“This is not a Museum for the Army; it is a Museum for the nation about the Army.”

The National Army Museum Building Appeal
A National Army Museum Building Appeal Fund Donation/Covenant form from circa 1967. The form was found, like much historic printed ephemera, inside a book (Herbert Fairlie Wood (1967), The King’s Royal Rifle Corps. Hamish Hamilton: London. to be precise!).

Words which described the purpose of the then new ‘National Army Museum’ and its appeal for funds to move to a new site in Chelsea. The spirit of these words and much of the following applies not just to the National Army Museum but also to military museums big and small throughout Britain and the Commonwealth:

‘In 1960, Her Majesty the Queen granted a Royal Charter establishing the National Army Museum at Camberley. This is not a Museum for the Army; it is a Museum for the nation about the Army. Without it a sad gap would remain in the records of our national history and the part which our Army has taken in it. But only a fraction of the collection of relics, pictures and documents which merit public exhibition can now be displayed, through lack of space.

The period which the Museum covers is from 1573, on the formation of the first Militia, until 1914. It covers the whole history of the Standing Army from the Restoration in 1660 and of the Militia, Yeomanry, Volunteers and Territorial Army in war and peace. It also covers the history of the Honourable East India Company’s forces from 1602, through their conversion into the Indian Army, up till 1947; and of all colonial forces from their formation until the independence of the countries concerned…’

From above, printed circa 1967?

Military museums are a big part of our heritage and our family histories as well as part of a bridge to the world of the modern armed forces. They deserve our interest and our support.

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