In a short break from the modelling, it’s time to talk military history. A public holiday offered the chance of a day trip out to a military museum that I hadn’t visited before. The Sherwood Foresters Museum is based in Nottingham Castle and contains artefacts relating to the 45th Nottinghamshire and the 95th Derbyshire regiments; also the Derbyshire and Royal Sherwood Foresters Militias (militia and rifle volunteers); and related local volunteer battalions. I was expecting a modest display but in fact was really impressed by the quality and range of exhibits. There were plenty of uniforms, headgear and weapons on display; perfect for a military history nerd like me!
Above are fascinating examples of Crimean War era headgear. A Quilted Albert Shako (top), Albert “Last” Shako with braiding (middle) and a similar but distinctly taller French style shako (foreground).
Prior to the visit, I was reading a book review recently in my Victorian Military Society journal about the siege of Magdala in the Abyssinian campaign of 1868, so was delighted to coincidentally find some related artefacts to this campaign. There are claims to have such war booty returned to Ethiopia. It’s a contentious subject for sure, but for now it was wonderful to get the opportunity to see these astonishing objects close up.
The Crimean War has long been a favourite subject of Suburban Militarism, so I was pleased to see numerous artefacts relating to that conflict, as well. There was a small mortar from the siege of Sevastopol and also a captured Russian drum whose black and white pattern was later deliberately replicated on the 95th’s own regimental drum. Above – Capt. MacDonald of the 95th’s cross belt. Astonishingly, a Russian musket ball remains lodged in the brass lion’s mouth. Having thus barely survived the battle of the Alma, he later survived 20 bayonet wounds received at the later battle of Inkerman too!
I’m always interested in military artwork and there were some interesting examples such as the watercolour above. In part 2 of the Suburban Militarism day trip, there’s some more artwork to come…