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York Army Museum receives £1 million lottery grant to tell story of the British soldier
At the York Army Museum are Lt Col David O’Kelly, left, with the Echlin Sword, used at the Battle of the Boyne, and Maj Graeme Green, with the Hornby Sword, from the First World War
A MILITARY museum in York has been awarded a £1 million lottery grant to tell the story of the British soldier.
The York Army Museum, near Clifford’s Tower, plans to transform its regimental collections and reveal stories of national and international importance, ahead of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War next year.
The project will focus on the collections of the Royal Dragoon Guards and Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire, which reflect the roles of the cavalry and infantry in the region over the past 328 years. Learning programmes will explore the impact of the First World War in Yorkshire and beyond, and there will be new displays and themed audio visual “experiences”.
A spokesman said the museum would tell the story of the first action of the First World War on August 22, 1914, when C Squadron, leading the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, and Captain Hornby, spotted a patrol of German cavalry at Casteau, Belgium, and pursued and charged.
“Returning with his sword, they were given the honour of the first blood, the first shot and the first captured prisoners of the First World War.”
Other key military stories to be re-interpreted as part of the project include the Waterloo Sword, taken by a British Army officer from the baggage train of a senior general of Napoleon, the Dettingden Standard, the earliest surviving British cavalry standard dating to 1720, and the Victoria Cross and Military Cross won by Lt John “Jack” Harrison, of the East Yorkshire Regiment, during the First World War.
Fiona Spiers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Yorkshire and the Humber, which is giving the grant, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for the York Army Museum to transform its visitor offer ahead of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. It holds some absolutely fascinating relics that reveal the stories of war. With its galleries reinterpreted with state-of-the-art displays, this project will ensure that they are not forgotten.”
Major Graeme Green, project director, said the lottery grant had provided the museum with a fantastic opportunity to tell the story of the British soldier, through its Regimental histories. “This will add yet another jewel to York’s glittering crown of top-class attractions,” he added.
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