To commemorate the centenary of World War 1, our team successfully secured funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to create an interactive new exhibition as part of the latter’s ‘World War 1, Then and Now’ programme.
The funding was used to create an exhibition to highlight the 13 and 18 Pounder Funeral Guns in the RA Collection. These guns had been used to carry the bodies of George V, George VI, Edward VII and Queen Mary of Teck, but are also fine examples of pieces used by the Regiment during the Great War. A German Feld Kannon, captured by Major Frederick William Lumsden VC of the Royal Marine Artillery on 3rd April 1917 near Francilly, was also included in the project.
The guns required considerable conservation, which was undertaken by our Collections Volunteer Team under the supervision of Adrian Haynes, RAM Collections Manager. The King’s Troop RHA assisted with the provision of replacement leatherwork for the 18 Pounder. Alongside the guns, the exhibition features updated display cabinets containing WW1 artefacts and original paintings, a trench display and two digital interactive consoles. The consoles provide in-depth information about WW1 and state and ceremonial funerals.
The first touch-screen provides facts and figures about the guns employed and battles fought on the Western Front from 1914-18. Le Cateau, Nery, Mons, Cambrai, the Somme, Arras and Passchendaele are all featured and are illustrated with historic images. Several war diaries have been scanned and transcribed, providing an insight into the daily activities of a number of Royal Field Artillery Brigades in 1916.
The Funerals console delves into the history and traditions of state and ceremonial funerals, and includes information on notable people granted this honour from Admiral Robert Blake in 1657 through to the reburial of Richard III in 2015. These are interspersed with video clips and reference documents.
At the beginning of February the exhibition was viewed by NHLF Head of Engagement Richard Bellamy who met our staff and volunteers and was impressed by their dedication and hard work which has resulted in an impressive new exhibition.