Stumbling towards victory

Early in the morning of 21 March 1918, General Erich von Ludendorff – thick-set, mustachioed, power-hungry – launched Germany’s last great onslaught of the First World War. In tactics that anticipated the Nazi blitzkrieg of 1940, Ludendorff funneled his most effective troops into spearhead units called storm troops that would penetrate deep into Allied defenses. Follow-up units would mop up any lingering resistance. A few short miles away, British and French troops huddled in their trenches and steeled themselves forRead more

Homage to Napoleon

The month of May marks the 197th anniversary of Napoleon’s death and an opportunity to look at a hidden gem in the Royal Armouries collection. In this blog post, Shannon Kee, placement student at the Royal Armouries Museum, explores the elaborately decorated percussion double-barrelled shotgun, which commemorates the return of Napoleon’s body to France in 1841 and pays homage to his lifetime and legacy. After his final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo Napoleon was exiled to the small island of St. Helena in theRead more

The man and the legend

Lithe and listen, gentlemen, That are of freeborn blood, I shall you tell of a good yeoman, His name was Robin Hood – A Gest of Robyn Hood (c. 1450) Who was Robin Hood? The story of the outlaw, Robin Hood, has been told for centuries, having been continually re-imagined in poems, songs, plays, books, films, and TV shows. He is one of England’s most famous “historical” heroes, eclipsing the fame of many English kings, and Robin is known theRead more

17th century Dutch cuirassier armour

In this monthly blog series, our collections team write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection. In this blog post, Assistant Curator of European Armour Keith Dowen explores the history behind our 17th century cuirassier armour. On Wednesday 23rd of May 1618 two Imperial Lords Regent, along with their secretary, were hurled out of the window of the council chamber of Prague’s castle by incensed members of the dissolved Bohemian Protestant Estates. This event, which became known as the ‘Defenestration of Prague’,Read more

The art of war

Spence – The Art of War focuses on a unique set of watercolours painted by Colonel G.O. Spence, Commander of the 5th Durham Light Infantry, during the First World War. The exhibition is on display at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds until the end of April 2018. Who was Colonel Spence? Colonel Gilbert Ormerod Spence DSO was born in 1879 to Herbert Grant Spence and Elizabeth Dorothea Spence in Stockton-on-Tees. To give a little insight into his family’s history, when researchingRead more

Late Medieval Europe

This weekend (7 & 8 April) the Royal Armouries will be hosting a Wars of the Roses-themed weekend exploring the history of one of late medieval Europe’s most bloody conflicts. The Wars of the Roses were a series of bitter, bloody battles fought in England from 1455 – 1485. This thirty-year period of sporadic warfare and constant political intrigue between the House of Lancaster, the Red Rose, and the House of York, the White Rose, tore the kingdom apart. HereRead more