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Rare Victoria Cross memorabilia goes on display

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BerichtGeplaatst: 19 Okt 2010 21:54    Onderwerp: Rare Victoria Cross memorabilia goes on display Reageer met quote

Rare Victoria Cross memorabilia goes on display

Rare items belonging to Victoria Cross recipients are being shown for the first time as part of a new exhibition celebrating history's war heroes.

Swords, pistols and letters belonging to the country's bravest will be displayed next to their 25 Victoria Cross medals at the Royal Engineers Museum, Gillingham.

The Valour exhibition is being opened on November 11 as part of the Remembrance Day commemorations.

Amy Adams, assistant curator at the museum, said she hoped unveiling never-before-seen artefacts would draw people in.

"We have 25 Victoria Crosses on display at the museum, but people often just walk straight past them," she said.

"For people who aren't medal enthusiasts we have brought out archives and artefacts belonging to the Victoria Cross recipients which have never been on show before.

"We hope it will draw in the crowds and bring the display to life."

Of the Victoria Crosses, three belong to Royal Engineers for actions in the Crimean War of the 19th century, and three for action in World War One a week before the Armistice.

A medal belonging to Lieut Digby Jones for his service during the Boer War - the first ever posthumous VC to be awarded - is on show alongside the museum's only World War Two VC, awarded posthumously to Sgt Thomas Durrant for action in the St Nazaire raid of 1942, whose bravery was so great his captors insisted he receive an award.

Also included in the display is a postcard written by Sapper William Hackett along with his medal. Sapper Hackett was awarded posthumously on June 22, 1916, after being trapped underground in a tunnel following an explosion of an enemy mine.

He and four others survived underground for 20 hours until a rescue mission tunnelled through, where Sapper Hackett helped three of his comrades out. The fourth was so badly injured he was unable to get out, but Sapper Hackett refused to leave him.

The tunnel collapsed and despite extensive rescue attempts he was never found.

Miss Adams said: "It's important for people to see how brave these Royal Engineers were.

"Some of the archives and other bits belonging to the VC recipients are very delicate and in this case we have made copies.

"Most of them are originals though, and we hope this will bring in new people to the museum."

Also on display will be a selection of photographs which have never been shown to the public. A remembrance book will be put in the medals room for people to record their memories of members of their family who have served in the Armed Forces.

Friends and family of the VC recipients will attend on November 11, when the Regimental Colonel of the Corps of the Royal Engineers will open the exhibition.

Miss Adams said: "We want people to look at these medals and remember what these people did for their country."
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