News Archive

France Honours Wiltshire Soldier with Top Award

France Honours Wiltshire Soldier with Top Award

15th Jan 2016

93 year old Bob Shergold from Great Wishford, who served in the Wiltshire Regiment during World War 2 has been awarded the ‘Ordre national de la Legion d’honneur’.  This will be presented to him at an award ceremony in The Rifles Berkshire and Wiltshire Museum on Friday 15 Jan 2016 at 1200 hrs.

Bob Shergold served with 5th Battalion The Wiltshire Regiment and landed at Arromanches in France during Operation Overlord for the start of the Allied offensive breakout through Normandy.

Bob Shergold is a member of his local Royal British Legion Branch and some of his fellow members will be joining him for this great event.

 

Further Background Information.

 

Bob Shergold served with 5th Battalion The Wiltshire Regiment which was then part of 129 Infantry Brigade of the 43rd (Wessex) Infantry Division (along with the sister Battalion, 4th Battalion The Wiltshire Regiment)

 

Landing at Arromanches on 18th June 1944 the Battalion settled initially at Sommervieu before taking part in its first action at Hill 112, successfully assaulting over the Oden River and capturing the small town of Maltot.  During fierce counter attacks by German forces some few days later, Bob was wounded in the ankle, legs and face and evacuated back to England in early July, by landing craft to Portsmouth.

After recovering from his wounds, in November 1944 Bob rejoined his Battalion, which was now in Holland.  After two months of intensive training and working as a newly appointed battalion sniper, the Division was selected to take part in Operation Market Garden, and his Battalion was part of the Allied offensive advancing Northeast out of Nijmegen towards Arnhem and the Rhine River in February 1945. This was a period of intense close quarter fighting and

on 2 March, while conducting a reconnaissance patrol with members of B Company, he and his patrol members were captured and taken prisoners of war near Calcar. He remained a POW until relieved by Canadian Forces at Leuwarden some few months later.

In September 1945 Bob transferred to RAOC where he remained serving until being released in December 1946.


Our photo shows Bob (seated) being presented with his medal, watched by family members and invited guests.

Wiltshire Army Cadet Force Master Cadet Awards Presentation 14 January 2016 at The Wardrobe

14th Jan 2016

On Thursday 14 January 2016 the Commandant of Wiltshire Army Cadet Force Colonel Mark Nash hosted the Master Cadet Awards Presentation at The Wardrobe in Salisbury.  Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Wiltshire, Mrs Sarah Troughton, presented the certificates and badges.  Also present were the Honorary Colonel of Wiltshire Army Cadet Force, Lieutenant General Sir Roderick Cordy-Simpson, parents and those adult instructors who had assisted the cadets in gaining these prestigious national awards. 

The winners of the awards were:

Cadet Regimental Serjeant Major Karl Martin – Trowbridge Detachment.

Cadet Company Serjeant Major Kiera Reavill – Old Sarum Detachment.

Cadet Company Serjeant Major Camren Stewart – Church Place Detachment.

Cadet Colour Serjeant Blake Collingwood – Old Sarum Detachment.

Cadet Colour Serjeant Hugh Tomlinson – Old Sarum Detachment.

 

Key Points fom January 1916 - 100 Years ago

7th Jan 2016

4th January

First Attempt to relieve Kut begins: relieving force begins advance from Ali Gharbi.

 

6th January

H.M.S. "King Edward VII" sunk by mine off North of Scotland.

Action of Sheikh Sa'ad (Mesopotamia) begins.

 

7th January

Evacuation of Helles (Gallipoli Peninsula) begins (see 8th and December 28th, 1915).

 

8th January

Evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula completed

 

10th January

Mount Lovchen (Montenegro) taken by Austrian forces.

Corfu occupied by French forces

Russian offensive towards Erzerum begins

 

12th January

Armistice concluded between Montenegro and Austria.

 

21st January

First British Attack on Hanna (Mesopotamia): First Attempt to relieve Kut fails

 

24th January

First Military Service Bill passed by British House of Commons (see February 10th).

 

27th January

Great Britain: The Military Service Act is passed by Parliament, imposing conscription on all single men aged 18 to 41 in Great Britain. Exemptions were made for men in essential war work, those declared medically unfit, religious ministers, and conscientious objectors. (The period of conscription was in force until 1919).

 

29th January

Last German airship raid on Paris.

 

31st January

Airship raid on England; furthest penetration westwards; casualties 183.

 

From our Records January 1916

7th Jan 2016

Two Hundred Years Ago

49th Regiment / 1st Royal Berkshire

6th Jan 1816

On 6 Jan 1816, England. Over the next two days, the Regiment, in two divisions marched to Portsmouth. The Regiment reached Portsmouth during the 10 and 11 January. Whilst in Weymouth the Regiment had received the title 'Princess Charlotte of Wales's Regiment'

 

62nd Regiment / 1st Wiltshire

11st Jan 1816

On 11 Jan 1816, France, Paris. 2/62nd marched to Calais to embark for England Part of 2/62nd disembarked at Dover and part disembarked at Ramsgate on 14 January. The 2/62nd embarked, sailing for Ireland on 24 January

 

During the First World War…..

99th Regiment / 2nd Wiltshire

1st Jan 1914

On 1 Jan 1914, England, Southampton. Draft (One Officer and 84 Corporals and Men) embarked on Hired Transport 'Somali' from 1st Battalion. Landed and disembarked at Gibraltar on 6 January.

 

 

From Our Records - December 2015

From Our Records - December 2015

3rd Dec 2015

1st Battalion Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment - Last Regiment to be trooped by ship from the Uk to Malta.

On the 3rd December 1962, 53 years ago the 1st Battalion Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment embarked at Southampton in the aging troopship, HMT Oxfordshire, for service in Malta. This was an historic occasion as it was the last unit to leave the United Kingdom in a Troopship for service overseas. The journey lasted a week; including in the journey was a stop at Gibraltar to replenish the ship's beer stocks! Before leaving England a set of tiger and panther skins for the Corps of Drums was presented by the High Commissioner for India. This gift was in recognition of The Royal Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiments’ past connections with India. On arrival in Malta the battalion took up its quarters in St Patrick Barracks and settled down immediately to training on the island.  Due to the small size of the island the battalion was required to train elsewhere, primarily Libya in North Africa. They also trained in Sardinia and in addition carried out many ceremonial parades. They were also required to deploy operationally on the island of Cyprus several times due to the ongoing conflict on the Island at the time.

Our photograhp shows the SS Oxfordshire on its arrival in Malta with the battalion in 1962. [The last British Regiment to be trooped by ship from England]

 

Museum Website

3rd Dec 2015

The Museum website has now had it's annual update with almost 2,000 more images! These relate to the collection and include photgraphs, weapons, documents and uniform. In addition, almost a further existing 900 images and/or records have been enhanced.

 

Winter Closing

30th Nov 2015

The Museum is now closed for the winter until Tuesday 2nd February 2016. During this time the museum displays get their annual conservation clean. We will also be working on our new Temporary Exhibition which will focus on the Battle of the Somme, which took place between July and November 1916 - 100 years ago.

From our Records November

From our Records November

1st Nov 2015

 

In November 1917 - 98 years ago the 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment made a fighting stand at Bourlon Wood. In the spring the Germans had retired to the newly constructed Hindenburg Line methodically destroying everything as they went. The Hindenburg Line consisted of a heavily wired continuous line of entrenchments, which comprised all the high ground west of Cambrai. After pushing back the enemy to this line, nothing had been done until 20th November, when the British opened a surprise attack supported by a large number of tanks that swept through the wire of the Hindenburg Line as far as Bourlon Wood. From this position on high ground, one had excellent observation of Cambrai. In consequence, attack and counter attack followed one another for a week, the village changing hands daily. The casualties on both sides had been heavy.

 

The Battalion had started the year in a rear area keeping the roads free of snow where they remained until early February. On the 4th Feb 1917 a small fighting patrol launched an attack at Courcelette and achieved the odd result of taking prisoner exactly the same numbers of German officers and of men that the patrol itself consisted of. Further attacks were made at Miraumont on the 15th February and Oppy Wood on the 29th April where Lance Corporal J Welch won a Victoria Cross. By the 1st May there was only enough men left to form two companies of 4 officers and 100 Other ranks each which was merged with the 23rd Royal Fusiliers to form a composite battalion. At the end of a second action at Oppy on the 3rd May the battalion was down to 2 officers, both wounded and 94 other ranks. They were restored to a complement of 38 officers and 694 Other ranks by the end of August. They were back in action for the Battle of Cambrai near Bourlon between the 26th and 30th November 1917 as part of 99th Brigade. The 2nd Division withstood the assault by two German Divisions with very little assistance from other units of the Division. After this it was back to the rear areas and then to the rest of the winter in the trenches.

 

On 5th November 1854, George Walters won his Victoria Cross.

George Walters was born in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire in 1829 and enlisted into the 49th Regiment in 1848. Promoted Corporal in 1854 and Sergeant in 1855, most of his service was in the Mediterranean.

He served with his regiment during the Crimean War and, as a result of his bravery on 5 November 1854, was recommended for the Victoria Cross. The citation reads:

‘Sergeant George Walters highly distinguished himself at the Battle on Inkerman in having rescued Brigadier-General Adams, C.B., when surrounded by Russians, one of whom he bayoneted.’

George Walter paid 15 shillings for his discharge in November, 1856. Having only served 7 years he was not entitled to a pension. George was one of the 62 men to receive the medal on the first distribution in 1857. At that time he was constable in the Metropolitan Police. He died in poverty in 1872 and was buried in a pauper’s grave at the City of Westminster Cemetery, Finchley.

 

 

Our photograph shows George, wearing his Police uniform, recieving his VC from Queen Victoria.

 

From Our Records October

From Our Records October

14th Oct 2015

13th October, 1812 – two hundred and three years ago, The Battle of Queenstown Heights took place during the American War of Independence. The American General Van Renselaar had assembled a force of 6,000men and on 13 October 1812 the invasion of Canada began. Crossing in boats at early dawn the Americans succeeded in gaining a foothold on Queenstown Heights, which was defended by 300 men of the 49th (Hertfordshire) Regiment (later 1st Royal Berkshire Regiment) and York Militia with a few heavy guns.  General Sir Isaac Brock was at Fort George when he heard the sound of firing and galloped to Queenstown. He ordered reinforcements from Fort George but, without waiting for their arrival, placed himself at the head of the Light Company of the 49th and advanced to the attack. After one attack had been beaten off he led the second advance and again the Americans opened fire, and Brock conspicuous by his height and uniform, was struck in the right breast by a bullet and fell mortally wounded. He survived but a few minutes. Almost his last words were 'Push on the York Volunteers' alluding to a force of corps now arriving on the scene.

On 26th October 1854 Lieutenant John Con(n)olly VC (30 May 1829 – 23 December 1888) won his Victoria Cross. Born in Celbridge, County Dublin in 1829, John Augustus Conolly served as Lieutenant with the 49th Regiment during the Crimean War. He was awarded the Victoria Cross as a result of his gallant behaviour on 26 October 1854 at Sebastopol. An attack by the Russians was repulsed and the enemy fell back pursued by men of the 49th Regiment, led by Lieutenant Conolly, whose gallant behaviour was most conspicuous in this action. He was 25 years old. He ultimately fell, dangerously wounded, while in personal encounter with several Russians, in defence of his post. He felled one Russian with his telescope. For his great gallantry John Conolly was promoted into the Coldstream Guards and achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He died in the Magistrates house Curragh Camp, Co Kildare, 23 December 1888 and is buried in Mount Jerome Cemetery. By his wife Ida Charlotte, daughter of Edwyn Burnaby, he had several children. His medal is at The Coldstream Guards Museum.

On 30th October 1854, James Owens VC (1827 – 20 August 1901) won his Victoria Cross. He was born in Killaine Baillieboro, County Cavan, and was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross. He enlisted into the 49th Regiment in Glasgow in 25 December 1848. He was 27 years old, and a corporal in the 49th Regiment of Foot, later The Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's), British Army during the Crimean War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC on 30 October 1854 at Sebastopol, in the Crimean Peninsula. At the time he was part of an outpost which was attacked by a larger Russian force. The outpost defended gallantly and helped to give the main defence time to organise. He was later promoted to Sergeant. After 21 years’ service he obtained his discharge in 1870, to become a Tower Warden at the Tower of London until 1878. He later achieved the rank of Sergeant. He died in Romford, Essex, on 20th August 1901 and is buried at Brentwood, Middlesex.

On 1st October 1915 Second Lieutenant Turner VC died (22 May 1893 – 1 October 1915) on 1st October 1915. He was 22 years old, and a second lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's), British Army, attached to 1st Battalion during the First World War when the deed for which he was awarded the VC. On 28 September 1915 at Fosse 8, near Vermelles, France, when the regimental bombers could make no headway, Second Lieutenant Turner volunteered to lead a new bombing attack. He made his way down the communication trench practically alone, throwing bombs incessantly with such dash and determination that he drove off the Germans about 150 yards without a check. His action enabled the reserves to advance with very little loss and subsequently covered the flank of his regiment in its retirement, thus probably averting the loss of some hundreds of men. He was shot in the abdomen at close range during the action Second Lieutenant Turner died three days later of the wounds received in this action. He was reported to have died at No. 1 Casualty Clearing Station, Chocques on 1 October and he was buried at the Military Cemetery Chocques. His brother was Lieutenant Colonel Victor Buller Turner VC was also awarded the Victoria Cross during World War II. He also had a family connection with General Sir Redvers Buller VC.

Our image shows a pastel drawing of General Sir Isaac Brock

 

From Our Records August

From Our Records August

8th Sep 2015

On the 2nd August 1900,  William House (pictured) of the Royal Berkshire Regiment (Princess Charlotte of Wales's Own)won his VC.

The 15th August 1945 was the 70th Anniversary of VJ (Victory in Japan)Day.

173 years ago in August 1842 the 99th Regiment were shipwrecked.