjeant Paul Cocoran, which has been adapted for The Rifles today. Feel free to share your own contribution with us, using #nationalpoetryday #therifles to the @TheRiflesCol on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To Reflect and Remember

The Officers and Soldiers we all once knew                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The good times the hard times the compo stew

The training was over for a posting no doubt                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Where are we going… don’t all shout out

The families officer and rear party our next of kin safe                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Keep your head down, soldier on and keep your faith

From the CO to the Rifleman we all did our bit                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Once more Infantrymen you were destined for it

Never mind the bullets, bombs and danger                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Keep on going said the Serjeant Major

We got on with our lot to see the job though                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thinking of our families as they are of you

I am counting the days till the end of the tour                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just one more patrol and I’ll be home that’s for sure

I would march 100 miles for a moment with you                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Its hard at the moment… but will get easier it’s true

The blisters last for weeks… the memories a lifetime                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     My service in The Rifles was simply sublime.

Paul ‘Coco’ Cocoran


Rifleman with rifle aimed into the distance

Rifleman with rifle aimed into the distance




‘19240: Shrouds of the Somme’: 6 RIFLES Mark the Battle of the Somme 100 Years On

1st July 2016 marks the centennial anniversary of the Battle of the Somme; the bloodiest day in the British Army’s history. There have been many events across the country that have marked various anniversaries from the First World War, and in particular, the Battle of the Somme.

In April 2016, HQ Company 6 RIFLES were tasked with providing seven soldiers to unveil a national art project at the Exeter Guildhall, Devon. Each soldier took up position around a union flag which was laid in the Guildhall. As part of the ceremony, the union flag was raised by the soldiers of 6 RIFLES to reveal 100, 12inch shrouded figures, arranged neatly into rows. These 100 figures represent just 0.52% of the 19,240 figures that were to be displayed in Northern Hay Gardens on 1st July 2016 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. The artist, Rob Heard, wanted a strong military involvement.

WO2 Elliot Drake, 6 RIFLES, states that the artist, Rob Heard, and the battalion formed a special bond throughout this experience, which continued into the following year. The Battalion was invited to black tie dinners with the Exeter Chiefs Rugby Club, where they were privileged to meet both Exeter Chiefs and England international rugby players. The Battalion also visited many schools in the Devon area to spread the word about the battle and the art project ‘19240: Shrouds of the Somme’.

6 RIFLES continued to assist with the art project into 2016 by picking up the installation from the artist’s home in Somerset, to the Northern Hay Gardens in Exeter in time to mark the historic anniversary. The Riflemen, along with local veterans, the local community and the local fire service, spent 11 hours laying out the figures.

At 07.28am on 1st July 2016, the time at which the whistles were blown in 1916, sending thousands of soldiers ‘over the top’, many of which would not return. WO2 Elliot Drake walked out to the centre of the installation and laid the last of the 19,240 figures, each representing one soldier who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Following the Last Post, 30 whistles were blown for three seconds to mark the ‘going over the top’ and the opening of Rob Heard’s art installation.

During the 7 seven days of the opening of the ‘Shrouds of the Somme’, it was visited by 50,000 people and had approximately 1 million hits globally on social media.

The Rifles antecendent and founding regiments lost the following men on the first day:

33 Queen Victoria’s Own Light Infantry     –    1

Devonshire Regiment                                     –    394

Dorset Regiment                                              –    70

Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry                –    2

Durham Light Infantry                                   –    209

King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry           –    771

King’s Royal Rifle Corps                                  –    60

King’s Shropshire Light Infantry                   –    7

Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry                   –    6

Rifle Brigade                                                       –   198

Somerset Light Infantry                                   –   282

Wiltshire Regiment                                           –   7

shrouds-1    shrouds-2   shrouds-3   A ceremony in Northerhay Gardens remembering the first day of the Battle of the Somme. 19,240 men were killed on the first day. Artist Rob Herd spent 3 years making 19,240 shrouds one for each life lost to commemorate 100 years since the battle Richard Austin Pic: Richard Austin Tel: 07831 566005

For more information on the 19240 art project, please visit

Getting the Museum ‘Squared Away’

After the rush of the school holidays, we are taking a moment to catch our breath and giving the collections some much needed TLC. Whilst the fingerprints on our cases are a testament to the enjoyment of our younger visitors have found amongst the displays, they can be disruptive for our other museum visitors.

So volunteers Rachel and David joined museum staff, Melanie and Evie, to clean the display cases inside and out. The objects inside the cases were cleaned inside and out. The objects inside the cases were cleaned, as well as our mannequins wearing the uniforms of Riflemen past and present.

Although not the most glamorous of tasks, this type of housekeeping gives us a really good opportunity to get up close and personal with our artefacts, and you really start to notice some interesting details. For example, Melanie observed that the previous owner of our Taliban motorbike had attempted some repairs to the handlebars. Evie also polished the bugle, our Regimental symbol, keeping it up to standard.

We have also taken the opportunity to put out some fresh pest traps in some of our cases. It is an unpleasant fact of museum life that there might be something trying to eat your collection, so we place little sticky traps to keep tabs on what is around so we know if we have a problem – the only creepy crawlies we want in our museum are the ones we are planning as part of our Halloween craft activities on 28th October 2016!

This is an on-going task, so watch out for members of the team cleaning the cases or checking up on the pest traps throughout the year. There is always plenty to do, so if you are interested in helping out, feel free to contact us at to find out more…


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Rachel cleaning our modern Rifleman uniform mannequin and David cleaning our ‘Rifles in Iraq’ case.

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 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.


The Rifles Collection Proudly Presents…

Our new Afghanistan Gallery!

We have been working hard over the past months to design and re-display the Afghanistan exhibition in the museum. We have put new text panels up telling the story of The Rifles in Afghanistan and the numerous operations they were involved in, as well as introduce new and exciting objects for you, our visitors, to see.

One of the highlights of this new exhibition is a motorbike used by Taliban insurgents. It is the only piece of enemy kit exhibited in the museum, and one of only two motorbikes linked to the Taliban on display in the UK; the other is located in the Imperial War Museum, London.

Taliban Motorbike

The Hampshire Chronicle has featured the opening of our new exhibition this week, which can be seen here.

We hope you come down to the museum and see our new gallery soon!


Donate or sell? Why not do both?

The Rifles Collection, as the  Regimental Museum of The Rifles, is always keen to acquire new items relating to The Rifles. However, we understand that sometimes these items have a monetary value outside of the Regiment, such as paintings and medals. This can sometimes make the choice between donating an item to the museum or selling it on for cash, a difficult decision. However, the museum can offer far more than these two options. With more resources available to possibly purchase these times, loaning and donating are not the only options open to you.

  1. We can take the item on loan for a set number of years, giving the public the chance to view a key part of the Regiment’s history, before returning it to the owner. Your ownership of the item is not affected in any way.
  2. If the owner definitely wants to sell the item and we think it is a worthwhile item for the museum, we can offer to purchase the item through applying for grants and fundraising to its correct assessed value. This would take us usually a few months to raise the necessary funds, but the item would be well cared for and maintained for perpetuity for the public to view and learn more about.

We can also discuss customised options suitable for each object and owner, so please do not hesitate to contact us.