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What’s on at the Royal Armouries

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The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds has a host of activities and programmes for 2019. Here are some of the highlights in January and February.

Victoria Crosses: until 28 April

In this season of remembrance three medals, awarded for ‘gallantry in the presence of the enemy’, are on display in the War Gallery. The medals highlight the stories of the Leeds men who received these honours during World War I. They include William Boynton Butler VC, a 22 year-old private in the 17th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales Own), attached to 106 Trench Mortar Battery; Laurence Calvert VC MM, for single-handedly captured two enemy machine guns with just a standard issue SMLE rifle and Pattern 1907 bayonet; and George Sanders VC MC, a Corporal in the 1/7th Battalion (Leeds Rifles), West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales Own), stationed near Thiepval in France. 

The real meaning of Brown Bess: 10 January, 3pm-4pm

The British soldier’s musket has long been nicknamed ‘Brown Bess’, and the term remains a household name. However, there has been a great deal of confusion over the true origin and meaning of this name, resulting in various explanations. This lecture will chart the history and etymology of the term and reveal the true meaning of the name. Jonathan Ferguson, Keeper of Firearms & Artillery, is your speaker and the lecture lasts 45 minutes.

Samurai armour in Tokugawa Japan: 21 February, 3pm-4pm

After centuries of tumultuous civil wars, the Tokugawa shogunate established dominion across Japan in the early 1600s. The new regime unified the country and entrenched rigidly controlled peace throughout the land for over 250 years. For members of the warrior class, the likelihood of becoming embroiled in warfare was dramatically diminished. Yet rather than dropping out of use, armour continued to be produced on an increasingly elaborate scale. This talk considers why armour was still in demand in such a becalmed environment, and remained synonymous with the identity of the samurai. Natasha Bennett, Curator of Oriental Collections, presents the lecture, which lasts 45 minutes.

War games: 13 Feb-24 Feb, 10am-5pm

This half term the Royal Armouries will be be fighting some pretty big battles. Join in and have a go at strategic war games old and new. There’ll be hi-tech on-screen games and the more traditional dice and counter games, as well as a packed programme of combat demonstrations and dramatic performances.

Entrance to the Museum and all lectures and events is free.

 

IT'S HERE! A Guide to Collecting German Militaria is the new bookazine from the publisher of The Armourer and is now on sale. This 132 page, perfect bound magazine is your guide to collecting Imperial and Third Reich militaria, from medals and cuff titles, to uniforms, weapons, personal gear and civic awards. We cover rare awards, how to spot fakes and include current prices. It’s already sold out on our website so either head for your local branch of WH Smith, as the main stockist, or buy a digital version.

Don't forget, 100 Years of the RAF, a commemorative bookazine celebrating 100 years since the formation of the RAF, is now on sale. Order your copy by clicking on 100 RAF.

Catch up on militaria news, order a back issue of The Armourer, or pick up the latest issue, in either print or digital format. Like what you see? Why not take out a subscription, save money and have it delivered to your door.

 

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