Diversity project at military museum

Attractions, History

Portrait of the late John Morrison BEM

The role of Sikhs during the Second World War will be celebrated as part of a diversity project at the KSY Military Museum at Hever Castle.

The museum, near the main entrance of Hever Castle, has been collaborating with the UK Punjab Heritage Association as part of an Arts Council funded diversity project

This relates to a silver statuette of a Second World War Sikh soldier, known informally as The Oscar, which is on permanent display in the military museum.

From 11 June visitors can read about how the Kent Yeomanry were attached to a battalion of the 1st Punjab regiment in Italy in 1944/45 and how the Punjabis donated this statue to the Kent Yeomanry in recognition of military bravery.

The diversity project sees the Sikh side of the story told for the first time at the military museum.

The KSY Museum and The Oscar will also be included in a Kent Sikh historical tour, organised by the UK Punjab Heritage Association.

A new portrait of the late John Morrison BEM by the acclaimed military artist Hugh Beattie will also be unveiled at the museum on 11 June. He was the grandson of a tribal chief in what is now Ghana, flew Spitfires in Africa in the Second World War and served with the KSY during the Cold War..

The military museum offers a chance for visitors to learn about the Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry through interactive, imaginative displays that bring to life the stories of their soldiers from 1794 to the present day.

Attractions in the military museum include reconstructions of a First World War trench, with sound effects, and the interior of a Second World War Cromwell tank turret. Four touch screens tell fascinating life stories of people who served in the regiment through the ages, with video clips and quizzes. Exhibits include original artefacts such as photographs, diaries, uniforms and equipment dating back to 1797, as well as guidons (flags), and medals.

Visitors can also research ancestors who may have served in the regiments. Outside the museum are a Saladin Armoured Car, a 25 pounder field gun, and an Anderson shelter.

Chris Sutton, chair of the KSY Museum Trust, commented: “We are very grateful to South East Museums Development and the Arts Council for funding this celebration of diversity. It has been a pleasure to work with the UK Punjab Heritage Association on the project. I look forward to welcoming all visitors on 11 June, and especially the Morrison family and members of the Kent Sikh community.”

Silver statuette of a Second World War Sikh soldier

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