THE LATEST NEWS FROM SOLDIERS OF GLOUCESTERSHIRE MUSEUM
I am happy to report that the museum had an excellent summer holidays as we welcomed 1723 visitors through the door. This is a 45% increase from last year whilst we also experienced an 18% increase in income. Many people helped to make this a success but a special mention must go to the RGBW Severn Branch who put on multiple excellent events for children throughout the holidays.
We have a few exciting events on the horizon with the Jack Russell exhibition having already begun and running right through until April 2024. We shall have a variety of trails for families and children throughout the October half term holiday (Sat 28th October – Sunday 5th November). Several parties of Scouts are booked in for evening events around Remembrance and finally we have the service at Gloucester Cathedral to commemorate the return of Gloster POW’s from the Korean War on Saturday 25th November. Please note that the museum will be closed over the festive period from Monday 18th December through until Tuesday 2nd January 2024.
As always, thank you all for your support of the museum and if anyone has any queries or questions about the museum please do not hesitate to contact me directly at the email below:
Opening of the new exhibition
Our newest exhibition by artist and ex England wicketkeeper Jack Russell is now open. As you probably know by now it features portraits of the nine remaining heroes of the Battle of Imjin River.
The opening day was a huge success as we managed to get all our veterans, travelling from as far as Grimsby, Ipswich and even the USA, to attend. Alongside them, we had over a hundred family members come to view the exhibition. It was a fantastic day and a huge honour to pay our respects to these men. Without the help of Len Keeling and his Regimental Association team, plus the museum volunteers, such a spectacular event would have been impossible. A special mention also to Colin Porter who went above and beyond to get everyone’s favourite veteran, Tommy Clough, to the event.
The publicity machine has gone into overdrive! This is mainly thanks to Jack but huge credit must be given to Imjin veteran Brian Hamblett. He has appeared on the main national BBC news, the main national ITV news, had articles in the Sunday Times and Daily Express, plus a variety of local media outlets to name but a few!
It would of course be remiss of the museum not to mention the monumental efforts of our very own Brigadier Martin Vine. He has been the organiser of this project from the start and, along with Jack, has travelled the length and breadth of the country to make this amazing dream a reality.
The exhibition runs right through until the anniversary of the battle in April 2024. Entry is free with paid museum entry.
For those who unfortunately cannot make the exhibition we have produced an accompanying book. It features stories and anecdotes from the veterans (most of them clean!) and has all of the artwork that is featured in the exhibition. As an additional treat, Jack Russell has personally signed all first edition copies. These can be purchased online through the museum shop at: https://www.soldiersofglos.com/product/final-roll-call-by-jack-russell-mbe-and-matthew-a-holden/
Although we had a fantastic time welcoming our Korean War heroes to the museum at the opening of the Jack Russell exhibition it made us realise that sadly our ancient wheelchair was no longer fit for purpose.
Many of our visitors have mobility needs and having a wheelchair available allows them to explore the glorious history of our Regiments to their fullest extent.
We would like to purchase two wheelchairs at a cost of £109.99 each. Any amount you can give to help support the museum along with its veterans and visitors at the link below would be hugely appreciated.
Thank you very much.
When discussing the 'rarest' items in our museum it is a difficult decision with two such storied Regiments as ours. Of course, we have four original Victoria Crosses and some incredibly unique items. However, one particular item is an extremely important document for classical historians.
This painting is said to be of the tomb where Alexander the Great buried his most favoured horse. Bucephalus is one of the most famous animals in military history plus a dear companion to Alexander himself. It is said he never recovered from losing Bucephalus during the invasion of Punjab (326BC).
The tomb itself has been lost to history and another far more modern construction stands in the Punjab region instead. Very few (if any) other actual images of the original tomb exist.
The story of Alexander the Great is so entwined with that of Bucephalus that the tombs discovery would be a huge historical coup.
As some of you may have become aware recently, our Chairman, Chris Ryland, and Vice Chair, Colonel Ayres, have needed to take a back seat recently to concentrate on their health. After losing our MoD funding a few years ago and moving onto a more commercial footing, it has been these two men who've largely driven the museum forward and put us in better shape for self-sufficiency. Their loss to the board, if only temporary, will be a difficult one for the museum and you will no doubt wish to join in wishing them both a speedy recovery, and we look forward to their return. At the same time, we need to attract new members to the board and tap into the wider talents of the regimental and local community.
As you know, the board of trustees is made up of volunteers, many representing our county’s famous regiments, bringing together a combination of military, charity, organisational and commercial experience too. However, it is quite ‘officer heavy’, so if you feel you have some time (it doesn’t need a lot) and you think you could bring valuable experience and advice to the business, we’d love to hear from you. It’s important that the museum, which tells the story of our regiments and occasionally of the servicemen and women of other units too, retains a strong link with our veterans and this is a valuable and effective way of helping to shape the museum for the future. Do please think seriously about this.
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