Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s campaign for better armour on the Western Front: Part one

Part One, Conan Doyle’s letters to The Times Written by Philip Abbott, Archives and Records Manager at the Royal Armouries. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is best known as the creator of the great detective Sherlock Holmes, although he received his knighthood not for his contribution to English literature, but for defending Britain’s conduct of the Boer War (1899-1902). When the First World War broke out he was one of a number of famous authors who were secretly recruited by the War PropagandaRead more

The arrival of the FH70 at Fort Nelson – another new acquisition!

Written by Phil Magrath, Curator at Fort Nelson, Portsmouth. The Royal Armouries collection of artillery was recently enhanced with the addition of a Field Howitzer of 155mm calibre (FH-70). This system was originally a collaborative project between the UK, USA and Germany, all desirous to change older systems, which, in the case of the UK, was the 5.5-inch Medium Gun (also in the collection). The FH-70 is able to fire NATO standard ammunition including those with extended range base bleedRead more

Somme 100 – Huddersfield Drill Hall Commemoration

On the 1st July 2016 a commemoration was held by the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire at Huddersfield Drill Hall to honour the Yorkshire Regiments that had been engaged in the Somme Offensive 100 years earlier. After the presentation of the colours a traditional Drumhead service was held by Canon David Wilkes (Chaplain to the Yorkshire Regiment) and moving letters from the front were read by current members of the Yorkshire Regiment. The band of the Yorkshire Regiment played theRead more

New acquisition: the Missaglia Breastplate

On 29th June, at the Thomas Del Mar sale, the Royal Armouries purchased a rare breastplate by a famous family of armourers, the Missaglia family. The breastplate is stamped with the armourer’s mark of the Missaglia family: a Lombardic ‘M’ under a split cross on the right shoulder. The Missaglia’s were the foremost armourers of the Middle Ages, working from their famous workshop in Milan. This breastplate was made by Giovanni Angelo Missaglia (recorded 1504-1529), a third generation armourer ofRead more

Yorkshire Regiments on the Somme: 1 July 1916

“… two years in the making and ten minutes in the destroying.” The Battle of the Somme was one of the bloodiest encounters of the First World War. It is chiefly remembered for the 57,470 casualties suffered by the British Army on the first day. The battle, which raged for four and a half months, was fought to relieve pressure on the French forces, who were engaged in the fierce struggle for Verdun, and to reduce by attrition the GermanRead more

Conservation in action: The German 25 cm trench mortar (Minenwerfer ) 1917

In 2004 a former member of the Royal Armouries staff collected this German 25 cm trench mortar from a Farm in Norfolk, where for a number of years it had been exposed to the elements and was in need of some tender loving care. On site at Royal Armouries Fort Nelson in Portsmouth, the trench mortar remained in the Artillery Hall, where it continued to suffer from the adverse conditions until Mick Cooper (Fort Nelson Technician)  began the lengthy conservation process lastRead more