For October’s Object of the Month, our Assistant Curator, Steve Erskine has chosen our entire archive! It’s a source of information that brings continual delight to his working day …
“Always a greedy boy, I couldn’t pick just one thing when it comes to selecting my favourite object in the collection, so I chose the whole archive!
There are many joys to doing this job and near the top of the list is seeing the reaction of people as we use the archive to tell them about their family history and its association with the regiment.
I am currently researching the stories of a number of Jewish men who served with the regiment during The First World War; men like Private Alfred Ferner who served with the 6th Battalion and won a Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM).
Sometimes it’s the little details that grab you. When Ferner enlisted in August 1913 the recruiting officer noted he had a ‘…mole on the left side of his navel and a tattoo reading ‘I love Tilly Smith’ on his left forearm.’
Then there’s Private Myer Rogozinski who served under the name Marcus Rosen and enlisted with his childhood friend Charles Bowles, both from the same street in London; both destined to fall in France.
And sometimes it’s families, like John and Pauline Mullett who come and tell us about their relative’s service, in this case Private John Parker who served with the 19th Regiment from 1851 – 1857. He was wounded at the Alma and Sevastopol, spent time in hospital at Scutari (during which time his pay was docked) before eventually buying himself out. We were able to surprise John and Pauline by showing them John Parker’s medals in the museum collection.
And then, of course there’s the Godwin suitcase which came to the museum last year. It truly is ‘the gift that keeps on giving’. To sit and read a first-hand, eye-witness account of the landings at Suvla Bay in 1915 really does send shivers up the spine.”