This Day In History

  • 1707 War of the Spanish Succession. After two months of siege, to avoid further pointless bloodshed,  the garrison of the fortress of Lerida (now Lleida) in Spain beats the chamade as the French are about to make their final assault. 600 emaciated survivors of the original garrison of 1800, who had been reduced to living on oatmeal, rice and water, march out under arms and with the full honours of war. They are followed by a similar number of sick and wounded in carts supplied by the victors. Amongst them are several much-reduced companies of Wills' Marines (later 30th Foot, and then 1st East Lancashires), led by the by-then Major General Wills. All are complimented by the enemy commander, the Duc d'Orleans, on their gallant defence
  • 1857 Indian Mutiny. Relief of Lucknow. 82nd Regiment (later 2nd South Lancashires) engage in desperate fighting in the advance to the Martiniere College. The silver-chased "Rajah's Bed Post" staff which is now one of the Museum's most treasured exhibits was captured on this day.
  • 1945 Battleship HMS Nelson reaches Portsmouth carrying 2nd Loyals colours, colour belts and some mess plate. They had been found 2 months earlier in bank vaults in Singapore, where they had remained undiscovered by the Japanese since the capitulation in 1942. They are carried to Preston, where one month later they are ceremonially paraded through the town
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The Lancashire Infantry Museum, Lancashire’s premier military museum, is being upgraded in time for the anniversaries of World War I – thanks to grants from the National Heritage Lottery Fund and the largest-ever award from the Her Majesty the Queen’s Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund.

The museum, which is located in Fulwood Barracks, Preston, is seeing an increasing number of visitors as interest in the centenary anniversaries of World War I grows. The £150,000 programme, which has already begun, will enhance the visitor experience through modernised and greatly improved presentations outlining the history of the famous regiments of central Lancashire which fought both World War I and World War II – the East Lancashire, South Lancashire and Loyal North Lancashire Regiments.

The National Heritage Lottery Fund has confirmed a grant of £95,000, and the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund has given the project its biggest-ever single award of £15,000.

The Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, Lord Charles Shuttleworth, personally presented the Duchy’s cheque during a visit to the Museum. The Duchy Benevolent Fund was created by Her Majesty, who is the Duke of Lancaster, to re-distribute funds accruing to the Duchy through the Bona Vacantia system.

Lord Charles said that the Trustees of the Duchy Fund were so impressed by the work of the Museum in telling the story, and keeping alive the memory, of Lancashire’s Lads that they unanimously waived the Fund’s usual grant maximum.

The project will see the complete redesign and re-fitting of the museum’s principal display area, the Somme Room, using new purpose-designed and built displays to tell the story of the regiments and their post-war successors, the Lancashire, Queen’s Lancashire and today’s Duke of Lancaster Regiments, through the 20th and 21st Centuries.

Together with the recently-completed Waterloo Room, which relates the history of the regiments in the 19th Century, the project ensures that all areas of the museum have been modernised and brought up to date in time for the 100th anniversary of World War I in August.

“Our museum represents all the Lancashire Lads who have served their country in our regiments down the years, including in particular the thousands who did not return from the Great War,” said Lieutenant Colonel (Rtd) John Downham, Chairman of the Museum Trustees. “We need the museum always to be a fitting tribute to their memory; one that can tell their story to today’s generations in the best and most effective way possible.

“Thanks to these two most generous grants, we can now do so.”

Much of the museum’s display furniture dated back to the opening of the old Loyal North Lancashire Regiment Museum in Fulwood Barracks in the 1920’s.  Its replacement by modern cabinets will allow many more of the museum’s treasures to be displayed in more effective and informative ways.

The museum remains open while the refitting is taking place.

It is hoped to formally re-open the fully re-developed Museum in August, on the 100th anniversary of the day in which the Lancashire regiments first went into action in France at the beginning of World War I.


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