The Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham is to play host to a touring exhibition highlighting the 100th anniversary of Hundred Days Offensive – a series of battles that raged across the entire Western Front exactly a century ago and which finally brought the First World War to an end. The exhibition will be at the Museum between 12 September and 2 October and entry is included in standard admission prices.
The displays focus on some of the lesser known aspects of the campaign, in particular the vital roles played by the Royal Engineers, Military Intelligence, the Physical Training Corps, the Royal Signals and army medics in first preparing the British Army for success in 1918 and then participating on the battlefields in the final, decisive phase of the War.
The exhibition is supported by the National Lottery’s Heritage Lottery Fund and is a collaborative project drawing on research and photographs from 5 military museums across the South of England.
The touring display coincides with the Museum’s main 2018 exhibition, VC: For Valour, which tells the poignant stories of outstanding bravery of ten of the Royal Engineers that were awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War. The original VCs of the ten are on display alongside artefacts from the period that illustrate the impact on the individuals and their families.
Royal Engineers Museum Director, Rebecca Nash said “The Hundred Days Campaign was a huge push involving regiments from right across the British Army and their Allies and we are very pleased to be able to contribute to this project and to host the exhibition precisely a century on from some of the key battles in the offensive.
“Visitors can view this alongside our own VC exhibition, which includes several citations for individual actions during the Hundred Days, and see how the national objectives embodied in the Offensive had a dramatic, and often devastating, impact at a human level,” she added.
The exhibitions are just two aspects of the Museum’s autumn programme of activities centred on the First World War and Armistice: a series of lectures looks at aspects of the conflict, including gas warfare and the Entente alliance; while the play, “Thirty-odd Feet Below Belgium,” is a true-life romance based on letters between a Royal Engineer sent to tunnel near Ypres and his sweetheart back home. For full details of these and other events, visit the Museum’s website www.re-museum.co.uk.
The Museum’s permanent galleries tell the story of the Royal Engineers and how they have helped the British Army live, move and fight for over 300 years. It is Kent’s largest military museum with highlights including 25 Victoria Crosses, Wellington’s map of Waterloo, a huge section of the Berlin wall, Zulu War weapons, amazing bridge-laying tanks, a Harrier Jump Jet and an enormous V2 Rocket. With interactive exhibits, indoor and outdoor play areas, and a newly-refurbished café and gift shop, there’s plenty for all the family whatever the weather.
The Museum is open from 10am-5pm (last admission 4pm) Tuesdays to Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays – full details can be found at www.re-museum.co.uk.