Friday, 16 July 2010

Museu Militar de Lisboa

Following a recent work trip to Lisbon I managed to grab half an hour at the Military Museum in Lisbon. Contrary to what it says on various websites and tourist guides the museum shuts for lunch! The museum is a right hodge podge with a lot of artillery, surprisingly little on the Napoleonic Wars but an interesting gallery on the contribution of the Portuguese Expeditionary Force (Corpo Expedicionário Português) in World War One.

I've always had a soft spot for Portugal and the unheralded efforts of the CEP on the Western Front. Like the Italians they got a bad rap for one defeat where they were heavily outnumbered and exhausted having not received reinforcements from their homeland. There is a good basic page on Wikipedia about them here.

I didn't realise that you weren't supposed to take photos inside the museum (I assumed - incorrectly - it meant flash photography) and managed to take some photos in the Great War gallery before being told off!

The outside courtyard has some very interesting tiled pictures, in the traditional blue and white Portuguese style, of the country's military history from the return of Christianity to WWI. I didn't get much of a chance to study them all but they were well done, though I wasn't quite sure what the colonial one was supposed to be showing as it had Portuguese troops lined up ready to fire on African natives peacefully wandering around their village! Not knowing much about the conquest of Angola I was somewhat perplexed.

Overall an interesting little museum, certainly worth an hour or two if you are ever in Lisbon. As I've a pile of 6mm Irregular WWI to paint up for the re-release of Matthew Hartley's Elán I'm tempted to paint up a unit of the CEP to fight alongside the British...

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