Explore more...

The Soldiers Story

In Soldiers Story you will follow the story of Derby’s and Derbyshire’s soldiers from the days of muskets and swords at the Battle of Waterloo to the present day conflicts of Iraq and Afghanistan.

You will find out:

If life as a soldier has changed since the Battle of Waterloo 1815.
What food rations are like and what soldiers do in their spare time.
What life was like in the trenches of the First World War.
What tanks were like in the Second World War.
What family life is like for a soldier.
Where in the world our local soldiers have travelled.
What modern warfare is like.

This gallery explores these themes, using the collections of three regiments with local connections:

The 9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s)

In 1715, as a result of the Jacobite Rebellion against King George I, Brigadier-General Bowles and Major-General Wynn each raised a regiment of dragoons. Shortly after, Wynn’s Dragoons became the 9th and Bowles’ Dragoons became the 12th.

The regiments were raised to combat the threat to King George I by the Jacobites who supported the exiled rival Stuart royal family. In 1768 the 12th were given the title of ‘Prince of Wales’s’ and were granted the badge of the three ostrich feathers,
and the motto ‘Ich Dien’ (I Serve). In 1816 the two regiments were issued with lances and renamed Lancers. In 1830 the 9th were given the name ‘The 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers’ in honour of Queen Adelaide the wife of King William IV. The two regiments merged in 1960 to become the ‘9th and 12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s)’.

The Sherwood Foresters, The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (WFR),2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment

In 1741 a regiment of infantry was raised which became the 45th (Nottinghamshire) Regiment. The 95th (Derbyshire) Regiment was raised in 1823. These regiments
later formed the Sherwood Foresters Regiment.

In 1739 a war broke out with Spain. Two years later Colonel David Houghton raised a single battalion regiment in Bristol, as part of a national response to the war. Following army reorganisation in 1745, the regiment was numbered the 45th. An additional title of ‘The 1st Nottinghamshire Regiment’ was granted in 1782.

In 1823 the 95th Regiment of Foot was raised in Winchester again in response to possible threat of war from France. It was given the additional title of ‘The Derbyshire Regiment’ in 1825. In 1881 these regiments merged to form the
Sherwood Foresters Regiment.

The Derbyshire Yeomanry

The Derbyshire Regiment of Fencible (volunteers in times of crisis) Cavalry was formed in 1794. Its job was to protect against the threat of invasion from France and help suppress local public disorder, riot and civil disobedience.

It is probable that an improvised volunteer cavalry force was raised to stop the rival Stuart prince ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’ in his attempt to claim the English throne in 1745. As the threat of French invasion disappeared, the regiment was disbanded in 1826. In 1830, as factories began replacing cottage industries, unrest arose again and political riots broke out. By 1834 the regiment was reformed and became known as the Derbyshire Yeomanry. It was split into several Troops stationed around the county. Volunteers signed on in Derby, Ashbourne, Chesterfield and other towns and
were led by some of the major landowners of the county.

The new gallery

The military gallery at Derby Museum was re- furbished 2006-2008 with the aid of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), in partnership with the 9th/12th Lancers, the Derbyshire Yeomanry, Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment and Derby City Council. The new gallery opened as Soldiers Story on the 25 October 2008 by the then Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Sir John Knollys Bather.

New high-specification cases have been installed along with new high-technology fixtures and fittings along with stunning graphics. There are over 200 objects that have never been seen before by the public including, weapons, medals, uniforms, personal equipment, navigation and communication equipment, food and other items.

There are two database units to explore our archive material, films and stories of soldiers as well as a mock-up of a tank turret and a small slice of a First World War trench along with sound-effects for both and a large video wall. Highlights include Victoria Crosses, on display for the first time, and a full-size reconstruction of a First World War era Lancer on horseback with full equipment.

9th/12th Lancers Museum

Derby Museum is the home of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers Museum a separate and accredited museum in its own right and displays the best objects associated with the regiment as an integrated part of Soldiers Story.
The museum traces the history of the 9th Lancers, 12th Lancers and since 1960 the 9th/12th Lancers, through its displays of uniform, medals, weapons and lances, sporting equipment, and personal items alongside that of material associated with the Sherwood Foresters and the Derbyshire Yeomanry. A touch-screen computer in the Gallery provides access to the museum’s archive of men who served in the First World War, 1914-1919 in particular but soldiers from the 1820s to the present day.
The touch-screen is based on the museum’s digitised archive and represents only a small portion of the data that may be available.
The 9th/12th Lancers museum holds over 70 photograph albums and many thousand individual photographs, totalling approximately 20,000 images. It also holds a large archive of documents, journals, diaries, reports, commissions, medal rolls, ship and clothing data and many other types of archive information. Please contact us if you have any enquiry or a research question. Research facilities are available on appointment and discussion with the curator, though fees may apply.
The museum also holds an extensive collection of uniform and other personal equipment, including horse furniture, swords, firearms, and other items. We are always keen to collect further material in the post-war period, particularly items associated with Malaya 1950s and Northern Ireland, 1970s to now.

Regiments covered in Soldiers Story

9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s Own), 9th Queen’s Royal Lancers, 9th (Queen’s) Lancers, 9th Light Dragoons, 9th Dragoons, Wynne’s Dragoons, 12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s), 12th (Prince of Wales’s Royal) Lancers, 12th (Prince of Wales’s) Light Dragoons, 12th Dragoons, Bowle’s Dragoons, Derbyshire Yeomanry, Leicestershire and Derbyshire Yeomanry, The Sherwood Foresters, The Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment (WFR),2nd Battalion, The Mercian Regiment, 45th Regiment of Foot, 95th Regiment of Foot, Derby Militias.


Joseph Wright of Derby defined the 18th Century, the age of enlightenment and the industrial revolution.


Joseph Pickford the architect built this house in 1769-70 as his family home and workplace.

The Soldiers Story

Dedicated to the history of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers, The Sherwood Foresters and the Derbyshire Yeomanry.

Archaeology Gallery

Discover more about The Origins of Derby in our fascinating and unique collection.


Transitional Spaces are the places that we are beginning to use to show our previously stored collections.


Derby Museums have a collection that is wide ranging and varied. We hope that you find something to interest you.


The Mildand Railway Study Centre at the Silk Mill is the UK's largest pre-nationalisation railway archive.

About Us

Derby Museums is a charitable trust responsible for the rich cultural and creative history of Derby. The Trust manages three sites: the City Museum and Art Gallery, Pickford’s House and The Silk Mill, and all art and collections are held and curated by the Trust.

Derby Museums,
Museum and Art Gallery,
The Strand,
Derby, DE1 1BS

01332 641901

Support Us

As a charitable trust, Derby Museums relies on funding and grants from organisations and donations from businesses and the general public. Find out more about how you can support our work through donations or by volunteering…

Find out more…

Visit our online shop


Sign up to our mailing list

Twitter: derbymuseums