HRH Princess Alexandra is to open the new Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry (KSY) Museum at Hever Castle in Kent. The attraction, which opens on 6 September, will delight military history fans and families alike.
On the day, there will be a military parade in front of Hever Castle with the KSY regimental band, serving soldiers and old comrades. There will also be a talk about Yeomanry in World War I by Professor Sir Hew Strachan, and demonstrations by World War I re-enactors. Visitors to the Castle grounds are welcome to watch these activities.
The new museum replaces the old museum in the castle keep. It tells the story of one of Kent and London’s proudest regiments and is housed in custom-built premises inside the castle grounds. For authenticity, it has been designed to resemble a military operations tent and has a Saladin armoured car and a 25lb field gun on site. The Kent and Sharpshooters (County of London) Yeomanry currently has serving squadrons as part of the Reserve Army in Croydon and Bexleyheath.
Duncan Leslie, Chief Executive of Hever Castle & Gardens says: “The location of the museum since KSY first came to Hever over 20 years ago was far from ideal at the top of the castle. This new, bigger and much more accessible museum should dramatically raise the interest of particularly the young. The interpretation is first class being both innovative and engaging. We are delighted to have helped the KSY make this ambitious plan come to fruition.”
Attractions in the museum include reconstructions of a World War I trench, with sound effects, and the interior of a World War II 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 will also be able to research ancestors who may have served in the regiments.
As 2015 marks the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign in which the regiments fought, two unique stories will be showcased; The Schoolboy Stowaway and The Colonel’s Diaries.
Chris Sutton, Chief Executive of the Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry Museum Trust, says: “This opening is the culmination of many years’ hard work by the Trustees, volunteers, fundraisers and donors to ensure that we can inspire visitors of all ages with the lives of people who served, and continue to serve, in this unique military organisation. We are absolutely delighted to be opening our doors to the people of Kent, London, and those from further afield. During the coming year we will be running an exciting programme of events at the museum, in schools and in the local community, and are very keen to recruit new volunteers to join our museum and events team.”
Entry to the new Military Museum is included with the normal admission price to Hever Castle & Gardens. For more information about the Military Museum and the Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry Museum Trust, please visit www.ksymuseum.org.uk/.