Hidden Heroes Panel Talk – The Families and Communities Behind The Rifles

At 6:30 PM, on Thursday 28th June, a panel talk will be taking place at The Rifles Museum. The panel will be discussing a wide range of topics relating to the families and loved ones of Riflemen, and the Army’s support networks and welfare teams. The Rifles, and the British Army, rely strongly on the support of military families and communities. After the talk, the attendees are welcome to ask the speakers questions. Refreshments provided. Tickets £12, on sale now over the phone at 01963 828505.

For further information regarding the families and communities of The Rifles, come into The Rifles Museum to see the Hidden Heroes exhibition.

Tickets: £12

6:30 PM Thursday 28/06/18

The Rifles Museum, Peninsula Barracks, Romsey Road, Winchester, SO23 8TS

I am a Rifleman Touring Exhibition

It was in 2015, that the museum first started preparing to develop its touring exhibition. From the opening of the museum in 2013 to the public, it had always been an aspiration of its Trustees and staff to develop a touring exhibition. Under the guidance and management of the Museum Manager, Melanie Marsh, things started to take shape.

The proposal for the design was a theme of 12 short stories from individuals that encapsulated what it means to be a Rifleman. The hope behind this was that the exhibition would not seem dated in a year or so and could be used for longer.

Funding for the exhibition came from both the Regiment and the Army Museums Oligby Trust, both of whom were pleased to see the museum develop this exhibition as the first small military museum to take on such an ambitious project!

With a small staff and volunteer team, planning began back in Summer 2017 to launch in March 2018. We worked with a local exhibition designer and local graphics production company, with support from AMOT, in particular Fran Stovold, After many hurdles and some slight adjustments to the timescale, the exhibition launched in Cornwall’s Regimental Museum on 16 March and had its formal opening on 10 May.

The museum would highly recommend other small museums trying out touring exhibitions. For those of us curating them, it is a great way of getting our collections out into communities we may not be able to access and, for those borrowing them, a wonderful way to liven up displays.

There is an article on the exhibition’s themes and an information pack available.

Volunteering at The Rifles Museum by Alice Rhodes

Although the footer says otherwise, I am not Melanie, so I thought I would first introduce myself.  My name is Alice Rhodes and I am one of the volunteers at The Rifles Museum.  I am in my third year of an English and History degree from the University of Southampton, and planning to have a career in museums or archives.  Luckily, at the same time I was looking for more experience, The Rifles Museum was looking for volunteer Collection Assistants.

I have been volunteering one day a week since November, and will be sad to leave in June, when it comes time to graduate.  My short time here has been very enjoyable, and allowed me to see some of work that goes into the running of a museum or heritage organisation.

The main task I have been a part of has been accessioning the collection onto Modes, a cataloguing system that allows for the creation of searchable databases and a better understanding of what is in the collection.  This is part of the collections work towards gaining accreditation, whereby it will be fully recognised as a museum.  It also means I get to see a lot of the objects not on display, and learn how to safely handle and package them.  I have also had the opportunity to update the content on this website and the museum’s page on Weebly.

Although my time here has not been very long it has allowed me to see the processes required to keep a collection organised, and allowed me to be involved in one complete project.

The Shop 2018

If you come down to the museum today you’re in for a big surprise…

It doesn’t quite fit the nursery rhyme, but if you haven’t been to the museum in a while, you would not know that we have some new items in the museum’s shop: teddy bears wearing their own Rifles t-shirts and wristbands in the Rifles colours, amongst other things.  Maybe after looking round the museum, you could have your own teddy bears picnic?

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

 

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 museum@the-rifles.co.uk

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

 

 

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‘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 www.thesomme19240.co.uk