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Postcard of HMS Iron Duke and Admiral Jellicok.

HMS Iron Duke

By Collections blog

This postcard from WW1 shows HMS Iron Duke and Admiral Jellicoe. Admiral of the fleet John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl of Jellicoe was a Royal Navy Officer. He fought in the Anglo-Egyptian War and the Boxer Rebellion and commanded the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 during the First World War. His handling of the fleet at that battle was controversial. Jellicoe made no serious mistakes and the German High Seas Fleet retreated to port, at a time when defeat would have been catastrophic to Britain, but the public was disappointed that the Royal Navy had not won a more dramatic victory given that they outnumbered the enemy.


HMS Iron Duke served as the flagship of the Grand Fleet during the First World War, including at the Battle of Jutland. There, she inflicted serious damage on the German Battleship SMS König early in the main fleet action. In January 1917, she was relieved as fleet flagship. After the War, Iron Duke operated in the Mediterranean as the flagship of the Mediterranean Fleet. She participated in both the Allied Intervention in the Russian Civil War in the Black Sea and the Greco-Turkish War. She also assisted in the evacuation of refugees from Smyrna. In 1926, she was assigned to the Atlantic Fleet, where she served as a training ship.

Iron Duke remained on active duty for only a few more years; in 1930, the London Naval Treaty specified that four Iron Duke-class battleships be scrapped or otherwise demilitarised. Iron Duke was therefore converted into a gunnery training ship; her armour and much of her armament was removed to render her unfit for combat. She served in this capacity until the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, when she was moored in Scapa Flow as a harbour defence ship. In October, she was badly damaged by German bombers and was run aground to avoid sinking. She continued to serve an anti-aircraft platform for the duration of the war, and was eventually refloated and broken up for scrap in the late 1940’s.

A Kukri Knife.

Nepalese Gurkha Kukri

By Collections blog

This Nepalese Gurkha Kukri is being kept in the Museums store cupboard so we thought that we would do some research about it to find out what it really was and discover the history of it.

The Kukri is a type of machete originating from the Indian subcontinent, associated with the Nepali speaking Gurkhas of Nepal and India. The knife can be easily identified as it has a distinct recurve in the blade. It is used as both a tool and a weapon in the Indian Subcontinent. Traditionally, it was, and in many cases still is, the basic utility knife of the Gurkha. It is a characteristic of the Nepalese Army, the Royal Gurkha Rifles of the British Army, the Assam Rifles, the Kumaon Regiment, the Garhwal Rifles, the Gorkha Regiments of the Indian Army, and of all Gurkha regiments throughout the world, so much so that some English-speakers refer to the weapon as the “Gurkha blade” or the “Gurkha Knife”.

While the Kukri is most famed for its use in the Military it is most commonly used as a multipurpose tool for utility in fields and homes in Nepal. Its use has varied from building, clearing, chopping firewood, digging, slaughtering animals for food, cutting meat and vegetables, and opening cans. Its use as a general farm and household tool disproves the often stated “taboo” that the weapon cannot be sheathed “until it has drawn blood”.

The Kukri was first produced in 1810 and while we don’t know which time period the one we have is from they were used through multiple wars all the way up to the Falklands.

Illustration of a Breguet plane.

WW1 Plane Postcards Part 2

By Collections blog

Here are some more of the WW1 plane postcards which are being kept in the Museums store. This post will include information about the Royal Aircraft Factory b.e. 2c.

Royal Aircraft Factory B.E. 2c

The B.E. 2c was designed as an inherently stable aeroplane, easy to fly and an ideal answer to the Royal Flying Corps’ fundamental operational requirement for a good reconnaissance aircraft. It first flew on 30th May 1914 powered by a 70hp Renault engine. When it entered service with No.8 Squadron RFC in April 1915, the 90hp RAF engine had been fitted as the standard power plant. The B.E. 2c’s stability was initially well received by service pilots but with the advent of the true fighter Fokker monoplanes and the Albatros biplanes, they became very easy prey, being to stable to avoid attack and too slow to get away. Nonetheless, production of large numbers continued and 14 squadrons of the RFC and one of the RNAS were equiped with this type. It was still in action on the Western Front during ‘Bloody April’, 1917 where it suffered a large number of casulties. It was operated overseas by both the RNAS and the RFC, serving as a bombing and reconsissacne aircraft in Maceedonia and the Middle East, and in the Dardenells and the Aegen.


You can see our previous plane postcard here:


Mother’s Day at the Museum

By Events

The Devils Porridge – a great place for Mother’s Day

Why visit the Museum on Mother’s Day?


The central story of The Devils Porridge Museum concerns the 12,000 women who worked at HM Factory Gretna in World War One. This includes a look at the difficult and dangerous work they did, accidents and health caused by this work, their housing an living conditions, their social lives including dances, cinemas and societies as well as their notable achievements (some young women met the Kind and Queen, others were awarded MBE’s). The Museum also looks at the monitoring of the young women by the Women’s Police Force and how the role of women was altered by World War One.

Our first floor displays look at the impact of conflict on the Solway Coast from 1939 onwards. Find out about children who were sent to the countryside as evacuees, take a nostalgic look at a 1940’s house (complete with kitchen and rationing style foods) and explore the stories of women who worked in the ATS or in munitions in World War Two.

March is also Women’s History Month and the Museum would be a great place for mother’s to visit to discover the history of women at war in the local area.

Children love the Museum, In 2019, we were shortlisted for the ‘Most Family Friendly Museum in the UK’ award by Kids in Museums. Over 800 Museums were nominated and we made it to the final 15. There are dressing up opportunities, lots of things to interact and play with, touchscreens, audio-visual displays and games. We also have a virtual reality experience taking a look inside Scotland’s first ever nuclear power station – Chapelcross. All children visiting the Museum are given a clocking in card in which they can stamp as they visit and exchange for a reward at the end. With a children’s menu, baby changing facilities, high chairs and a lift, we are well set up for visitors of all ages and requirements.

One more great reason to visit us this Mother’s Day – a chance to treat your Mum to a delicious, homemade afternoon tea in our café. The Museum is 5 star rated and we use local ingredients in the café as much as possible. The afternoon tea will include delicious sandwiches along with a selection of sweet treats such as home-baked miniature cakes and biscuits all served with a vintage style tea service. Perfect for before, after or midway through your visit. If you want, you are welcome to just book for Afternoon Tea, you do not have to visit the Museum to take part in this experience.

Entry to the Museum is £6 per adult, £5 concessions (including children – a family ticket is also available for £15). Afternoon Teas must be booked in advance and cost £10.95 per person. To book your space, email: or phone 01461 700021

Munition Workers Poems Part 1

By Collections blog

Lots of people are familiar with famous World War One poets and their poetry. Some wonderful, less know poems were written by women about their experiences at HM Factory Gretna (the greatest factory on earth during World War One, The Devils Porridge Museum tells its story).

We have a book on sale in our shop called, ‘Munitions Workers Poems’. For Women’s History Month, we thought we would share a few photographs and poems of women workers from World War One.

This poem is called “Bravo! Dornock” and was written by a woman called Susan M Ferguson.

The complete booklet can be found here:


Munition Workers’ Poems

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