Keeping the Light Infantry’s Heritage Alive

Northern Ireland - The Light Infantry collection at Cornwall's Regimental Museum

2018 sees the 50th anniversary of the Light Infantry (LI), one of the two Army Regiments represented in the museum’s collection. The Light Infantry was formed on 10 July 1968 from four of the old county regiments: the Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry, the Kings Own Yorkshire Light infantry, the King’s Shropshire Light infantry and the Durham Light Infantry, plus The Light Infantry Volunteers.

The Light Infantry heritage collection housed here in Bodmin contains thousands of objects, photographs and archives, all of which are cared for by our professional staff. We also have a volunteer Light Infantry Archivist, Martyn Horton, who is himself a former Light Infantryman (and regular contributor to this newsletter!). Martyn is busy cataloguing thousands of LI photographs at the moment! (Read Martyn’s Notes from the Archives here)

The LI collection occupies a large part of the second floor of the museum and tells the story of some of the major events, locations and conflicts in the history of the Regiment, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and Northern Ireland. The museum invests significant time and expertise in caring for and enhancing the collection. For example, in 2016/17 we commissioned the restoration of the silk cloak that belonged to the ‘Father of the Light Infantry’ Sir John Moore, and we created a new room dedicated to him. This project cost over £30,000 which we raised from grants and donations.

Sir John Moore Room at Cornwall's Regimental Museum
Sir John Moore Room at Cornwall’s Regimental Museum

This year, to mark the 50th anniversary of the Regiment, we’re working on some further major improvements to the Light Infantry displays in the museum. With grant funding from the Armed Forces Community Covenant we’re running an oral history project which is creating an archive of memories of former Light infantrymen (and some of their family members). These will be incorporated into the museum galleries to bring the story of the Regiment and the museum objects to life. As part of this project, our team will also be attending the annual reunion of the Regiment at Shrewsbury in June to gather more stories. The new Light Infantry display will be opened on the occasion of the Cornwall reunion here at The Keep in September and we hope that it will serve as a fitting tribute from us to the Regiment in this anniversary year.

If you have any Light Infantry objects, photograph or archives that you would like to be added to the collection, or you’d like to find out how you can join the ranks of our LI Donors whose support helps us to preserve and share the heritage of the Regiment, please contact me by email at [email protected], or phone 01208 72810.
Mary Godwin, Museum Director

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