PORTRAITS of almost 50 senior army officers, some nearly 200 years old, were returned ‘home’ today to the Army’s former Northern Command HQ in Fishergate.

The portraits, of the army generals who have commanded Northern Command down the years - including one of a Victoria Cross winner - were moved when the building, now the Tower House business centre, was sold by the Army many years ago.

They were sent to Imphal Barracks in 1958 and for many years they have been stored in the Kohima Museum.

The Lord Mayor of York Cllr Chris Cullwick was on hand today for the return of the portraits to their original home in Tower House - as were senior Army officers, including Lieutenant Colonel Jamie Balfour, CO of 2 Signals Regiment.

The project to return the portraits has involved the York Garrison, York Civic Trust, and the Tower House Business Centre – as well as the Kohima Museum.

It was also supported by four students from the University of York, who researched the history of the officers and Tower House.

Kohima Museum curator Bob Cook said: “We felt that the strong historic link that exists between the military and the city of York would be strengthened by placing these photographs in the care of Tower House for future visibility and research.

“Generally, the development of the military has followed the development of society and this can be easily researched through the activities of these generals.”

Dr Duncan Marks of York Civic Trust added: “The return of the Commander portraits to the former Northern Command building is all about legacy. It is a fitting tribute to these individuals and the collective Army that have served the city so well over the centuries, in times of war and peace, including helping York citizens during flooding or the Covid vaccinations.”

Harry Gillam, who manages operations for Tower House, said: “We are incredibly proud of our building and it’s rich history. It is a privilege to be part of this project and we are delighted to welcome back the portraits to our building.

“We hope that by bringing these portraits back to their spiritual home and working alongside York Civic Trust, we can play a part in raising awareness and public interest in the fascinating history of Northern Command and the British Army’s deep connection and ties to the city of York over the years.”