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

  Part Three: Private Companies Written by Philip Abbot  Archives and Records Manager for the Royal Armouries in Leeds. At least eighteen designs for armour using steel plate, mail and even textiles were manufactured commercially in Britain during the First Word War, and no less than forty patents for helmets and armour were taken out in Britain between 1914 and 1918. It comes as no surprise therefore to learn that Conan Doyle also received letters from a number of private companiesRead more

The Battle of Jutland: an eyewitness account of the largest sea battle in history

The 31 May/1 June marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland. It was the only major First World War fleet action fought between the British Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet, and the largest sea battle in history. Our Archives and Records Manager, Philip Abbot, uncovers some of the details of this important battle through the journals of Gerald Slade, midshipman on HMS Inflexible. Gerald Slade was born in Hong Kong in 1899, and entered theRead more

Meet the horses: Ocle

Age: 8 Breed: Andalusian Sex: stallion Height: 15.2 Speciality: airs above the ground Ocle is a bold and confidant stallion. With extensive experience in film work and live performance, his courage and intelligence is easily admired! Trained to strike shields, gallop through flames and leap high off the ground in graceful airs above the ground, Ocle is a perfect example of the qualities desired in a war horse. During the Royal Armouries Easter tournament, you will have the chance to see BenRead more

Fernando Buschmann: A Spy in the Tower

Fernando Buschmann was the seventh of 11 spies shot at the Tower between November 1914 and April 1916, and at 25 years old the second youngest. A Brazilian, with German father and Danish mother, he was educated in Europe.  The failure of his French aviation enterprise saw him back in Brazil. From 1912 he returned to Europe working in partnership with Marcelino Bello in a business importing food from Germany and England and exporting Brazilian bananas and potatoes. He metRead more

‘Scotland for Ever!’: the story behind Lady Elizabeth Butler’s iconic painting

Lady Butler was amongst the foremost battle painters of her time. Her earlier works on the Crimean War had already seen her win praise from the public, art critics and royalty. Butler always did her utmost to accurately render the details of her military subjects. Whenever possible she interviewed veterans and sourced genuine period equipment. This proved problematic when portraying the events of Waterloo, some 66 years earlier. It is testimony to her diligence that only four small errors ofRead more

The Diary of Private Holden: Part One, a journey to France

As part of the museums’ ongoing First World War Archives Project, we have been looking into the fascinating diary of Private Wilfred Holden Unlike those who joined the army to become career soldiers, Private Holden was part of the Special Cavalry Reserve. Volunteers or conscripts who enlisted after the start of the war served with the reserve regiments in England, undergoing basic training before being sent overseas to supply drafts to their affiliated regiments. Though it has not been possibleRead more