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Bearskins, Bayonets and Bravery - Notes from The Guards Museum
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Bearskins, Bayonets and Bravery - Notes from The Guards Museum

Author: Andrew Wallis, MBE, OL, DL

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Inspiring and amusing stories from the museum dedicated to the five regiments of the Sovereign's Foot Guards. As well as describing the artefacts in this great collection of regimental ephemera, the Director of this brilliant museum gives some insights into the museum, its background, the people who work there and the challenges involved in running an independent museum in these troubled times. Stories which will inspire, astound and amuse.
21 Episodes
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This week the Director looks at the life of one of the more colourful officers in the world of Guards music.  He examines the biography of Lieutenant Colonel Jiggs Jaeger written by Colin Dean.  Jaeger was a larger than life character who spent 19 years leading the band of the Irish Guards.  A highly talented man who gave his life to military music. Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
Continuing with the virtual tour of the museum's galleries, this week the Director looks at three relatively recent campaigns namely, the Falklands and the two Gulf Wars.  Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
Due to a bit of a health issue, the Director has been a bit of a drain on the National Health Service and has been nipping in and out of hospital over the last few weeks (for which he offers his abject apologies).  So this week he offers a few amusing stories which will hopefully bring a smile to your face.  Having recorded this episode several stories hit the cutting room floor as being a tad 'politically incorrect'....which is a great sadness as they were VERY funny!  As they used to say on telly....normal service will be resumed as soon as possible......  Enjoy!  Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
Finishing of the Second World War and moving on to post war operations, this week the Director looks at two very different Guards officers.....both highly competent and both very brave.....but both very different.Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
Concluding the third instalment of the Guards in the Second World War, this week the Director examines the history of The Guards Armoured Division from its inception in 1941 through to its disbandment in 1945 following a remarkable and highly successful series of actions.  Their ability to go from an infantry role, to re-invent themselves as an armoured unit, to fight with outstanding success and then to revert to infantry underlines the determination and flexibility of these iconic soldiers.Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
Continuing the story of the five regiments of Foot Guards in World War 2, this week the Director looks at the move from North Africa into mainland Europe.  He follows the exploits of these remarkable soldiers through the gruelling battle northwards through the entire length of Italy suffering desperate rearguard fighting by the German troops through mountainous country in harsh winter conditions.Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
This week the Director starts the massive subject of the Guards in the Second World War.....tracing the five regiments from the outbreak of the war in September 1939 to the end of the North African Campaign.  The five regiments were embroiled in some of the fiercest fighting of WW2 and, in usual style, performed outstandingly throughout.Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
In this episode, the Director looks at the period between the two world wars and talks about the abdication of King Edward VIII.  He also describes the fantastic model of the Scots Guardsman Locomotive on display in the museum which is a sight to see.  He ends by looking at the career of an outstanding Grenadier officer, Field Marshal The Lord Gort whose selfless bravery was noted on 13 separate occasions earning him a Victoria Cross in the process.Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
'The loudest voice in the British Army!'.....That was the reputation gained by Regimental Sergeant Major 'Tibby' Brittain over a career which spanned nearly 40 years.  This week the Director looks at the life and work of ths remarkable man who influenced the lives of over 40,000 officer cadets at Sandhurst and at Mons.Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
The war to end all wars.....or so they thought at the time.  This week the Director continues the virtual tour of the museum and focuses on the Great War.  Four years of mud, blood and tears in which the Guards saw some of the fiercest fighting ever experienced in war.  Through the exhibits in display, the Director shares something of what it was like to serve in the trenches.Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
With the annual Birthday Parade also known as Trooping the Colour cancelled this year due to the pandemic, this week the Director has arranged an interview with the man who usually co-ordinates this iconic ceremony, Warrant Officer Class 1 (Garrison Sergeant Major Andrew Stokes.  'Big Vern', as he is known gives his unique perspective on the parade....its origins, how it is planned and its relevance today.  He also shares welcome news about a ceremony to be held in Windsor on Saturday 13th June to mark Her Majesty's official birthday. Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
The virtual tour of the collection continues this week with the end of the Victorian age and the advent of the Edwardian era.  We have a war in South Africa and the establishment of the Irish Guards.  The Director covers the death of Queen Victoria and her funeral arrangements and then the creation of the last of the Foot Guard regiments, the Welsh Guards - all told through the exhibits on display in the museum. Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
A new departure this week!  For the first time the Director has a guest on the podcast.  Roddy Gow, OBE is here to talk a little about his father, General Sir Michael Gow who was an eminent and proud Scots Guardsman.  Following the interview, the Director reads excerpts from General Gow's book General Reflections...A Military Man at Large a series of amusing tales from his 44 years in uniform.Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
Continuing the virtual tour of the museum galleries, this week the Director shares stories about the Crimean campaign and the Sudan campaign.  These two expeditions were extraordinarily tough for the Guards soldiering as they were in the freezing temperatures of Russia and in the blistering heat of Africa.  We look at how and why Britain was involved and what the Guards achieved - the museum has some very interesting artefacts that help tell these powerful stories of heroism in the toughest of surroundings. Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
This week the Director shares readings from the autobiography of a former Guards officer who was perhaps atypical of those who usually were commissioned into the Foot Guards.Derek Bond was a reasonably successful actor but he volunteered at the outbreak of World War 2 and was commissioned into the Grenadier Guards.  He describes his training and life serving in North Africa.  During his service he won a Military Cross and was badly wounded such that he had to be evacuated back ti the UK for reconstructive surgery.  Although perhaps not as politically correct as he might have been, his tales are as amusing as they are impressive. Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
Waterloo!  Probably the most transformational battle in annals of the Guards.  This week we look at the Peninsula campaign and the long-running battle between Wellington and Napoleon Bonapart for European supremacy.  We find some familiar names coming up again and we learn about some brave deeds.  And we also get to hear some of the quotes from the Iron Duke himself. Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
This week the Director focuses on the life of a General who served for nearly 50 years, who met Wellington and was present at that great man's funeral.  General Sir George Higginson commended in The Crimea, witnessed the Charge of the Light Brigade and amassed a wealth of experience in how to command men.  Written whilst he was in his 90's the autobiography is full of first-hand accounts of pivotal moments in the history of the Guards.  Considering the title of this podcast, his story covers all three essential elements!Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
This week the Director looks at the next stage in the virtual tour of the museum galleries and describes the elevation of John Churchill of The First Guards to become the first Duke of Marlborough and a favourite of Queen Anne.  We hear about Marlborough's many battles and about some of the other Guards officers who fought with him.  The episode starts with the Director recounting a story about when Boris Johnson came to dinner in the museum!Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
This is the first episode in a new podcast recorded by Andrew Wallis, MBE, DL who is the Director of The Guards Museum.  The forced closure of the museum due to the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as the catalyst to create this podcast as an outreach to those who wish to know more about The Guards but are unable to visit us.This episode gives the background to the creation of the museum, its location, some information on our great little team and an insight into what we are trying to achieve in our mission to tell the story of the five regiments of Her Majesty's Foot Guards over the last 370 years.Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
In this episode, the Director describes the location of the museum and its adjacency to both The Guards Chapel and to the Flanders Fields Memorial Garden.  He then takes you into the museum and describes the first few galleries pausing to examine key exhibits and to relate the fascinating stories behind each of these tiny 'windows' onto the history of the Guards regiments.Support the show (http://www.justgiving.com/campaign/guardsmuseumsupport)
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