New chair of trustees at the King's Own Museum

The King's Own Royal Regiment Museum tells the remarkable story of Lancaster's regiment '“ The King's Own Royal Regiment.

Thursday, 19th April 2018, 1:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th April 2018, 1:36 pm
Museum curator Peter Donnelly and Robin Ashcroft, chairman of the trustees of the Kings Own Royal Regiment Museum. Picture: King's Own Royal Regiment Museum.

Founded in 1680 and subsequently numbered as the 4th Foot, it was one of the senior infantry regiments of the British Army with a history that stands second to none, seeing service throughout the world; from Tangiers in the 17th Century, through the 18th Century’s Wars of Succession, the Napoleonic Wars, Waterloo, India, The Boer War and on to the First and Second World Wars.

In each its soldiers displayed much gallantry, not least in the trenches of northern France were 100 years ago two of its battalions played a key role in thwarting the final German offensive to usher in the end of the First World War.

The King’s Own Royal Regiment’s Museum is located in the City Museum in Lancaster’s Market Square.

As with any museum, the trustees of the King’s Own Royal Regiment Museum play a key role, not only in the safekeeping of the collection but, also in ensuring that the spirit and story of the regiment is well known.

Having been ably led by Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Warren, as chair of trustees for the past 16 years, the role has now been passed to Robin Ashcroft.

Both served together in the King’s Own successor regiment, The King’s Own Royal Border Regiment and as a junior officer Robin was one of Colonel Warren’s platoon commanders. He saw operational service in Northern Ireland, The South Atlantic and Belize.

Robin said: “The role of chair of trustees of any regimental museum is a key one and does have its challenges.

“Colonel Christopher has done a great job over the past decade and a half.

“It’s worth remembering that this time was set against a backdrop of increasing financial pressure, both within the world of army museums, but also in the wider museum world.

“As ever he brought great focus and diligence to the job and the fact that the King’s Own Museum continues to flourish, reflects great credit upon him.’

Robin, who grew up in the North West and has family connections with Lancaster, brings relevant museum experience of his own to the role of chair having run Britain’s first mountaineering museum and then as director of the award winning Kendal Mountain Film Festival. This is backed by a wider career in marketing, PR and communications for The Financial Times and Citicorp.

Robin said: “One hundred years ago the First World War was coming to a crisis around Givenchy in northern France.

“A vital engagement here saw the posthumous award of the Victoria Cross to Lieutenant Joseph Collin of the King’s Own, when he and almost all of his platoon fell, helping to halt the German’s 1918 Spring Offensive. This really was the beginning of the end for the Kaiser’s armies.

“It was in the aftermath of that most appalling of all wars that Lancaster’s Council invited the regiment’s collection into the City Museum.

“This invite has enabled the story of the King’s Own to be told over many generations and drawing visitors from far afield, while other regimental museums, upon amalgamation of parent regiments, were merged losing the unique identity that we still enjoy.

“This link between city and regiment is very significant, reflecting the heroism of this young officer and his platoon as well the gallantry of all the soldiers of Lancaster’s own regiment.”