29th Nov 2010
This well documented film is 85 minutes long and is full of images and film related Wiltshire's involvement during the Second World War, and we highly recommend it and is an ideal Christmas present to anyone interested in local history. It includes footage of some of the museum displays, an interview with Curator Michael Cornwell and images from our collection.
Wiltshire was one of the most militarised counties during the Second Wold War, but the story of 'Wiltshire at War' is not just about the army, or training. It was here that weapons were developed, tactics were tried and tested and operations planned and mounted. British, Commonwealth and American troops all made use of the varied facilities, and of course the civil population played their part, working in the factories or fields, or belonging to an organisation such as the Home Guard or the ARP.
This DVD explores a wide variety of locations throughout the county, such as the garrison towns of Warminster, Bulford and Tidworth; the RAF bases at Lyneham, Boscombe Down, Keevil, Blakehill Farm, Old Sarum and Hullavington; the important research establishment at Porton Down; aircraft production at Swindon, Blunsdon and Sevenhampton, plus much more.
Don't forget, the museum shop has lots of interesting products that would also make ideal Christmas presents. Click on 'Museum Shop' to the left of your screen to see what else is available!
16th Nov 2010
During her visit to the museum, she was able to relax and take a break from the proceedings in the museum's library, which was hastily converted into a comfortable living room for her to relax in. Afterwards she awarded bravery medals to soldiers from the Rifles who had served in Afghanistan in the Regimental Room. She was also very taken with 'Bobbie' the dog who was wounded at the battle of Maiwand in 1880, Afghanistan and who met Queen Victoria who gave him an Afghan medal. Our picture shows her standing next to him.
On 16th October 2004 the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment (one of the regiments of which formed The Rifles) was granted the Freedom of the City of Salisbury. HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip in his capacity as Colonel in Chief, received the honour on behalf of the Regiment and took the salute in the Market Square. Later, when the regiment became the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry it exercised its right to march through the streets with 'Colours flying, bayonets fixed and band playing' and the last 'Freedom Parade' took place in Salisbury on 14th October 2006.
The Rifles do not have 'Colours' so they will march with 'Bugles sounding, Officer's swords drawn, Riflemen carrying rifles and band playing'!
15th Oct 2010
Object of the Month, in conjunction with the Salisbury Journal
The item selected for October is the Bernières sign. This is displayed above the reception desk in the entrance hall. You can see it until the end of November when the Museum closes for the winter.
20th Aug 2010
The Museum took part at the "Tommies and Trenches" event at Old Sarum during the weekend of Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 August. Our image shows our exhibition stand and Miss Johnson giving advice on Regimental and family history to a keen visitor.
29th Jun 2010
We were there to lend our support to the event and to promote the museum and what services we have to offer and hopefully encourage people to visit the museum. We were able to offer family history advice to relatives who may have been in either of our regiments, and we took along some display boards with images and text information.
Our image is a combination of images from around the event.
21st Jun 2010
The Museum took part in the Close Open Day on Saturday. Besides free admission to the Museum and garden, we offered visitors advice on tracing military ancestors, weapons displays, opportunities to try on uniforms and activities for children. We also had Steve Williams who is a World War One Australian re-enactor providing our visitors with a fascinating insight into life in the trenches.
10th May 2010
The shelter was donated by the 'Britain at War' magazine and has been carefully put together by staff and volunteers.
Part of the garden where it is located has also been set aside for a vegetable garden which has been landscaped to reflect one used during the Second World War, to give visitors as real sense of what life was like in a garden at that time.
Our picture shows Alistair, the Museum Assistant digging for victory?... or Australia?
6th May 2010
Our picture shows (from left to right) Bobbie (the dog), Bobbie (the Mayor) Michael, (the Curator), and Jackie (the Assistant Curator).
The Mayor read from a speech which was made for her by the Rifles Museum which highlighted the reasons why we put the exhibition together. The speech reads as follows.
'This new exhibition, which is entitled simply 'Afghanistan', has been produced as a tribute to the soldiers of the Rifles Regiment and their antecedent regiments of Berkshire and Wiltshire who have fought in battles past and present in Afghanistan.
The British public are aware that British forces are currently operating in Afghanistan, but very few know that we have been there before! In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the British forces that participated in fighting in Afghanistan were largely overlooked because of operations in other parts of the world that were more readily understood such as South Africa - against the Zulus and the Boers - and Egypt and the Sudan - against the Mahdi and Haddendoa whom the Victorian soldiers referred to as "Fuzzy Wuzzies"!
One hundred and thirty years ago our armies fought an army of tribesmen in Afghanistan. In 1880, on the arid plain of Maiwand, just North of Khandahar, a British/Indian force of 1,500, including 530 officers and men of the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment, fought against an Afghan force of around 30,000 and who outnumbered our artillery 6 to 1. After several hours of fighting the order to withdraw was given; up until that point the 66th had hardly lost any men, though the Indian army had suffered badly. In the withdrawal our forces had to cross a deep ravine and they took heavy casualties. Eventually 120 survivors withdrew through to the village of Khig. A group of Officers and nine other ranks who stayed in a walled garden gave covering fire to their comrades to effect a safe withdrawal and in doing so paid the ultimate price.
In 2005, the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry, one of the antecedent units of The Rifles, was one of the first Regiments to be deployed in Afghanistan during 'Operation Herrick'. Although two soldiers were lost, these were to be only the first of many more to come.
Between December 2008 and the 4th April 2010, the Rifles have lost forty four soldiers and many more have been left horribly maimed. They are fighting (as did their forebears) in harsh terrain across deserts and mountains, and although the scale of the losses may be small in comparison to those at the Battle of Maiwand, the fighting today is no less horrific. Instead of rifles, guns, swords and knives it is now rockets, rifles and I.E.D.'s or the Improvised Explosive Devices, which beside killing their victims, can cause horrific injuries. As we all see on our television screens, the Taliban have proved to be a formidable army of fighters, just the same as the Afghan tribesmen of 1880!
On behalf of the Rifles (Berkshire and Wiltshire) Museum, I (the mayor), hope that this new display of past and modern artefacts, photographs, text boards, moving images and a Rifles Roll of Honour which is being kept updated, will enable people to understand what life was and is like for our soldiers serving in Afghanistan.'
23rd Mar 2010
Since its formation in 2007, the Rifles have lost forty-five soldiers killed in action while serving in Afghanistan and eight soldiers in Iraq.
Between the 1st March 2010 and the 8th March, six soldiers were killed in Afghanistan meaning that the museum's regimental flag was flown at half mast every day for a week. We have noticed passers shaking their heads as they travel through the Cathedral Close and past our museum, which also houses the Rifles County Office.
14th Dec 2009
Our picture shows volunteer and ex- Duke of Edinburgh's Royal Regiment Major Mike Smith who cooked and made not just the fantastic buffet food, but also a special Christmas cake. In the background of the picture is Manager/Curator and also ex-Duke of Edinburgh Regiment, Colonel Michael Cornwell who is about to cut the cake.