Winchester's Military Museums are a group of independent and related regimental museums located in Peninsula Barracks and Lower Barracks in Winchester, Hampshire. The Peninsula Barracks, which were originally known as the Upper Barracks, Winchester, were built in 1904 on the site of King's House, an unfinished palace designed by Sir Christopher Wren for Charles II which was subsequently destroyed by fire in 1894. Some parts of the barracks remain Grade II listed buildings in their own right including the Green Jackets Headquarters and Museum, the Gymnasium, the Main Entrance Gate Piers, the Gates and Flanking Railings and Piers, the Royal Hussars Museum (former Militia Stores), the East Block, the Guardroom, the Chapel and Schoolroom, the Mons Block, the North Block, the Weapons Training Shed and the West Block. The buildings at the Lower Barracks at Winchester date back to 1730 when Serle's House, which had been designed by Thomas Archer, was built for William Seldon. The house was acquired by James Serle, a lawyer, in 1781 and then sold to the War Office in 1796. Most of the other buildings in the Lower Barracks were built during the Crimean War. The Lower Barracks, which incorporated Serle's House, a barrack block and a small parade ground, became the Depot of the Royal Hampshire Regiment on its formation in 1881.
On your arrival at the museum, a member of the museum staff will greet you and direct you to the opening audio-visual display where you can sit and relax. After a brief introduction you can follow the history spanning three centuries of the two original regiments, the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own) and the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own), their successor regiments known as The Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own) which formed in 1969 and the present day regiment which became The King’s Royal Hussars in 1992. You will find colourful uniforms, hear the sounds of battle and listen to regimental band music; you can try on a real military busby and sit on a saddle in the stable where you will experience the smell of horses and leather. Look at displays of medals, weapons, military models, equipment and a fascinating collection of pictures and photographs which bring to life service in India and South Africa.
There are life size horses and a diorama depicting the aftermath of the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava. Experience trench warfare in World War 1, see the actual cupboard where a soldier was hidden from the enemy for over three years, and a genuine World War 2 armoured vehicle. Discover what the regiments did during the Cold War, take a virtual tour of a Challenger tank and listen to the tank crewmen’s stories. Read the story of how Sergeant Henry Engleheart of the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own) rescued a comrade and his horse while under heavy shell and rifle fire from enemy Boers in South Africa in 1900. See his Victoria Cross and all his medals. Also during the Boer War, a Victoria Cross was awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Sir John Milbanke Bt, when he was a Lieutenant serving with the 10th Royal Hussars (Prince of Wales’s Own), for rescuing a comrade under fire although severely wounded himself. In the Crimean War in 1854, Lieutenant Alexander Dunn, serving with the 11th Hussars (Prince Albert’s Own), was awarded the Victoria Cross for saving the lives of two comrades during the Charge of the Light Brigade. The Museum and archives are fully accessible for wheelchair users and have dedicated toilet and parking facilities.
In 1881 The Hampshire Regiment was created by linking two regiments – the 37th (North Hampshire) and the 67th (South Hampshire) Regiments – to form the 1st and 2nd Battalions, The Hampshire Regiment. Thus were formed most of the British Army’s County Infantry Regiments: and given Depots for recruitment and training in their counties. Winchester was an appropriate choice for the Hampshire Regiment Depot. The County of Hampshire and County of Isle of Wight Infantry Volunteer Battalions were also reorganised, and re-designated in 1908, to constitute the new Territorial Force. In 1946, King George VI granted the distinction ‘Royal’. In 1992 the regiment amalgamated with the Queen’s Regiment to form a new regiment: The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment. Amalgamation Day was the 9th September 1992; ‘Salerno Day’; to commemorate three battalions of the Queen’s and four battalions of the Hampshires that landed at Salerno, Italy on that date in 1943. Both the 37th and 67th travelled extensively throughout the world during the 18th and 19th Centuries to earn many battle honours. In particular;Minden (in Westphalia) by the 37th (1759) and the distinction of the Royal Tiger super scribed ‘India’ to the 67th for 21 years (1805-26) in that sub-continent – hence the nickname ‘Tigers’, which is still used today.
As ‘Hampshires’ the new regiment operated worldwide. In the 1914-18 War 36 battalions of the Regiment were raised of which 16 served in operations overseas. The Regiment was present on every battle front except West and East Africa. The years between the wars saw the two regular battalions carrying out ‘imperial policing’ duties throughout the world, the 1st Battalion spending from 1925-38 in India with two tours on the famous North-West Frontier, before moving to Palestine in 1938. The 2nd Battalion, after duty in the Rhineland Germany, North Russia, Ireland and Palestine went to France in 1939 returning via Dunkirk in 1940. The 1st Battalion moved from Palestine to the Western Desert, Malta, Sicily and Italy until brought home in late 1943 for the ‘D’ Day Normandy Landing, 6th June 1944. The 2nd Battalion and three Territorial Battalions (1st/4th, 2nd/4th and 5th) operated in North Africa, Italy and Greece during the war; whilst the 1st, after the D Day landings fought in France and Holland and the 7th Battalion operated from the Normandy beachhead through France, Holland and Germany to Berlin.
After the War many changes took place. The 1st and 2nd Battalions were amalgamated in 1948 to one battalion (1st) and the three Territorial battalions were similarly cut, later (1967) altogether! The 1st battalion served in North Africa (Cyrenaica) and Palestine in 1946 and 1947. The 1st Battalion undertook duties in West Germany until 1953 when it went to Malaya (1954-56) to take part in operations against the Communist Terrorists there. A further tour in West Germany followed Malaya. In 1960 the 1st Battalion was sent to the Caribbean for what many thought would be a ‘holiday’ tour, but which turned out to be anything but! The scattered locations of Jamaica, the Bahamas, British Guiana and British Honduras all gave major trouble at one time or another. Here mention must be made of the excellent National Servicemen who served in the Regiment from 1947 until 1962. These young men of the county proved to be outstanding soldiers in all respects and the Regiment was sad to lose them in 1962. Now, an all regular army by 1962, the regiment saw duty in West Germany, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Falklands and South Georgia, Borneo and, no less than eight operational tours in Northern Ireland returning to the UK to meet the trials of amalgamation, and it’s disappearance as an independent entity in 1992 after some 290 years of loyal service. But, in the minds of many, serving and retired, the Hampshires live on!
The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum in Winchester, England was opened by Queen Elizabeth II, the regiment's former Colonel in Chief, in 1989. It has an outstanding collection of uniforms, weapons, silver, paintings and medals with inter-active and handling exhibits. It is set out over two floors and records the history of The Green Jackets Brigade (1958), The Royal Green Jackets (1966) and its antecedent Regiments - The Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, (43rd & 52nd), The King's Royal Rifle Corps (60th) and The Rifle Brigade (95th) from 1741 to the present day. These regiments had a history of cooperation and comradeship dating back to the actions of the Light Division during the Peninsular War and had come together in 1958 to form The Green Jacket Brigade; the exploits and history of these Regiments are set out in the Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum.
On the first floor the exhibition, entitled 'With the Rifles to Waterloo', opened in 2015 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, is focused on the Napoleonic Wars. Interactive displays and weapon handling exhibits cover the creation in 1800 of the Experimental Corps of Riflemen (later the 95th or Rifle Brigade), and the story of the famous Light Division commanded by Sir John Moore in the Peninsula War. Set against a display of original campaign medals from the period, spelling out ‘WATERLOO’ the centrepiece of the exhibition is a 25 square metre diorama of the Waterloo battlefield on which 30,000 model soldiers and horses, with an accompanying sound and light commentary, depict the fighting on 18 June 1815. Other popular visitor attractions on the first floor include the Early Years Section covering the raising in 1755 of The Royal American Regiment in North America and the Indian Mutiny. The Victoria Cross display 'For Valour' describes the personal histories of each of the regiments’ 59 Victoria Cross winners and the numerous, often little known, campaigns of the latter half of the 19th century in which the various regiments fought. On the ground floor tableaux and models with interactive audio, cover the two World Wars and the ‘withdrawal from Empire’ years. Among them are the Siege of Calais in May 1940, the desert war in north Africa including the famous action at Outpost Snipe in which members of 2nd Battalion The Rifle Brigade won a VC, three Distinguished Conduct Medals, a Distinguished Service Order, a Military Cross and seven Military Medals, as well as the glider borne ‘coup de main’ assault (Operation Deadstick - often referred to as Pegasus Bridge) that secured the crossings over the Caen Canal on the night before the D Day landings operation.
The Recent History Section covers the story of the Regiment from the formation of The Royal Green Jackets in 1966 through to the year 2007; it records life in the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) and on garrison duty in West Berlin during the Cold War years, the Regiment's involvement in Northern Ireland in support of the Civil Power (Operation Banner) and soldiering in other parts of the world. The final displays explain The Royal Green Jackets involvement in the First Gulf War, peace support operations in Bosnia and Kosovo in the Balkans and the occupation of Iraq from 2003 until 2007 when the regiment was amalgamated with others to form The Rifles, a large infantry regiment in the current British Army order of battle. The Museum also has a Medal Room displaying an impressive collection of medals with information on awards and decorations accessed through a touch screen visual display unit. A selection of paintings can be seen in the Kincaid Gallery a multi functional space with built in audio visual facilities for temporary exhibitions, lectures, meetings and corporate entertainment. The establishment of the gallery was supported by a donation from Bernard Cornwell, best known for his novels about Napoleonic Wars rifleman Richard Sharpe; The Museum has a collection of memorabilia used in the Sharpe TV series.
The Gurkha Museum commemorates the service of Gurkha soldiers to the British Crown, a relationship that has endured since 1815. Enter the Museum and learn about Nepal, the land of the Gurkhas. The story of the service of Gurkhas begins in 1814 with the Nepal War between the British East India Company and the warlike Nepalese which lasted until 1816. You will be able to learn about the Nepalese citizens who in 1815 came to serve in the Armies of ‘John Company’ in India – the legacy survives to this day. Understand the awesome horror of the Indian Mutiny and Gurkhas true to their salt fighting at desperate odds to hold India for the Raj. Finally, the 2nd and 3rd Gurkhas break into Delhi, the mutineers citadel. Learn the history of the North West Frontier and the three Afghan Wars the British fought in order to understand the nature of todays conflict in that region. See the heroic defence of the lonely Damdil picquet.
The North East Frontier of India was almost as much trouble to the Raj as the North West Frontier and the Gurkha Regiments such as the 6th and 8th Gurkha Rifles spent much of their time pitted against the warlike Nagas. The bloodbath of the First World War shows the gallant Gurkhas fighting in France, the Suez Canal, Mesopotamia (Iraq), and Gallipoli. During the Second World War follow the campaigns of North Africa, Italy, Greece, Malaya and Burma and see life size models of Gurkhas firing Vickers Machine Guns in the desert, clearing Japanese bunkers in Burma and firing a 3 Mortar at Monte Cassino, Italy. The story of Partition of India is followed by the twelve year Malayan Emergency fought in the jungle by 15,000 Gurkhas and their British and Commonwealth Allies. See the Gurkha bren gun sentry straining his eyes in the jungle to locate the enemy and hear the ciccadias whine as a jungle basha is set up and a signaller sends a radio sitrep during the Indonesian Confrontation. The campaigns fought in the Falklands is followed by more recent actions in Kosovo, Bosnia, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. Following the handback of Hong Kong in 1997, the Brigade of Gurkhas moved to the United Kingdom where it continues to serve with distinction. The Touch Screen gives a moving account of the serving regiments and units of the Brigade of Gurkhas today and how they recruit in Nepal.
The Adjutant General's Corps was formed on 6 April 1992 from the Royal Army Pay Corps, the Corps of Royal Military Police, the Military Provost Staff Corps, the Royal Army Educational Corps, the Army Legal Corps and the Staff Clerks from the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. The Museum of the Adjutant General's Corps is located at Peninsula Barracks in Winchester, Hampshire. It was opened in 2003 and is also the museum of the AGC's predecessor corps and units. It is one of several regimental museums that are part of Winchester's Military Museums.
The Winchester Military Museums are all fully wheelchair accessible. There are disabled access toilet facilities available at both the Peninsula Barracks and at Serle House. Assistance dogs are welcome. There is a Visitor’s Centre on-site, housing The Little Kitchen Café, serving refreshments and providing the perfect rest between each museum visit. Access to the first floor is by stair lift in The Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum
Location : Winchester’s Military Museums, Peninsula Barracks, Romsey Road, Winchester, Hampshire, SO23 8TS
Transport : Winchester (National Rail) then 5 minutes. Bus Routes : 1, 4, 5, 16, 36, 46, 63, 66, E1 and E2 stop very close by.
Opening Times Royal Hampshire: Tuesday to Friday 10:00 to 16:00
Opening Times Royal Hussars: Tuesday to Friday 10:00 to 16:00; Weekends and Bank Holidays 12:00 to 16:00
Opening Times AGC Museum: Tuesday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:00
Opening Times Gurkha Museum: Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:00
Opening Times Green Jackets: Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:00
Tickets Royal Hampshire: Free.
Tickets Royal Hussars: Adults £2.00; Children and Serving Military Free.
Tickets AGC Museum: Free.
Tickets Gurkha Museum: Adults £4.00; Concessions £2.50; Children under 16 Free.
Tickets Green Jackets: Adults £4.00; Seniors £3.70; Students £3.00; Children under 16 and Serving Military Free.
Tel. : 01962 877 826