We’re thrilled to announce that our section of the Berlin Wall from the Light Infantry collection has won ‘The Object of the Year Award’ in the Cornwall Museums Partnership’s first Cornwall Heritage Awards. The award was decided by public vote, so thanks to all our supporters for voting for us!
The awards aim to ‘celebrate museums and heritage organisations here in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and the fantastic achievements of those that support them’
Each of the 10 shortlisted objects were featured in the West Briton and Cornish Guardian newspapers, and on the Cornwall Live website. You can see our feature on the Cornwall Live website, here.
Why is it here…?
In November 1989, at the fall of the Berlin Wall, Major John Dudart-Aberdeen, a Cornishman and Commander of Support Company 1 LI, tasked a group of Assault Pioneers to ‘demolish and recover some of the Wall as a memento of the times’. He expected some ‘football’ sized examples which were duly delivered – along with this huge graffiti covered slab, complete with reinforcing bars! The smaller items were distributed among the soldiers, whilst the slab was retained in the Officer’s Mess as a memento.
Later, the portion of Berlin Wall was displayed in the Light Infantry Museum in Winchester. On the formation of The Rifles Regiment in 2007, the Light Infantry collection came here to Bodmin, and the Berlin Wall became a highlight of our collection.
Did you know…?
This piece is one of the largest in Britain. We believe that it is the largest example outside London.
Getting a piece of the Berlin Wall this size into place on the second floor of the museum wasn’t an easy task – it had to be carried in via the fire escape!
During his military career, John Dudart-Aberdeen served with The Light Infantry and two of its antecedent regiments: The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry and The Somerset and Cornwall Light Infantry.
While the ‘front’ of the Wall, formerly situated in West Berlin, is brightly decorated with graffiti, visitors are often surprised to see that the rear of the wall is blank. The residents on this side (East Berlin) were not permitted to go near the Wall. In fact, around 130 people were killed whilst attempting to cross the Berlin Wall.