The Mayor and Mayoress of Derby will welcome the prestigious Jacob Rivers Victoria Cross Group Medals back to the City of Derby later this week to mark the opening of a new exhibition about the First World War at Derby Museum and Art Gallery.

The exhibition, Derby from War to Peace, has been created by Derby Museums and the 9th/12th Royal Lancers Museum. Using stories, objects and images from both collections, as well as from the Museum of The Mercian Regiment, the exhibition looks at Derby’s involvement in the closing months of the First World War and how the city was affected in the immediate years after the Armistice on 11 November 1918.

On Friday 19th October, a day ahead of the exhibition’s opening, the Mayor and Mayoress of Derby, Cllr. Mike Carr and Mrs Cilla Carr, will visit Derby Museum and Art Gallery to receive the prestigious Jacob Rivers Victoria Cross Group Medals for the City of Derby, on loan from the Museum of the Mercian Regiment.

The medals, which were awarded posthumously to Derby soldier Private Jacob Rivers of the Sherwood Foresters, were presented to the Regiment in 1937 at the Normanton Barracks in Derby. Soldiers from the Mercian Regiment, the successor to the Sherwood Foresters, will present the medals as a loan to the Derby from War to Peace exhibition.

Private Rivers was awarded the Victoria Cross after his death for his heroic deeds at the Battle of Neuve-Chapelle in France, 1915; the highest award for gallantry whilst in combat. He is said to have reached enemy lines and hurled bombs towards them, causing a retreat that probably saved his battalion who were flanked by the enemy. Private Rivers performed a second similar act of bravery later the same day, causing the enemy to withdraw further, but tragically on this occasion he was killed.

Angela Tarnowski, Curator of the 9th/12th Royal Lancers Museum at Derby Museum and Art Gallery said:

“We are very proud to be able to bring the Jacob Rivers Victoria Cross Group Medals back to Derby for this exhibition, and to be able to tell the story of this remarkable soldier alongside those of others from the city who contributed so much to the War effort both at the Front and at home.”

The exhibition examines the legacy of the First World War in Derby, looking at how attitudes changed towards women, employment, housing and medical care; how Derby industries adapted to the economics of post-War Britain; and how the city commemorated her War dead and supported returning servicemen and women.

Derby from War to Peace takes place at Derby Museum and Art Gallery from Saturday 20th October to Sunday 20th January and is free of charge.


You may also be interested in:

TALK: The Sherwood Foresters during World War I
Tuesday 20 November, 2-2.30pm
Museum & Art Gallery

The Unreturning Army
Saturday 24 November, 2-4pm
Museum & Art Gallery