The Staffordshire Regiment Museum tells the story of the Regiment from its formation in Lichfield in 1705 right up to the present day and beyond. Situated by Whittington Barracks to the South East of Lichfield, the collection boasts around 11,000 items including a range of military vehicles.
The military museum preserves the history of the Regiment (The Prince of Wales’s), its predecessors and its successor, the Mercian Regiment, covering the period from 1705 to the present. The Staffordshire Regiment was a part of the British Army from 1959 to 2007, formed when the twin regiments from North and South Staffordshire were combined.
Following the combination of the two parts of the Staffordshires, the museum celebrating their mutual history was established on its present buildings in 1969. It is currently owned and managed by the Staffordshire Regiment Museum Trust which is a registered charity.
In 1999 the displays were brought up to date, including more “hands-on” exhibits that proved suitable for younger audiences and families. Temporary exhibition space was also developed at the time, allowing the museum to make use of the reserve collection and include detail about some of the Regiment’s notable campaigns, such as at Anzio and Arnhem.
Open from 10am – 4pm, seven days a week, including Bank Holidays, the museum is still closed for the Christmas/New Year period. When the Staffordshire Regiment Museum is holding special events, the opening hours may vary.
One of the major exhibits on permanent display is an outdoor replica of a World War I British Army trench system named in honour of Lance Corporal William Harold Coltman, a stretcher-bearer from the North Staffordshire Regiment who was awarded a Victoria Cross. Constructed in the year 2000, the 100m length of trench is 2m wide and includes dug-outs and other original features as they would have appeared at the time. These are also named after the other Victoria Cross holders from the Regiment in World War I.
The trench at the museum is one of the most striking features and is manned by living history groups during special events. The popular ‘Carols in the Trenches’ event takes place just before Christmas, and the ‘Troops in the Trenches’ event gives visitors some insight into what it was like for Austrian and German troops during the First World War as well as British.
The collection covers an array of uniform, textiles, medals, weapons and memorabilia. There are also some vehicles located outside. The medals of 8 Victoria Cross winners are on display at the museum, which is amazing considering there have only been a total of 13 ever awarded to people from the regiment.
The archives and photographs are of fantastic value to military researchers and casual visitors alike, while the paintings, prints and engravings add colour and detail across the regiment’s broad ranging history.