Women of REME (23rd April – 5th October 2019)
Throughout REME’s history, women have worked alongside REME’s male fighting force, excelling in careers not always available to women in the civilian world.
A new exhibition at the REME Museum tells the stories of some of these exceptional women. Women such as Junior Commander Marjorie Inkster who served with the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), an organisation created during World War Two for the thousands of women keen to help the war effort. She was attached to REME to maintain and repair radar equipment – vital work that helped defend Britain from aerial attack.
The role of women in the British Army has seen dramatic changes over the decades. The exhibition will look at the restriction’s women have had to overcome, from being unable to serve if married, to being paid less than the men they commanded. It will also highlight the opportunities and support which women have received, to help them excel in their chosen career and to proudly serve their country in the same role as their male colleagues.
With women making up 10% of the British Army, and with this number increasing, the exhibition will showcase some of the stories of women currently serving with REME, alongside their pioneering predecessors.
The exhibition opens 23 April and runs until 5 October 2019. Entry to the temporary exhibition is included with admission to the Museum.
This fascinating exhibition looked at the stories behind the military tattooing tradition.
Tattooing may be traditionally associated with sailors, but the Army also has a strong tradition of decorating their skin, and a fascinating new exhibition at the REME Museum looks at the stories behind some of these images.
Serving abroad and exposure to tattooing practices in exotic locations increased the popularity of tattooing amongst soldiers, and by the late 19th Century the practice was so widespread that soldiers of all ranks and officers might choose to have one. Even the Army’s last Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, Field Marshall Lord Roberts, was tattooed. He personally encouraged every man in his command to be tattooed with their regimental crests.
Military attitudes to the artform have varied over the years, but in 2014 regulations were relaxed allowing soldiers to bear non-offensive tattoos on their hands and the back of their necks which was previously not permitted.
REME Museum Curator Jennifer Allison took dozens of photographs of tattooed service personnel and veterans for the exhibition Military Ink. Jennifer has been fascinated by the variety of tattoos borne nowadays and the changes in style and technique which have happened over the generations. These have included the traditional Corps’ crests and “from a book” designs, but also messages remembering fallen comrades and others with deeply personal meanings.
She asked serving and former REME men and women to share the story of their tattoos, and to have their pictures taken and be part of the exhibition.
Jennifer says: “There have been some great stories coming out, from tattoos done in memory of other REME soldiers, to some done with family members to show relationships and shared memories.
“Of course, there are the stories of drunken nights and dares, which might not make it into the exhibition, but have still been great to hear about!”