Regimental museums face the axe

About turn: regimental museums face the axe
Source: Glasgow Herald
IAN BRUCE, Defence Correspondent - June 06 2005

MILITARY campaigners yesterday urged Scottish MPs and MSPs to save the country's most famous regiments from an act of historical vandalism.

The intervention call follows the announcement that the Ministry of Defence is to carry out an immediate review into the future of Scotland's regimental museums as part of a cost-cutting exercise.
Military insiders say the aim is to centralise the exhibits of the six existing infantry units north of the border in advance of the planned formation of the new Royal Regiment of Scotland in 2006. Campaigners yesterday claimed the move would wipe out 300 years of individual history and tradition and accused the MoD of deliberately misleading the public.

Adam Ingram, armed forces minister, publicly denied there was any intention to close or amalgamate any of the museums after The Herald revealed exclusively in February that they were under threat.

On a visit to the Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum in April, Mr Ingram said: "I would like to absolutely refute the rumour that the Ministry of Defence has decided that the regimental museums in Scotland are to be scrapped. This is not the case at all, the infantry museums are part of Scotland's proud heritage."

Mr Ingram has now told MPs that a survey of all of the Army's regimental headquarters and attached museums is to be carried out by the end of the year as part of a rationalisation of MoD property.
Curators have been ordered to catalogue their collections of medals, battlefield trophies and militaria even before the review team begins to draw up recommendations to be put to ministers early next year.
Mr Ingram claimed the review's aim was to ensure that the structure of headquarters throughout the UK was "correctly configured" after last year's announcement that the infantry is to be reorganised into large, multi-battalion regiments.
While stand-alone museums not linked to headquarters will escape the review's scrutiny, those co-located will be assessed. Five of Scotland's six infantry regiments – the Black Watch, Royal Highland Fusiliers, Royal Scots, King's Own Scottish Borderers and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders – have co-located HQs and museums. Only the Highlanders has separate head-quarters in Inverness and regimental museum at Fort George.
Army insiders have told The Herald that the changes will also involve cutting the numbers of museum staff whose wages are paid by the MoD if the current set-up is scrapped.

Jeff Duncan, campaign manager for the Save the Scottish Regiments organisation, said: "The serving soldiers, veterans and public have been lied to in a most devious manner designed to silence them. "What was promised and what was quickly replaced post-election shows that the true intention of those involved is the total destruction of regimental identities. It is time our elected representatives in both Whitehall and Edinburgh stepped in to halt this act of historical vandalism."


They'd best get themselves a Regimental Secretary pronto then eh. The job still hasn't been filled.
If this is the case I think that those museums which want to continue as a specific regimental museum should be made independant. The Gordon Highlanders museum still exists on it's own and it's a smashing little museum with good resources for conferences, school trips or scholarly research.
Well said, Lairdx, these museums serve as educational facilities for school kids and tourists alike. If the MOD try to move the museums help should be sought from the relevent local authorities.

I know for a fact that RHQ/museum BW is on a long term lease from the MOD. The lease runs out in 2050,but the lease has a clause in it which the MOD insited upon, which states that they can move BW museum if the MOD provide suitable alternative accommodation.

Interesting eh? suitable alternative accommodation,but where would that be? And would it be suitable to both parties??? If its not in the current BW area then I doubt it!

Anyroad (£1.43 per mile), i`m off to probably our last Regimental reunion in three weeks. If I get a chance I will speak to the BW archivist or the Assist Reg Secretary, and try to get some more info.


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