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Portman Lodge Dorset UK
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Welcome to the Military Museum of Devon and Dorset

The Devonshire Regiment, The Dorset Regiment, guest house blandford forum The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment, The Dorset Yeomanry, The Queen's Own Dorset Yeomanry, The Dorset Militia, The Royal Devon Yeomanry and 94 Field Regiment RA are all represented in the Keep Museum which underwent major refurbishment in 1995.

guest house blandford forum Touch screen computers and videos together with creative displays guest house blandford forum tell the stories of courage, humour and sacrifice of the soldiers and their families who have served in the regiments of Devon and Dorset for over 300 years.

The medals, uniforms and weapons all bear silent witness to those of a bygone age and more recent conflicts.

Spectacular views from the battlements of Hardy's Dorset are an added bonus. Wheelchair access to all display floors by lift. Disabled toilet facilities.

The Royal Corps of Signals Museum is located in Blandford Camp in the beautiful Dorset countryside and only a stone's throw from the scenic and interesting Georgian Town of Blandford Forum. It is the national museum of Army communications and the exhibits and displays show the part that communications have played in the many wars and campaigns of the last 150 years. The Museum collection is regarded as being of National importance and the excellent Archives are recognised by the Public Record Office

The Museum was founded in Catterick, in North Yorkshire in the mid 1930s. It was moved to Blandford Camp in 1967. In 1989 an appeal was launched to raise over 1 million to construct a new wing and to totally refurbish the displays. Following a successful appeal, the new wing was constructed in 1995 and the refurbishment was completed in 1997. The Museum in its new form was re-opened on 28th May 1997. There are many interactive displays and fun trails for younger visitors.

The main purposes of the Museum are: To preserve and display the heritage of the Royal Signals. To tell the story of military communications from the Napoleonic Wars onwards. To provide research, educational and recruiting support facilities.

The importance of communications in a military context

"I know of no military operations which were not dependent to one degree or another on communicatons; the more difficult the operations the more crucial the dependence." General Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley.

In warfare fast and accurate communications are essential. A Commander needs to know where his troops are, what they are doing and whether they have sufficient supplies.

Early types of military signalling

The earliest form of signalling was the man running on foot, carrying a message. A famous example of this was Pheidippides who in 490 BC, carried the news of victory at the Battle of Marathon, 26 miles to Athens - then dropped dead! Today foot races of this distance are named after the Battle of Marathon.

Trumpets have been used since ancient times and chains of soldiers were used on hilltops to shout messages to each other. It is claimed that signals could travel 450 miles in 48 hours using this method, but the disadvantage with sound signals is their limited range, competing noise and sounds travel more slowly than light.

The Roman army used coloured smoke and lights in signal towers. The Greeks used fire signals and Signallers in England used beacons to send long distance messages. The approach of the Armada was communicated from Plymouth to London in 1588 using this method.

In 1796 the Admiralty adopted a system that relied on visual contact. It used the Letter Telegraph invented by Lord George Murray. A Shutter Telegraph station existed in Blandford Camp from 1806 to 1825. There is a model of the station in the Museum.

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