Thursday 17 April 2014

The Keep Military Museum

Continuing with a selection of pictures from the various military museums I visited while on holiday in Dorset, next up is The Keep in Dorchester. I've been to this museum before, several years ago, and its a real gem. I love Dorchester and its a popular tourist destination because it has four other museums that bring visitors to the town but for me The Keep is the best of the lot. It was originally the gatehouse for the Depot Barracks of the Dorsetshire Regiment and has now been converted into the regimental museum of 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.

Inside it has some amazing exhibits all of which are very well illustrated and identified. There is a lot of information for visitors and because the the regiments long history there is material here from a long list of conflicts around the world over several centuries. This is definitely one of the best Regimental Museums I have ever been too and if you are in the area it is well worth a visit.

A Selection of mannequins representing troops through the ages. 

The Keep Military Museum in Dorchester
25pdr Field Gun
Officer of the Dorset Yeomanry
The Marabout Gun
11th Regiment of Foot Grenadier 18thC
More uniforms - Unfortunately my picture of the identifying label was too blurred to read so I don't know anything about them. 
VC of LCpl Onions - for capture of 200 enemy on 22nd Aug 1918 at Achiet-le-Petit
A surprise exhibit, Hitlers desk from the Reich Chancellery! Taken by the Russians, given to the regiment as a trophy of war and then donated to the regimental museum as one if its more unusual exhibits!
A selection of WWII German kit including a man-packed 2 inch Mortar
The glass case made this a challenge to photograph but there was a nice display of equipment from the 12th Airborne Battalion. 
A selection of medals, models and other items from the regiments deployment to Iraq for the first Gulf War.
The Museum has probably the biggest collection of medals I have ever seen in one place, including several VC's
There are also many reproduced cartoons on display including this rather grim assessment of Hitlers armies 
Many Toy Soldiers (such as these by Britons) are used in the display cabinets
The displays were well laid out with excellent information on every exhibit on 'paddle boards' hanging from every case. Although photography is allowed (even with a Flash) the glass cases and low lighting make it a challenge to get good pictures. 
The ceremonial Drums of the Devonshire and Dorsetshire Regiment
A leather and chain mail face mask to protect early tank crews from splinters or "metal splash" caused by non penetrating impacts on the outside of the vehicles. 
This cartoon perfectly captures the image of the 'old soldier'

Dorchester is also within sight of the massive Maiden Castle, one of Europe's largest Hill Fort's. Unfortunately the weather was grotty the day we were in Dorchester and low cloud obscured most of the site when we went to have a look. I would have suggested walking up and across the site but it was cold wet and miserable and there was no way I was going to get my family out of the nice warm car at this point!


  1. I always enjoy your posts about "local" museums.

  2. It's a nice place but not as worth a visit as Boivington

    1. I visited 'Bovi' as well, in fact I'm posting those pictures tomorrow!

  3. Great pics, thanks for sharing Lee. The desk was a surprise.

  4. Great post, Lee. That looks to be a brilliant museum!

  5. great pictures etc I look forward to your Bovington pics

  6. Wow. 9 years ago I stayed in Dorchester in order to visit Maiden Castle in the brief space of 4 days that I had in the UK. I had no idea about the Keep or Bovington. I wish I knew then what I know now... as it is, it will be a few years before I get back to the Europe again. Thanks for the tours in the meantime, Lee!

  7. Great post. Lots of military history there by the looks.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always try to reply as soon as I can, so why not pop back later and continue the conversation. In the meantime, check out my YouTube channel Miniature Adventures TV