The theme of the exhibition was The Rifles today, including formation, post-2007 history, RIFLES traditions, and the Regiment’s links to Somerset – both current and historic. The objects on display came from the Museum’s collections. A dressing up table allowed visitors to try on a range of real uniforms and equipment.
The exhibition was transported from The Rifles Museum in Winchester to Wellington on Saturday 10th June and was initially stored in the offices of the Town Council. It was installed the following day in the ‘Pop-Up Shop’ – a former shop in town high street. The exhibition was displayed from Monday 12th to Saturday 17th June.
The objects that attracted the most interest was a RIFLES Monopoly set (a limited-edition release in 2019) and a British Army ration pack. The handling collection also proved very popular, especially the helmet and forage cap.
Press coverage for the event was good, with a local paper (the Wellington Weekly News) attending the opening of the exhibition. Later, radio reporters from BBC South West and 10Radio, a local station, viewed the exhibition and carried out interviews.
The exhibition was well-attended. Visitors included families, school groups, military enthusiasts, people with little or no knowledge of the Army, Riflemen, and a range of veterans. The latter came primarily from the Somerset Light Infantry, Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry, and The Light Infantry, but also from other RIFLES antecedents – including the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, Royal Gloucestershire Regiment, and King’s Royal Rifle Corps.
The exhibition helped to raise awareness of the Regiment and the Freedom, which took place on the 17th June. Additionally, it encouraged visitors to go to both The Rifles Museum, Winchester, and other parts of The Rifles Museums Network.