The Cheshire Military Museum
Begin your journey though four centuries of the military in Cheshire at the Cheshire Military Museum.
In our first room, we will introduce you to the museum by explaining about army terminology and badges of rank. We look at the history of the army in Chester which goes back to Roman times when the city was known as Deva. In more recent times this castle was the training depot of the Cheshire Regiment from 1881 to 1942. A short history of the castle is displayed.
Never forget though, the museum represents a still vibrant and active army in the life of the nation.
17th & 18th Centuries
Our story starts in the late 17th Century with the raising of the Regular Army at Charles II’s Restoration in 1660. We then move on to the 18th Century we look at discipline.
You Can See:
- Uniforms from Charles II’s Restoration in 1660.
- 18th Century discipline
- Artefacts from the Seven Years War in America (1756 – 63) including a bronze medal issued for the capture of Louisburg.
- Tableau of Sergeant John Shipp leading the Forlorn Hope at the Siege of Bhurtpore
- A fine 1793 Volunteer drill book.
19th & 20th Centuries
See how uniforms evolved during this period from bright reds and blues to the Khaki worn in the Boer War. Muskets also developed into rifles and swords largely became ceremonial.
It was at this point in history that, following a reorganisation of the Army, Chester Castle became the Depot of the Cheshire Regiment in 1881.
You Can See:
- The alabaster chair of the Amir of Scinde
- A display of keepsakes and official gifts to the Regiment by the ladies of the County.
WW1 and Remembrance
One of our main exhibits is a typical trench of The Western Front. The display cases contain personal items and captured weapons from the ‘Great War for Civilisation’.
You Can See:
- A replica 8ft trench
- Us the periscope to see ‘no mans land’
- Take a peep at an officer having a camp bath.
- A Maxim gun mounted on its carriage
- An area dedicated to remembrance.
World War 2
This area looks at the Cheshire Yeomanry who went to war in the Middle East with their horses and the Cavalry Division became involved in the take over of Vichy French possessions in Syria and the Lebanon.
In 1938, four Regiments of the Army, among them all six Battalions of The Cheshire Regiment, were trained as Machine Gun specialists. One of the Machine Gun Training Centres was here at The Castle.
You Can See:
- A display of rifles and signals equipment
- A Vickers .303in Medium Machine Gun!
- Story Boards of individuals
- The ‘home front’
- Unique to this Museum is one of the pens used at the Japanese surrender on the USS Missouri in 1945.
Post War 20th / 21st Century Conflicts
In the post war period, we look at conflicts on Palestine, Korea, Cyprus, Malaya Suez, Kenya, N Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan all of which involved the Soldiers of Cheshire.
The Malayan jungle in the late 1950’s was a harsh environment for the young conscripts and we have a tableau depicting a young corporal brewing up a cup of tea by his ‘basha’ having been resupplied by Auster aircraft. The scene is complete with bugs and creatures of the jungle!
For 40 years the troubles in Northern Ireland kept the 1st Battalion the 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment busy with many tours of duty. There are examples of a riot shield and baton from 1969 and more modern protective armour from the late 1990’s.
Operational tours for the Cheshire Regiment continued in the 21st century, in Northern Ireland and then to Iraq in 2004 and 2007. Now the focus is on Afghanistan where The 1st Battalion, The Mercian Regiment (Cheshire) has recently served with distinction.
Your Modern Armed Forces
HMS Albion is a landing platform dock and an important component of the modern surface fleet. Albion is affiliated to both the City of Chester and the Mercian Regiment. Launched on 9th March 2001 she served as the Royal Navy flagship from 2010 –11.
The ship is due to begin operational service once more in 2018 after a major refit.
The Mercian Regiment
The Mercian Regiment is your local infantry regiment. Formed on 1st September 2007 from The Cheshire Regiment, Staffordshire Regiment and Worcester & Sherwood Foresters. The Regiment recruits from the five counties which made up the ancient Kingdom of Mercia. The Regimental mascot is a Swaledale ram, Private Derby. He has his own Regimental number and draws his rations just like any other soldier.
Queen’s Own Yeomanry
One of the Army Reserves light armoured reconnaissance regiments, with Squadrons here in Chester and at Newcastle, York and Wigan. They operate from RWMIK (Revised Weapons Mounted Installation Kit) Land Rovers.
Royal Air Force
Cheshire has had a long association with the RAF since its formation in 1918. In the Second World War there were a number of active airfields nearby. 610 (County of Chester) squadron formed in Hooton Park in 1936 and disbanded in 1957. Today our nearest active base is RAF Woodvale, a training station
We could not run the museum without the valuable contribution of our enthusiastic volunteers.
They assist front of house, welcoming visitors and describing the Museum, with the Regimental Archives and with research. Some conservation work is carried out by volunteers with the necessary skills guided by our team here.
We offer schools sessions led by members of Museum staff for Key Stages 1 – 4.
Tailored sessions are also available on request and involve hands-on experiences exploring the exhibits and discussions and demonstrations which can be specially adapted.
Visits are bookable in advance.Read More…
The Cheshire Military Museum has a small team who can carry out historical research for you in our archives on topics relating to the Cheshire Regiment and The Cheshire Yeomanry.
The Regimental Archives hold details of personalities and events and for a small donation we can find out more.
Our staff are an important part of the life of the museum and assist in all kinds of work from new collections to restoring old treasures and from school visits to royal visits.
Museum Officer: Mrs Caroline Chamberlain MA BA(Hons)Read More…
The museum is governed by a Board of Trustees who are responsible for the museum in the medium and long term. They meet regularly and together hold all the skills needed for a successful, well run museum.
Chairman: Colonel M Forgrave OBE QGM,