It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the Museum with activities happening on site and off site.
Last week started with designer meetings where we looked at the other gallery spaces which are available. As well as the two vehicle halls which have been discussed in earlier posts, we will also have areas dedicated to the trades of the Corps, the structure of the Corps and the family side of the Corps. There will also be a room dedicated to remembrance and achievements.
A large part of the work now involves looking at our collections and deciding which items will help us tell the story of REME. This week we have specifically looked at our Second World War gallery and have been considering themes such as uniforms, communication with families and loved ones, propaganda and prisoners of war.
We have come across some very interesting items which aren’t currently on display, including a roof tile from Hiroshima, sawdust bread given to prisoners of war and a bandage decorated with instructions on how to use it depending on your injury.
Other items include a REME flag flown at the Battle of El-Alamein by Recovery Section of No 1 AMT Depot, and desert goggles given to H Benson, a fitter with a Light Aid Detachment from 30 Corps Workshop REME, by Field Marshall Montgomery.
The story behind the goggles is that they belonged to General Von Thoma who commanded the Africa Corps at El-Alamein where he was captured. The goggles were taken off him and passed to Montgomery who then passed them on to Benson after he carried out a repair on Monty’s car.
Sunday 14th June saw the final REME Freedom of Wokingham Parade. REME were granted the Freedom of Wokingham in 1978, and a parade has been held on a number of occasions. It was a fantastic turn out from the local community and a great display by REME.
Although REME had their last Parade in Wokingham, in Stockton-on-Tees the Corps has just been granted Freedom of the Town and will be having their first parade next week. As part of this the Museum has loaned out a number of items to be put on display in their Rediscover Stockton shop on the High Street. The display will be in place for several weeks.
Next week also sees Armed Forces day. Our Education Officer, Oliver Parr has been busy travelling out to schools in the Wiltshire area to host assemblies around this topic and will be able to give an update next week.
And now, it’s back to packing!
Jennifer Allison – Curator