News Archive

Events for February

2nd Feb 2015

The museum is open again from Tuesday 3rd after a winter closing period, but we have been busy! We have a new temporary exhibition for this year titled ‘1915 – Gallipoli and loos’. Using photographs, artefacts and documents, we tell the story of the struggles and bravery of the soldiers from the Wiltshire Regiment at Gallipoli and The Royal Berkshire Regiment at Loos endured.



From our Records - January 2015

From our Records - January 2015

5th Jan 2015

This year we will produce a regular monthly news item that will reflect, from our records some of the history of our antecedent regiments.

This month sees the 200th anniversary since the end of the 1812-1815 War with America.  Although the peace was signed in France in December 1814, it took some time to be physically announced in America.  The 62nd Regiment were garrisoned in Maine and once the news was announced in USA they returned to Nova Scotia in 1815.  We actually commemorated the 200th Anniversary of the start of the 1812-15 War with the Brock/Queenston Heights Exhibition which was opened in 2012 and is still being used in the museum.

Also in January, in 1879 – 136 years ago, the 99th Regiment occupied Fort Eshowe during the Zulu War.

January 2015 is the 50th anniversary (1965) of the Independence of Malta and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment  (DERR) were the ceremonial troops. They left Malta that year to become a Mechanised Battalion and undertook an exercise in Sardinia.



Our photograph shows ‘Fort Ekowe’(or Eshowe).  It is believed this photograph was taken on the 10th June 1879. The mission station was occupied on the 24 January 1879 by the 99th Regiment without opposition. The mission buildings, though deserted for many months, were not in bad repair and steps were taken to fortify them. Two companies of the 99th, including the band, worked very hard to ensure that the defences were substantial enough to withstand any attack by the Zulus. A soldier later remembered, ‘From that time up to January 30th we had to work almost day and night... and we have at last got it completed. It is a massive looking work, and can afford shelter to all the troops. The moat no Zulu can get over, and I should venture to say that, arranged as it is now is, the whole Zulu force would fail to get an entrance, although we only number 400 men’. The garrison was provided by soldiers of the 99th Foot and the Buffs.




National Memory Local Story Schools Project Website

National Memory Local Story Schools Project Website

24th Nov 2014

A new website can now be viewed about the National Memory Local Story Schools Project, which the museum took part in, earlier in the year. The work is now displayed on the National Portrait Gallery’s website. Please click on the following link.

Earlier in the year, the Museum took part in a project with the National Portrait Gallery and a company called Media 19 and was called National Memory Local Stories. The work produced by students led to the exhibition, ‘A View of the Great War’ within the museum.



We Will remember Them

We Will remember Them

11th Nov 2014

Staff, volunteers and visitors at the museum gathered near the memorial garden to remember the fallen and for the two minutes silence today at 11am.

Remembrance School Visit

Remembrance School Visit

10th Nov 2014

Twenty-eight school children today visited the museum for a special Remembrance themed learning programme. The children, aged between eight and nine, were from St Osmunds School in Salisbury. They learned about the First World War by discussing and filling in forms using documents, walking around and learning about the museum's First World War displays and handling artefacts and uniforms. Our photo shows volunteer Sue Johnson talking to some of the children about the uniforms they are trying on.



Remembering Together

3rd Oct 2014

We are pleased to announce that we have received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to commemorate World War 1 through workshops in primary schools in the counties of Berkshire and Wiltshire.  Our aim, in partnership with CREW ( ),is to provide opportunities for school children to gain a broad understanding of some of the ways the War affected people in these counties.   We are offering interactive, engaging workshops with props and costumes to bring this dramatic and significant period of British history to life.


This is a commemoration of the contributions made by the men and women of the counties of Berkshire and Wiltshire during the war years, and will maintain local memories for local communities for years to come.


The workshops will run in Berkshire 3rd – 7th November 2014 and in Wiltshire 10th – 14th November 2014.


If you are a primary school teacher and would like to know more about this scheme please contact Ros Senior or 0845 260 4414.


Scouts Visit Saturday 27th September

Scouts Visit Saturday 27th September

30th Sep 2014

Dan McAleavy, a disabled young man recently submitted an application for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund so that a group of young Air Scouts could study the events that saw the 1st Battalion The Wiltshire Regiment mobilise on 4 August 1914. This was to cover their deployment from their Barracks in Tidworth on 13th August until their arrival in Mons and subsequent Retreat from Mons. Dan’s project is fairly ambitious and the whole project was to be filmed.

Having been successful in obtaining the grant, the Scouts major objective was to retrace the actual route that 1st Battalion, The Wilshire Regiment took from Mons to the action at Le Cateau, the scene of another Battle Honour for the Wiltshire Regiment.  The Recce of the route and liaising for the Camp sites and other administration was undertaken in January 2014 and the re-enactment of the Retreat was carried out 100 years to the day that 1st Wiltshire’s undertook the retreat between 23rd and 27th August.

Dan will be giving a presentation, which will include the finished film footage, to The Chippenham Royal British Legion as part of his condition of gaining the grant and to gain the final pieces of the jigsaw puzzle to those events that happened 100 years ago, twenty of the Scouts and their leaders attended a presentation put together by volunteer Martin McIntyre and on hand to supervise the handling of the weapons was Peter Shorten. 

The images show Mac in full flow oh the subject matter and the film crew at work.


Meet David Our University Volunteer

Meet David Our University Volunteer

19th Sep 2014

My name is David Thomas, a second year university student of history, and for the last three months I have had the privilege of working alongside the incredibly talented volunteer staff of The Rifles Berkshire and Wiltshire Museum in my home town of Salisbury. Housing the regimental histories of the Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiments, from the 18th century up until the modern day, volunteering at the Wardrobe has given me the great opportunity to research local history and learn new skills. I have had the good fortune to be working with an amazing team whose dedication to the preservation of local history is inspiring.


Over the past three months, the majority of my work has involved the researching and completion of paid customer archive enquiries to trace their ancestors and relatives. I have researched many members of our regiments throughout the time period covered, ranging from one soldier who served as a shipboard marine during the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801 right up until the service of soldiers in the Second World War. The enquiries I have worked on have taken place around the world, from Canada and North America, to India and the Far East, from Afghanistan and South Africa, to Ireland and pretty much everywhere else in-between. The scale of what these men did for their country really became apparent to me whilst I read the details of their lives and service careers.


Working with the Archivist, Chris Bacon, I have learned the skills of museum archiving. The centenary of the First World War has seen a huge rise in demand for enquiries and we have been subsequently rushed off my feet on some days. The effort that some enquiries require (especially trying to decipher some of the handwriting!) is paid off a-hundred-fold by the absolutely fascinating and often enthralling personal tales that my job has allowed me to uncover. I like to think that, in some small way, I have helped reduce the pressure on Chris as he no longer had to complete all of these enquiries on his own.  My role was not limited to enquiries however; I have also been working closely with staff to develop a social media channel in order to promote the museum, a role which I am very happy to be able to continue once I have returned to University.


As I look forward to the new academic year starting, I shall take from my volunteering role at The Wardrobe a great sense of pride and achievement. My researching skills have been vastly improved, my letter writing abilities also. I am familiar now with archiving processes and have participated in the digitisation of museum resources and documents. I have learned so much over this summer and have made many great friends that I will most certainly return in the holidays to help out. 



PM reveals personal connection with 'massive sacrifice' of WW1

PM reveals personal connection with 'massive sacrifice' of WW1

14th Aug 2014

The Prime Minister has reflected on his own family's links to the First World War as he visited a cemetery where his great-great-uncle is commemorated.

Captain Frank Mount, a relative on David Cameron's mother's side of the family, was killed in action at the Battle of Loos as he fought as a member of the 5th Battalion, Royal Berkshire Regiment on October 12, 1915.


His name was among 1,800 servicemen remembered at the cemetery, 1,100 of whom are unidentified, in a rural site outside Lille.


Captain Francis Mount is remembered with an inscription on the wall of the Dud Corner Cemetery and Loos Memorial in northern France.


Opening of the Exhibition 'A View of the Great War'

Opening of the Exhibition 'A View of the Great War'

4th Aug 2014

Claire Perry MP opened a new exhibition at the Rifles Berkshire and Wiltshire Museum on Friday 1st August.   Entitled ‘A View of the Great War’, the exhibition shows the artwork created by children from two local schools, Avon Valley College, Durrington and Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury.  Also in attendance were, the artist in residence for the month who worked with the school children, Henny Burnett, Manager/Curator Simon Cook and Pamela Glintenkamp, Project Manager from the National Portrait Gallery. The children who took part and created the artwork and their parents were among the invited guests.

The Museum took part in a project with the National Portrait Gallery and a company called Media 19 called National Memory Local Stories. The project was funded by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation Arts Programme and gave young people the opportunity to learn about World War One through their examination of some of the records kept in the archives of the Museum, and some of the objects and photographs in the Museum’s Collection.  Other museums that took part were The National Museum of Scotland, The National Museum of Wales, The National Museum of Northern Ireland and The Redbridge Museum.

Museum staff and volunteers Michael Cornwell and Martyn McIntyre, and  artist in residence for the month, Henny Burnett worked for two weeks with ten children from Avon College, Durrington and then two weeks with ten children from Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury. The results of the project can be seen on the National Portrait Gallery web site