News Archive

The Museum's stand at the "Tommies and Trenches" event at Old Sarum.

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.

Salisbury Armed Forces Day

29th Jun 2010

The museum staff and volunteers took part in Salisbury's Armed Forces Day on Sunday - 27th June on what was a very hot day!

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.

Open Day Saturday June 19

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.

Visit Our Anderson Shelter

10th May 2010

We have a new visitor attraction that has been added to the museum. It is a genuine Second World War Anderson Shelter which we have reconstructed  in the garden.

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?

Opening of the Afghanistan Exhibition

6th May 2010

The new Afghanistan exhibition has been officially opened by the Mayor of Salisbury, Mrs Bobbie Chettleburgh.

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.'

Rifles casualties

23rd Mar 2010

The latest Rifleman, from the 3rd Battalion The Rifles who was killed  while serving in Afghanistan brings the total of Riflemen now killed in action to fifty-two. Our museum was again flying the flag of the Rifles Regiment at half mast during the week of 26th March as a mark of respect for the latest Rifles soldier who has been killed in action while serving in Afghanistan.

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.

Museum Volunteers Christmas Party

14th Dec 2009

On Friday 11th December, the museum staff put on a Christmas party for the volunteers as a way of saying thank to them for all the hard work they put in towards the running of the museum. Their help is invaluable, without them the museum would not be the success story it is today.

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.

Welcome Home Parade for 4th Battalion, The Rifles.

10th Dec 2009

A welcome home parade in Salisbury for the 4th Battalion, the Rifles took place on a rainy day on Monday 7th December. The battalion recently arrived back at their base in Bulford from deployment in Afghanistan. The regiment has lost 24 servicemen this year.

Four hundred and fifty soldiers were on parade, plus members of the British Legion and the Wiltshire and Royal Berkshire Regiments (Old Comrades). Captain Harry Parker, who was severely wounded in Afghanistan this year presented a painting to the City.
Mayors from Wilton, Amesbury, Warminster and Wootton Bassett attended the proceedings and shops in the city took down their Christmas trees for the day and replaced them with flags.

Our photograph shows members of the battalion on parade in the Market Square prior to an inspection by the Mayor of Salisbury, Bobbie Chettleborough.

A Special Christmas Tree

2nd Dec 2009

"For Gallantry and Service". This is our entry in the Christmas Tree Festival at St Thomas's church, Salisbury. The festival is open from Tues 1 December to Saturday 5 December from 10.00am to 6.00pm, and Sunday 6 December from 1.00 - 6.00pm. For more information go to

Visit by the Family of Corporal James Welch VC

30th Nov 2009

Mr and Mrs Welch and their daughter Susan Heath and her husband recently visited the museum to view the Victoria Cross of their ancestor Corporal James Welch VC.

Our photograph was taken on the day with the family proudly holding the medal.