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Welch Fusiliers Regimental Museum

Siegfried Sassoon's Military Cross on show at the regimental museum
Siegfried Sassoon's Military Cross on show at the regimental museum

Inside the walls of Caernarfon Castle is a museum that commemorates the long history of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. Take a tour in the company of regimental archivist Anne Pedley.

Since amalgamation on St David's Day in 2006, the Regiment is now part of The Royal Welsh, but the history of the Royal Welch Fusiliers goes back to 1689 when Henry, 4th Lord Herbert of Chirbury, was ordered by William IV to form regiments of infantry to send out to Ireland.

Since then, The Royal Welch Fusiliers have taken part in nearly every major conflict from the War of Spanish Succession between 1702 and 1713 to the recent conflicts in Bosnia and Iraq.

In October 2009, The First Battalion The Royal Welsh [The Royal Welch Fusiliers] depart for a six months' tour of Afghanistan.

A trip around the museum takes a visitor through many conflicts over the centuries, from the battles with Napoleon and the Crimean War, where our first Victoria Cross was awarded, to the Boer Wars of 1899-1902 and the two world wars of the last century.

Artists

The Royal Welch Fusiliers became known as The Literary Regiment because of the Great War poets, authors and artists who served with it. They include Siegfried Sassoon, Robert Graves, Hedd Wyn, Frank Richards, Llewelyn Wyn Griffith, Dr JC Dunn and David Jones.

Many people will know the story of Siegfried Sassoon who was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery in the trenches, but later became disillusioned with the war and publicly protested against its continuation by throwing the medal's ribbon in the Mersey.

The authorities believed Sassoon was suffering from shell shock and promptly sent him away to Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh to recuperate.

It was here that the famous meeting between himself and fellow poet Wilfred Owen took place. Owen would not survive the war, dying just one week before the Armistice in 1918.

Sassoon's Military Cross is now on display in the museum.

The Trawsfynydd poet, Ellis Humphrey Evans, better known by his Bardic name, Hedd Wyn, was also a Royal Welch Fusilier during World War I and joined the 15th Battalion in 1917. He died before learning that he had won the chair in the 1917 National Eisteddfod.

Not all soldiers, of course, were poets and thousands of men locally volunteered for service during the First World War.

All medals donated to the museum are displayed in their medals room
All medals donated to the museum are displayed in their medals room

For the volunteers of 1914, the Battle of the Somme would be significant and the 38th [Welsh] Division, that included many local boys from North West Wales, fought bravely at Mametz Wood.

Today, one of the most dramatic monuments on the Western Front commemorates the 38th Division - a Welsh dragon, clutching a strand of barbed wire looking towards Mametz Wood.

But a visit to the museum is not only about war and whilst walking around you can learn about the customs and traditions of the regiment; why soldiers wear a peculiar garment called The Flash on their collars and white hackles on their berets, and the furriest member of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers - The Goat.

Opening Hours March - October, 9am - 5pm daily; November - February, 9.30am - 4pm Monday to Saturday, 11am - 4pm on Sunday.
Location: Caernarfon Castle, LL55 2AY




SEE ALSO
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04 Nov 09 |  Arts & Culture

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