On Monday, 17th May at 10am a bugler will sound Reveille on the roof of the Keep to mark the Museum’s reopening. Afterwards a piper – Lieutenant-General Sir Andrew Graham, late of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders – will play.
The Keep’s first visitor since lockdown will be the distinguished military historian James Holland (founder of the Chalke Valley History Festival), who will formally declare the Museum open.
Among limited number of guests will be a lady from Weymouth, whose grandfather’s bugle is proudly displayed in the Museum. At 0730 on 1st July 1916 Bugler William Starns of the 1st Dorsets sounded the advance at the very beginning of the Somme Offensive. During the advance, William’s bugle deflected a bullet that would otherwise have killed him. The bullet ricocheted into his arm and he was evacuated to hospital, where two days later he celebrated his 20th birthday. Happily he survived the war and returned to Weymouth.
William’s bugle is one of the 50 objects depicted in our new book, The Keep in 50 Objects, which we are also launching today. James Holland will present a copy to William Starns’ granddaughter in memory of William, her brave grandfather.
Elliot Metcalfe, Director of the Keep, says: “We hope our reopening will send two clear messages. The first is that we’re back in business with some fascinating new displays. The second is to thank the many local people who gave so generously to our Appeal, which has made it possible for us to bounce back out of lockdown with new stories to tell.”
Social distancing will inevitably limit the number of guests at this event and we hope very much, that media reporting will compensate for that by giving the Museum’s reopening and message of thanks wide coverage.