I am a Rifleman is a touring exhibition, coming to us from The Rifles Collection in Winchester. The exhibition will tell the extraordinary story of Britain’s largest infantry Regiment; The Rifles.
Opening at on the 17th March, it provides a glimpse into the experiences and achievements of soldiers from the current regiment, The Rifles, an infantry regiment whose success is based on the four core values in their ethos: Innovation, Mutual Respect, Self-Discipline and Forward-Thinking. This exhibition enables visitors to immerse themselves in the stories that bring these four values to life from modern-day Riflemen.
Using individual accounts, images and mementos, I am a Rifleman shows what it means to be a soldier in The Rifles today.
The phrase ‘I am a Rifleman’ is used uniquely by The Rifles, and means that the soldier is a member of this Regiment alone. It is used by all members of the Regiment, from a senior officer to a new recruit, to show their loyalty, pride and comradery to The Rifles. It is a point of pride to say ‘I am a Rifleman’. Twelve individual stories in the exhibition feature Riflemen from all different ranks and backgrounds, ranging from medal recipients to injured soldiers. Highlights of the exhibition include a watch from an incident with a Conspicuous Gallantry Cross recipient, the body armour of a Military Cross recipient and the personal photographs from an injured Rifleman on his road to recovery.
Bodmin Keep is the first venue in the exhibition’s tour and will host I am a Rifleman until the 12th of July. Visitors will be able to trace the lineage of The Rifles Regiment back through the museum’s displays, including collections of The Light Infantry, The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, and objects dating all the way back to the Cornish branch of the regiment’s formation in 1702 as Fox’s Marines.
The exhibition, which comes from The Rifles Collection, the Regimental Museum of The Rifles, based in Winchester, will carry on touring around the UK until December 2019.
The Rifles formed on 1st February 2007, with the merging of The Devonshire and Dorset Light Infantry, The Light Infantry, The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry and The Royal Green Jackets. The regiment consists of 5 regular and 2 reserve battalions.
The heritage of The Rifles dates back to 1685, however its ethos is drawn from the Peninsular War. Then, as today, independence of thought and action were prized amongst the specialist soldiers who were known as Riflemen. This ethos and history is represented in the honours and dress of The Rifles and are known as ‘The Golden Threads’.
The primary founding father of the regiment is Sir John Moore; whose enlightened principles of leadership underpin much of today’s military thinking.
Today the regiment prides itself on its innovative form of soldiering, reputation for leading the way, and encouraging the thinking, fighting man. This links back to the old rifle regiments and thus the name ‘The Rifles’ was chosen to symbolise this unique lineage and style as well as the Regimental motto of ‘Swift and Bold’.
Find out about Cornwall’s Regimental Museum’s link to the Rifles Regiment here.