The majority of the Museum’s collection dates from World War Two. There are some earlier items which relate to individuals who went on to transfer into the Corps, or they might relate to one of the predecessor Corps, such as the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC).
The object collection is varied. Highlights include over 100 military vehicles, over 950 weapons, over 1700 medals awarded to REME individuals, and over 2000 uniform pieces from a range of operations since World War Two.
The collection also includes items unique to the REME Corps, such as 60 trade test pieces and over 800 trophies.
Challenger Armoured Repair and Recovery Vehicle (CRARRV)
Currently still in service with the British Army, the CRARRV is the largest recovery vehicle in use.
The CRARRV is a recovery version of a Challenger tank and shares the same mechanical components but with added elements for use as a recovery vehicle, such as the crane.
The Museum’s example is an early prototype.
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.
Volkswagen Beetle Model
This model is one of three created by VW. The Museum’s example was given to Major Ivan Hirst as thanks for his involvement in re-establishing the VW factory in Wolfsburg, Germany following the end of World War Two.
The VW factory had not existed before the War, and so the original plan was to offer it as repatriations to any country which required it. Maj Hirst arrived in the autumn of 1945 with the objective of tidying it up and making it ready to be handed over.
However, Maj Hirst and others recognised the potential of the factory and set about the task of getting it running again.
Sand from Dunkirk
There are some items in the collection which pre-date the Corps creation date of 1st October 1942.
In 1940, Craftsman John Commander was involved in the Battle of Dunkirk which saw the evacuation of over 300,000 British and allied forces.
When he returned home, he was still wearing 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. The children of the house collected the sand from his trouser turn ups. At a later date the sand was put into this pot and then transferred to the Museum.
Cfn Commander went on to transfer into the REME when the Corps was formed.