1st Feb 2016
Today, 1st February, the museum has re-opened after our winter break. During this time, we have been busy carrying out essential conservation work to the displays – something we can only do when we are closed to the public. This involved careful cleaning of the artefacts and the cases themselves.
We have also been working hard over the last few months on our new Temporary Exhibition for 2016 – The Battle of the Somme, which took place 100 years ago in 1916.
Both The Royal Berkshire Regiment and The Wiltshire Regiment took part from the first day of The Somme.
On display are photographs, artefacts, uniforms original archive documents, including an original Trench Orders documents given to soldiers serving at this time.
Also today, is the 9th anniversary since the formation of The Rifles.
1st Feb 2016
A very special performance of a new play about a forgotten Salisbury heroine.
Thursday 10th March, 7pm
Salisbury 1917: Aspiring journalist Dorothy Lawrence returns from the front line, suffering from a nervous complaint, and harbouring secrets the War Office forbids her to tell.
What made Dorothy brave enough to follow her reckless ambition? And what price did she pay?
Based on original research, the astonishing story of a bold woman is brought to life with two actors, dark humour and an original score. To buy a ticket go to:
For more information please visit http://heroineprojectpresents.com
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.
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.
7th Jan 2016
First Attempt to relieve Kut begins: relieving force begins advance from Ali Gharbi.
H.M.S. "King Edward VII" sunk by mine off North of Scotland.
Action of Sheikh Sa'ad (Mesopotamia) begins.
Evacuation of Helles (Gallipoli Peninsula) begins (see 8th and December 28th, 1915).
Evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula completed
Mount Lovchen (Montenegro) taken by Austrian forces.
Corfu occupied by French forces
Russian offensive towards Erzerum begins
Armistice concluded between Montenegro and Austria.
First British Attack on Hanna (Mesopotamia): First Attempt to relieve Kut fails
First Military Service Bill passed by British House of Commons (see February 10th).
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).
Last German airship raid on Paris.
Airship raid on England; furthest penetration westwards; casualties 183.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.