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Research First World War family history

4 September 2014 by Lucy

Image of boy trying on helmet

Our City Soldiers gallery features a range of military headware to try on

Come along to the Museum of Liverpool on Saturday from 10:30am – 4:30pm for a free First World War Family History Event.

There’s loads going on, including a trench erected in the Museum’s atrium, and an Edwardian School Mistress will also be on hand to teach people about the causes of the First World War.

Our Family History Events can help you search for relatives who served in the war, and give insight into people’s experiences on the Front and at home. This year, the event is more poignant due to the Centenary of the First World War and our new exhibition ‘First World War: reflecting on Liverpool’s Home Front’, which is being displayed to mark 100 years since the outbreak of war.

At the Museum of Liverpool, we look after the collections of The King’s Regiment displayed in the ‘City Soldiers’ gallery, which features a research database for visitors to use to find out more about family members who served with the King’s. The Devereux Database currently contains the biographical details of more than 81,500 men who served in the King’s Regiment during the First World War, along with approximately 5,000 images. This year’s Family History Event will be particularly special because the compiler of this database will be attending from the U.S.A.

We are also working with local experts and societies to assist visitors’ research of soldiers from the area, including:

  • Liverpool Medical Institute
  • Liverpool Medical History Society
  • WO1 (RSM) Bob Dixon from 208 Field Hospital
  • Local King’s Regiment experts
  • The Western Front Association
  • Liverpool and South West Lancashire Family History Society
  • The Liverpool First World War Research Committee
  • The Liverpool Pals
  • The King’s Regiment Association
  • John Moores University

There will be a range of family friendly activities on offer throughout the day including handling sessions, poetry performances and arts and crafts for younger visitors. Visitors can also meet the Museum’s own King’s Regiment ‘Tommy Atkins’ and see what his life in a trench was like, or learn about the embroidered postcards he sent home.

 

City Soldiers – The DePeyster Collection

13 June 2012 by Lucy

Introducing Jamie McFadden, who’s been helping us out in the Press Office this week, and researching a very interesting talk that’s coming up tomorrow at the Museum of Liverpool.


The King’s Regiment has been involved in conflicts and battles around the world since the 1700s. Over the years, members of the Regiment have collected ‘Trophies of War’ and the further back in time we go, the more extravagant these trophies become.

National Museums Liverpool has a long-term loan of collections from the King’s Regiment that are currently exhibited in the City Soldiers gallery at the Museum of Liverpool. Some of the items in the collection date back to conflicts hundreds of years ago between British and American forces in an attempt to protect British overseas colonies. Read more…

Maritime Tale – Lusitania Survivor

4 May 2012 by stepheng

Painting of Lusitania

A contemporary postcard of Lusitania

The Lusitania story is one of my favourites because not only does the disaster seem unbelievable to this day but because this was Liverpool’s favourite liner.

At my local church – St James’s in West Derby – you can see a unique glass memorial with an image of Lusitania prominently included to symbolise Liverpool’s suffering in the Great War. Read more…

Captain Noel Chavasse VC & Bar, MC (1884 – 1917)

23 March 2012 by Lucy

Tomorrow, is our First World War Family History Day at the Museum of Liverpool, and you may know that we have been blogging all week about WWI soldiers from the city. Today, we’re featuring Captain Noel Chavasse, who was the only soldier in WWI to receive the honour of the Victoria Cross twice.

Photograph of Captain Noel Chavasse

Captain Noel Chavasse won the Victoria Cross twice

The son of the Bishop of Liverpool, Noel was twice awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) and was the most highly decorated British serviceman in the First World War. Read more…

Captain Frank Watson

22 March 2012 by Lucy

Today, we’re looking at the story of Captain Frank Watson, in the run up to our First World War Family History Day at the Museum of Liverpool on Saturday.

Photograph of Frank Watson

Frank Watson originally signed up to the 17th Pals Battalion in Liverpool.

Lord Derby came up with the idea of bringing together men who worked and socialised in a fighting regiment to appeal to more men to ‘sign up’.

The response to the first adverts was so great, that Lord Derby was able to form two battalions, and by mid-October a second advertisement appealing for recruits meant that there were a total of four ‘Liverpool Pals’ battalions, and two reserve battalions. They were officially known as the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th Service Battalions of the King’s Regiment, Liverpool. Read more…

The Turner Brothers

21 March 2012 by Lucy

This is our second blog post in a series leading up to our World War One Family History Day at the Museum of Liverpool this Saturday, 24 March. Today, we look at the story of the Turner Brothers, William and Fred.

Soldiers from the Liverpool Scottish Battalion

William and Fred Turner signed up as Officers to the Liverpool Scottish Battalion. William can be seen here on the far right.

Lieutenants William and Fred Turner were born in Ullet Road, Liverpool, to parents Jessie and William. Both attended the local Greenbank School, and went on to become successful sportsmen in cricket, rugby and football at Sedbergh School, Yorkshire before following in their father’s footsteps and joining the printing firm Turner & Dunnett, of which their father was Senior Partner.
The boys were among the first to ‘sign up’ and both joined the Liverpool Scottish Battalion as officers. Read more…

David Jones – Victoria Cross Hero

20 March 2012 by Lucy

Image of David Jones, VC

David Jones was awarded the Victoria Cross for his outstanding bravery

In the run up to our First World War Family History Day at the Museum of Liverpool on Saturday, we’ll be sharing a few stories from our collection about soldiers who fought in World War I.

Today’s story is about David Jones, VC.

David Jones, from Smithdown Lane in Edge Hill, enlisted in 1915 and was soon promoted to Sergeant.

Read more…

Liverpool’s Chinese community during the Blitz

4 May 2011 by Lucy

Francesca Aiken, Assistant Exhibition Curator for the Global City Gallery in the new Museum of Liverpool writes:


Seventy years since the May Blitz, the spirit of Pitt Street lives on.

 

Seventy years ago this month, a devastating aerial bombardment struck Liverpool, ending lives, demolishing homes and displacing whole communities. It is in tribute to “the spirit of an unconquered people” that Liverpool’s Anglo-Chinese community were part of the effort to keep calm and carry on, piecing back together not just buildings but homes and livelihoods.

Pitt Street, 1915, shaped by tall converted warehouse buildings and cobbled streets, stretches out under the constant watch of St Michaels Church spire, busy with dozens of Chinese businesses, from boarding houses to grocers and tobacconists. This was the birthplace of Liverpool’s Chinese community, the destination for seamen from all over the world including Spain, the Philippines, Italy, the West Indies and Scandinavia – to name just a few. To the people who lived and grew up there, this was ‘world’s end.’ Pitt Street was the place to go, bustling with shops and cafes all within easy reach of the docks. Kwong Shang Lung was one of the city’s earliest grocers to specialise in Chinese food, trading from 1915 until the bombs fell in 1941. Read more…

Convoy HX 219

8 March 2011 by stepheng

Small model ships

Image courtesy of Liverpool Daily Post and Echo

I would not like to be a pirate – apart from being illegal, the chances of meeting a violent end are too great– but I do like the swashbuckling aspects.

The sight of the Jolly Roger (the pirate skull and crossbones) being raised is pretty exciting – it is a part of pirate lore which has been adapted by submariners. 

A British commander first flew the notorious flag in modern times nearly 100 years ago. Read more…

Cam ships

7 February 2011 by stepheng

old photo of an aircraft carrier from above

Image courtesy of the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo.

My first construction kit was of a galleon with a solid balsa wood hull and colourful cardboard cabins and sails.

All the later ones were plastic. I have fond memories of making a big model of HMS Hood with The Searchers on the radio in the background singing ‘Ain’t Gonna Kiss Ya’. Strange how music can imprint pictures in the brain.

My favourite aircraft construction kit was a Swordfish – I marvelled how this hugely-successful biplane was put together, with a lethal torpedo slung beneath its fuselage.

Among the measures used by Britain to protect beleaguered convoys in the Second World War was a unique type of ship which catapulted fighter aircraft into action. Read more…

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