The Museum

Our Collection

The museum has a large collection of over 12,000 items, most of which are on display.  The collection tells many stories of battle and of the lives and bravery of individual soldiers.  There are numerous works of art which illustrate the battle stories, over 80 uniforms from Napoleonic times to the modern day, hundreds of medals awarded for the brave deeds carried out in wartime through the ages and numerous works of art, sculpture and decorative art.

 

DCLI Water polo team in 1913
Unveiling of the Merrifield's War memorial 1924
A painting showing the Battle of Waterloo

Starting with the raising of the regiment in 1702, the collection leads you through time, from the American War of Independence in 1775, Waterloo in 1815, the Indian Mutiny and the defence of Lucknow in 1857, the Great War 1914-1918, the Second World War 1939 up to 1945, and then through 20th century battles fought by the Light Infantry in Ireland and the Middle East.

Our collection is based almost entirely on the donations of veterans and their families.  Each donated item helps us to build a more complete collection to tell the story of the regiments for future generations, and enable us to mount special exhibitions to share these stories.   If you or your family have items that you would like to donate to this museum, email [email protected] or contact the museum on 01208 72810  for more information.

Uniforms

A uniform displaying the epaulette's and breast plate
A German picklehaubes helmet
A Photograph featuring badges on the arm a military jacket

The museum’s superb uniform collection takes you through history from the late 18th century right up to the present day. There are uniforms of the volunteer regiments, the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, the Home Guard and the Light Infantry. See the dashing red uniforms and distinctive hats of the 18th and 19th centuries, later Khaki uniforms introduced in the 1890s, rare World War 1 kit and modern camouflage and United Nations uniforms.

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Medals

Cap badge
Orders of striped tiger Medal
Medals awarded to Colonel R W Wetherell CMG

The huge collection of medals and badges held by the museum covers the 19th and 20th centuries. They mark the service and bravery of hundreds of soldiers and tell the stories of many men of all ranks. They include Victoria Crosses, exotic medals such as the Order of the Striped Tiger and many are beautiful objects in their own right.

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Music & The Arts

The regimental Silver
Commanding officers bugle at Cornwall's Regimental Museum
Oil painting of young soldier in WW1 uniform
A painting of an officer from the 46th regiment

The Light Infantry has a very strong musical tradition. Drums and bugles were vital pieces of equipment used to relay orders and provide communication both in barracks and in the field. In the museum you will find many instruments, along with wonderful bandsmen’s uniforms and equipment. The museum displays include many impressive drums and bugles some of which are battle-scarred with bullet holes. The collection also includes many fine drawings, paintings and sculptures.

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Weaponry

Close up of a Gun's firing mechanism
Creative view of a weapon
Creative shot of a Sword
Percussion Musket

The museum has a huge armoury containing one of the best weapon displays in the country. The weapons date from the 1780s to the 1970s and include swords, rifles and hand guns from Britain, Germany, Italy, the USA and Australia. Important guns on display include the Lewis Gun, which was the weapon used by Harry Patch during his time with the Regiment in World War 1 and the Vickers Machine Gun, first issued in 1912 and in use until 1962.

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Our collections

HIGHLIGHTS

The Sir John Moore Room at Cornwall's Regimental Museum

Sir John Moore, Founder of the Light Infantry

The museum has a room dedicated to Sir John Moore, a hugely important figure in the development of the British Army and the history of the Light Infantry.  He is best-known for his important military training reforms which led to a new kind of soldier, and for his dramatic death in 1809 at the Battle of Corunna in Spain whilst fighting the French.

The museum’s display focuses on his ceremonial Order of the Bath silk mantle and includes a unique selection of his personal possessions.

The Lucknow Counterpane - The blue and red panels were taken from the uniforms of dead soldiers.

Lucknow Quilt

Produced by women in the British Residency at the siege of Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny in 1857.  The red blue and white pieces were cut from the uniforms of dead soldiers and the green centrepiece (now faded) was made from the baize of the residency’s billiard table.

Harry Patch

Harry Patch, The Last Fighting Tommy

Harry Patch was known as the ‘Last Fighting Tommy’. Living to the age of 111, he was the last remaining survivor of World War 1 in the United Kingdom. During the First World War he was a Lewis gunner in the 7th Battalion in the Duke of Cornwall’s Infantry. Until his death, at the age of 111 in 2009, he frequently visited the museum.

Victoria Cross Medals

Victoria Crosses

Only the bravest deeds in wartime are rewarded with a Victoria Cross. One of the ‘VC heroes’ was bandsman Thomas Edward Rendle of 1st Battalion of the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. Risking his own life during heavy shell and rifle fire in the Great War, Rendle rescued men from the trenches in which they had been buried by enemy attacks. Seven other VC heroes received the same medal during their service in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. Their Victoria Crosses are also showcased in the museum.

A piece of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall

This piece of the Berlin wall is one of the largest pieces in the United Kingdom.  It used to be part of the 110km wall around West Berlin.  It speaks volumes about how Germany and Berlin were divided during the Cold War, with colourful modern graffiti on one side and the East German side completely blank.