The Museum’s collection is a fascinating and eclectic mix that tells the REME story and the story of the British Army in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Most of it dates from World War Two, but there are earlier artefacts from the individuals and predecessor Corps, such as the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC), who transferred to the Corps in 1942. The Cold War period is also well represented.
Highlights include over 100 military vehicles, over 950 weapons, over 1700 medals awarded to REME personnel, and over 2000 uniform pieces from World War Two to the present.
Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle (CRARRV)
The CRARRV is the largest recovery vehicle used by the British Army. It has the hull and engine of a Challenger tank, but has been substantially modified so that it can rescue any vehicle in the army.
Equipped with a spade, winch and a crane, it is capable of pulling 52 tonnes. The Museum’s example is an early prototype.
Model of an Indian pattern Crossley armoured car
The Museum has a large model collection. Many of these are scratch built models were created as gifts for retiring soldiers, trophies or to test the apprentices.
Crossley Motors made various vehicles and the Indian pattern car was constucted with Vickers at the request of the government of India in the 1920s. They were not successful.
John Commander was present at the Battle of Dunkirk in 1940. He returned home in his Battledress uniform. His wife refused to allow him into the house due to the state of it, and he had to take it off on the doorstep. Their children collected the sand from his trouser turn ups.
Cfn Commander transferred to the REME when the Corps was formed.
Prisoner of War’s toothbrush
G Street was a Prisoner of War during World War Two. Captured by the Japanese, he stayed in Changi Jail, Singapore, from 25th Feb 1942 to 16th October 1945.
It was difficult for prisoners to obtain these simple things we take for granted and they are important for staying healthy. Mr Street had to replace the worn out bristles with coconut fibres.
Volkswagen Beetle Model
VW created three of these models. They gave one to Major Ivan Hirst as thanks for his involvement in re-establishing their factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, after World War Two.
When Maj Hirst arrived in the autumn of 1945, the factory was a bombed ruin. He exceeded all expectations and soon cars were running off the production line.
This jacket was worn by William Leppard. The 6th June 1944 was an important day for Bill. Not only was it his birthday, but he was also landing at Sword Beach as part of D Day.
On its shoulder are three badges. The top and bottom badges belong to REME. The middle badge is the seahorse of the 27th Armoured Brigade, to which he was attached.
Korea Medal (1950 – 53)
The Museum has over 1000 medals which were awarded to REME servicemen and women.
The Museum has the policy of accepting all medals which are offered irrespective of duplication as long as they were awarded to a REME member.
This image shows the Korea Medal which was awarded to military personnel serving in the Korean War between 1950 and 1953. The bronze oakleaf on this version means that the individual who received it was ‘Mentioned in Dispatches’. This means that the person had their name specifically mentioned by a superior officer in an official report which is sent to the high command.
The side shown in the image depicts Queen Elizabeth II. The reverse side shows the mythical hero Hercules fighting the Hydra with the word ‘Korea’ underneath.