Object of the month – highlighting items on display in the museum
During the late 18th and early 19th century British infantrymen wore the regulation ‘stovepipe’ shako, made of strong felt and leather. Fixed to the front of this headdress was an embossed shako plate, bearing either the regimental insignia or the universal pattern of royal cypher and crown.
This shako plate is identified as a rare (possibly the only) surviving example of the type worn by the drum major of the 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment of Foot.
Sunday 3rd June 2012 – Marching, musket drill and cooking at Battery Gardens…
An interesting exhibit at Brixham Heritage Museum is a mascot named ‘Radar Rat’. This Rat is attired as a Corporal in the WRAF (we thought!) and was carried in the cockpit of a bomber during 30 sorties to Germany in the Second World War.
However, following some publicity in the Herald Express, a gentleman was prompted to do some research, thinking that the women in the Royal Air Force were WAAFS (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) throughout World War II, so that Radar Rat would have been attired as a WAAF Corporal (not WRAF, as we had stated).
His research via the Internet revealed that the Women’s branch was originally formed as the WRAFs between the two World Wars, but reverted to the WAAFs between 1939 and 1949, after which they were re-named WRAFs.
Thus, if Radar Rat was attired pre-1939 she would have been a WRAF, but if attired after war commenced she would have been a WAAF. Who knows?
Whatever her title, she was extremely lucky to survive 30 sorties over Europe!