3rd Battalion laying wreaths at Winchester War Memorial, 1924.
Armistice Day 2022
“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
‘In Flanders Fields’…” – John McRae
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place……
and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below……
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
This most evocative of poems, “In Flanders Fields”, dates back, of course, to the Great War. John McCrae, a Canadian Medical officer, was inspired to write it after presiding over the funeral of a fellow soldier who died in the battle of Ypres in May 1915. The poem was first published in Punch magazine in December that year. Many were hugely inspired into action by the poem, especially the final verse.
These included, at the time, two great women campaigners: Moina Michael, an American, and Anna Guérin, who was French. After the Armistice both started to promote the poppy as the symbol of remembrance with some success, mainly as a means of raising money for the casualties of war in America and France: not just the disabled, but the thousands of widows and orphans too. In September 1921, Guérin came to England and persuaded the then fledgling Royal British Legion to take up her idea of a “Poppy Day”. Initially there was scepticism. But she showed samples of the silk poppies, made in France, and offered to provide an initial batch. The first ever British Remembrance and Poppy day was declared by Earl Haig for 11 November 1921. It was a massive success. The Royal British Legion made £106,000, largely via poppy sales; the equivalent of £5m today. And the poppies sold out.
A key figure in the scaling up of the early work of the Royal British Legion was a little known soldier, Major George Arthur Howson, MC. George, aged 28, found himself serving on the Western Front with the 11th (Service) Battalion Hampshire Regiment in late 1914. He went on to have an impressive war record: recognized for bravery after saving the life of a man who had fallen into the River Somme in 1916, he was also “mentioned in dispatches’ later that year. Then on the 31 July 1917, the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres, he was wounded in action when in command of a party building machine-gun emplacements. His group came under intense aerial bombardment and he suffered multiple shrapnel wounds. He carried on encouraging his troops, stopping only for treatment hours later once the task was complete. For this gallantry and selfless service he was awarded a Military Cross.
After the war Howson committed his life to helping provide employment for disabled veterans. With the assistance of Liverpool MP Jack Cohen, George became founding chairman of the Disabled Society in 1921. The following year, The Royal British Legion realized a need and spotted an opportunity to have the poppies made in England rather than France, and commissioned the Disabled Society to make them. A grant was provided for setting up the very first Poppy Factory in London on the Old Kent Road. Initially just 5 disabled veterans were employed however the factory rapidly expanded to take on 50 more veterans and produced over a million poppies within the first few months. By November 1924 the Poppy Factory had manufactured over 27 million poppies, with all funds going towards The Royal British Legion for the welfare of veterans, especially the disabled and their families.
Although the Royal Hampshire Regiment no longer exists, having amalgamated into the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment in 1992, the story of Howson and so very many others from past conflicts live on at the Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum in Winchester and in the other fine Army Museums nearby in Peninsular Barracks.
Drop in and Remember them!Vacancies – Trustees for the Royal Hampshire Regiment Board
The Royal Hampshire Regiment Trust is the main Board responsible for all activities to do with the Regiment, including the Museum and Memorial Garden. The Board is divided into 3 sub-committees: Museum & Memorial Garden; Finance & Governance and Comrades & Welfare.
We are currently looking for some new Trustees to join the board, particularly those with experience in the following areas: Heritage/Archives/Museums/Artefact Conservation; Legal; Finance; Marketing & PR; and Managerial to lead us forward in an exciting period of change.
Background. The Royal Hampshire Regiment Trust, led by a Board of Trustees is the body responsible for activities associated with The Regiment – which merged into the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (PWRR) in 1992. Our successor Regiment is nicknamed the “Tigers”. Our board of 12 Trustees, led by a chair, meets 4 times a year at Serle’s House in Winchester.
Role and purpose of the Board. Headline responsibilities are to:
Trustees are recruited for a term of 3 years initially – and assigned to one of three sub committees which report to the main board with delegated responsibilities shown below. There is a possibility to renew their position for a further term if necessary.
Trustees’ Main Responsibilities.
Sub Committee Responsibilities – which all report to the Main Trustee board.
Finance and Governance sub-committee.
Museum and Memorial Garden sub-committee.
Comrades and Welfare sub-committee.
We need 1 or 2 new trustees each year to replace those completing their term of service. At the moment, we are seeking to build up a new Trustee team over the next 2 years and are looking for a mix of new faces and talents – particularly those with a background in Museum/Heritage/Archives/Artefact Conservation; Legal; Finance; Marketing & PR and Managerial. We would like the Board to reflect a range of ages and backgrounds, and welcome diversity.
They would need to:
Suitably qualified trustees will be asked to join the relevant sub-committees to contribute their experience and expertise.
Closing Date for expressions of interest: 1st September 2022.
If you are interested in finding out more about any of these Trustee roles, please contact the museum on email@example.com, or by calling 01962 863658, saying which of the 3 areas you are most interested in.
On this day – 30th May 1945
320th Anniversary of the Founding of the Regiment – 13th February 1702
Meredith’s Regiment of Foot was raised in Ireland on February 13th, 1702 by Colonel Thomas Meredith; it was one of twelve who were created by order of Parliament at the start of the Wars of the Spanish Succession. Meredith, who was Irish, raised his regiment around Dublin. He determinedly refused to enlist ‘Papists’, whose loyalty he believed to be suspect.
Despite his prejudice drastically cutting down his recruiting base, Meredith had no issue finding qualified officers and other ranks. Parliament had cut down the Army five years previously, and at that time a large percentage of the army’s soldiers were recruited from Ireland. Many ex-soldiers who had been cast adrift joined his new Regiment. After a year of training, the Regiment went to the Netherlands to join the Duke of Marlborough’s campaign against the French.
In 1751, it was proclaimed that regiments would no longer bear the names of their colonels, and instead were numbered in order of precedence; the regiment became the 37th Regiment of Foot.
The 37th fought at Minden in 1759: they originated the PWRR’s custom of wearing roses in their berets after they picked dog-roses from the edges of the battlefield to celebrate their victory. The regiment travelled widely. They went to America and were present when the British surrendered at Yorktown in 1781; they also fought in India in 1857 during the Indian Mutiny. Eventually, in 1881, they were amalgamated with the 67th Regiment of Foot to become The Hampshire Regiment.NEW EXHIBITION ON D-DAY BY THE LEPE HERITAGE GROUP
NEW EXHIBITION ON D-DAY BY THE LEPE HERITAGE GROUP
Our friends at the Lepe Heritage Group have been working hard to put together an amazing exhibition on the role of Lepe and the New Forest in the run up to D-Day. The exhibition will be at the Hampshire Records Office, on Sussex Street, Winchester, from 1st March to 14th April 2022 during normal opening hours. Entry is Free.
The DDLHG website contains a wealth of detailed information that can be viewed via the link https://www.ddaylepe.org.uk
Anyone intending to visit the exhibition is recommended to take a prior exploratory look at the website, including the embedded links. The exhibition will feature a detailed documented and focussed look, supported by models and artefacts, at the contributions made by Lepe and those of the surrounding areas of the New Forest. These collectively became bases for the marshalling and embarkation points of thousands of troops and equipment all destined to play their part in the largest seaborne invasion in history, ‘Operation Neptune’ being the Code name for the initial phase of ‘Operation Overlord’, the invasion of Normandy, on D-Day 6th June 1944. Lepe Beach and Stanswood Bay were the locations for specially constructed hardened beach areas (still visible today) Code name Q and Q2 Hards. Over these Hards troops and highly specialised ‘secret equipments’, including Duplex Drive Tanks, AVRE’s etc. were embarked from their adjacent Marshalling Camp B9, onto LCT’s. Stanswood Bay was the location of the construction and launching of 6# Type B2 concrete caissons (Code named Phoenix), each to be used, along with 200 others, to form the outer breakwaters for the Mulberry Harbours. There will be a particularly exciting presentation of a generally unpublicised and unavailable Combined Operations Study Report of British Force ‘G’. This was produced between the 2nd and 4th October 1944 prior to any published reports being available.
The Christmas Truce of 1914
The Christmas Truce of 1914 in the trenches of the First World War is one of those stores from the war that will remain talked about for many more years. We are fortunate to have in our collection a report of the Truce, written by Private Hutchings of the 1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment. The Regiment’s part of the front line was opposite the 126th Saxon Regiment’s trenches, and both sides participated in the Truce. The report is handwritten with a small cap badge stuck to the top of the page.
The report reads (in his own words and spellings):
The Saxon Cap Badge was given to me with a cigar in exchange for my own in Xmas 1914
at Plougstreet Wood. The German Trenches were roughly 200 yds from ours.
Our Company Officers Name was Capt. Unwin. The Saxon’s were beckoning with their hands
for us to go over to their trench. But we shouted over that we would meet
them half way so Capt Unwin asked for a volunteer. I happened to be standing
by the side of him at the time and it fell my lot to go over and meet
one of the Saxon’s and a nice fellow he was. We shook hands and his first
words to me was Were there any Scotch Territorials out yet as he was
himself a waiter in Glasgow. After that I cannot remember what was passed
between us as their was quite a little crowd of us. But we were the best of
friends for the next seven days. We use to walk about on top of the trench
or in the front of it without any thing happening I remember one day
during the truce they accidentally killed one of our HQ Siggnlars
and they sent over and appologized and the last day of the truce,
one of their fellows brought over a message to say they had orders
to open fire with their auto matic machines but their first shots
would be fired high. Capt Unwin in return gave him a box of
chocolates. And they certainly acted according to message. Then we
were at war again I mentioned Saxon’s as they are to be relieved by
Capt Unwin I believe was killed about the same time as Capt Fiddler
our late RSM 2nd Battle of Ypres I remember him so well. I walked into him after the retire
next I was walking along asleep. Pte B Hutchings B. Coy.Job Vacancies – 2 x Museum Assistants
The Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum Job Description – Museum Assistant
Background. The Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum is a small military museum which tells the story of the Regiment from its founding in 1702 to its amalgamation in 1992 into The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment – partly based in Hampshire.
We wish to appoint 2 part-time Museum Assistants to support our curator. The Museum Assistants will be expected to play a part in all aspects of running the museum – from Front of House to archive research to shop sales. This role offers the opportunity to acquire practical experience across a wide spectrum of curatorial work and potentially take on significant responsibility quickly too.
The job will be based in Serle’s House in Winchester, which was built in 1730 and is Grade II listed. There are narrow passageways and steps in the back offices. If this environment might present difficulties at interview, please let us know in your application in order that we can consider alternative arrangements for meeting with you.
Visitor Engagement Duties.
The Applicant – Skills/qualifications, experience and qualities
The successful applicant will demonstrate the following essential and desirable requirements:
Terms and Conditions
You will be employed by The Royal Hampshire Regiment Trust, initially on a 6-month probationary period. The salary will be based on £19,760 pro rata with the working hours – as follows:
Job 1: Thursday, Friday & alternate Saturdays (20 hrs week 1; 14 hrs week 2)
Job 2: Monday, Tuesday & alternate Saturdays (14 hrs week 1; 20 hrs week 2;).
Time off in lieu for overtime hours will be granted. You will be entitled to the equivalent of 3 weeks paid leave per annum. As the salary is below the Government threshold, this post does not include a pension scheme.
To apply please send your current Curriculum Vitae with the contact details of 2 Referees and a covering letter by Friday 31st December 2021 to: Susannah Jarvis, Curator, The Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum, Serle’s House, Southgate Street, Winchester SO23 9EG, email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Please specify whether you are applying for Job 1 or 2.
For further information contact: email@example.com.
Interviews: In late January 2022
Appointment: early March 2022Armistice Day
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.