Horsepower, the recently refurbished museum of the King’s Royal Hussars, tells the story of an English cavalry regiment from 1715 to the present day. The Museum is situated in Peninsula Barracks in the centre of Winchester and is one of six military museums that form Winchester’s Military Museums, accessible on their website, www.winchestermilitarymuseums.co.uk. As the only cavalry museum in the region, Horsepower tells the story of the mounted soldier, firstly on horses, but for the last 75 years in armoured cars and tanks.
The displays include impressive life-size models, interactive exhibits, a variety of memorabilia such as medals, swords, uniforms and musical instruments, as well as maps and pictures. Soon after starting a visit to the Museum, the painting The Scouts by William Barnes Wollen is seen. This portrays two 10th Hussars during the Peninsula War observing from the cover of trees the approach of a French mounted patrol. Although painted long after the event, the picture captures the spirit of the cavalry soldier on reconnaissance.
The paintings displayed include a wide range of subjects from important generals of former years such as Major General Sir John Douglas, who commanded the 11th Hussars at the Charge of the Light Brigade, to National Cadet Officers such as Sergeant Major Kilvert, who also rode in that charge. The scenery of South Africa during the Boer War is brought to life in The Race for the Kopje by Godfrey Douglas Giles that shows an incident near the Modder River. Giles also painted The Charge at El Teb, Sudan, having been present himself. This painting is displayed above a showcase that contains many objects included in the picture, such as spears, a sword and a shield.
More recent paintings include two pictures of the 10th Hussars Guidon Parade, Auld Lang Syne, 1961 (10th Hussar Guidon Parade) and 10th Royal Hussar Guidon Parade March Past HRH Duke of Gloucester, Colonel-in-Chiefby Joan Wanklyn and the 11th Hussars Guidon Parade in 1965, Presentation of the Guidon to HM Queen Mother, 1965, (11th Hussars), by Terence Tenison Cuneo.
The Museum recently purchased, with the assistance of Resource and the Victoria & Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund ‘The Girls We Left Behind’, the Departure of a Troop of 11th Hussars for India by Thomas Jones Barker. This depicts the touching scene of a mounted troop of 11th Hussars leaving an English village on their departure for India in 1866.
A number of the paintings included are on loan from the regiment, The King’s Royal Hussars, and are sometimes returned for their use. In addition, an important portrait of Field Marshall Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vymy, painted by Philip Alexius de László, is on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. He served in every rank from 1883 to 1919 and was first in action with the 10th Hussars at El Teb in 1884.
Major P. J. C. Beresford (Retired), Honorary Curator
Text source: PCF / Horsepower: The Museum of the King’s Royal Hussars
This description was originally written for a catalogue.