Treasure trove of county’s soldiers finest moments

The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment Lancashire Infantry Museum has created a celebration of some of the treasures housed at its Fulwood Barracks home in Preston.

By Mike Hill
Thursday, 15th October 2015, 11:18 am
The celebrated painting of the 17 Victoria Cross winners from 1854 to 1943, symbolically posed on the Fulwood Barracks parade square.
The celebrated painting of the 17 Victoria Cross winners from 1854 to 1943, symbolically posed on the Fulwood Barracks parade square.

Staff secured a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a guide to the array of items held in the collection which spans the history of Lancashire’s soldiers.

Curator Jane Davies, her deputy Dominic Butler, and the museum’s trustees approved a selection of the treasures to be featured, from the East Lancashire, South Lancashire and Loyal North Lancashire Regiments through to their eventual successor – the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment.

Collections continue onwards to the present Duke of Lancashire’s Regiment.

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Salamanca Eagle was captured from the French 22nd Infantry Regiment at the Battle of Salamanca

There’s a timeline sequence from 1689 onwards and a celebration of the 17 Victoria Cross winners.

A sequence of heroes includes Major General Charles Willis, who had to borrow £300 to feed and pay his men in 1713; Private John Readitt, who joined the South Lancashires at age 17 from being Manchester United FC’s boot boy and who won the VC two years later in Mesopotamia; and closes with today’s heroes – the highly trained members of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment – ready as ever to live up to their famous motto ‘difficulties be damned.’

Photographs include the museum’s greatest treasure – the Salamanca Eagle captured in 1812, one of only five ever taken by the British from Napoleon’s legions; the WW1 German machine gun seized by VC winner Private William Radcliffe from Liverpool – dubbed The Dockers’ VC – and turned on the enemy with deadly effect; and part of the Berlin Wall.

The unique record of having fought on every inhabited continent is complete with detail of the ‘battle’ of Eureka Stockade in the Australian goldfields in 1854.

French Musket Ball found on the Plains of Abraham, Quebec City by Major Mike Shultz, The Princess of Waless Own Regiment, and Colonel John Bird, Regimental Secretary The Queens Lancashire Regiment on August 18 1994.

“We wanted our guests to be able to have a souvenir of our treasures in an easily handleable form to complement the huge amount of detail that is in our cabinets, available on screen in the museum and on the website,” said publicity officer, Roger Goodwin.

* The Museum is open 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday. Free admission and free parking. Adult visitors will be asked to produce personal identification such as a photo ID driving licence.