Updated: Royal Warwickshire Regiment Museum closure rumours dispelled
RUMOURS of imminent closure have this week been dispelled by the museum of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (The Royal Warwickshire Regiment) – but with an added plea to the public to help keep its secure.
Trustees of the museum, in Warwick, say they need drastic financial assistance in order to continue operating long term.
John Rice, chairman of the trustees, who’s also a retired Royal Regiment officer, said: “Basically we need financial help. Continuing to operate in the present manner at St John’s House carries a cost which will be difficult to maintain in the future.”
The museum tells the story of the regiment from its founding in 1674 to the present day. It is free to visit, but costs around £85,000 a year to run.
Among the 10,000 items in the collection are the Regimental Colours and four of the six Victoria Crosses won by soldiers of the regiment in the First World War, one a replica when the original was destroyed.
Most have been donated by ex-members of the regiment or their families.
Mrs Sandra Horwood donated some artefacts belonging to her late father, Jack Hall, who served in the regiment on D-Day and Dunkirk.
She said: “I lost my father last September. He was 97. It’s a generation that’s no longer with us. I do hope it doesn’t close.”
The trustees have had to look at other ways to keep the museum open, such as holding fundraisers and seeking out private donations and now they are implementing an admission charge.
Mr Rice added: “The trustees have two main tasks first it’s maintaining the artefacts, and secondly it’s telling the story of the regiment. These are living memories not just names on a war memorial somewhere. They made this sort of sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today.
The museum’s collection also includes some works by the former Stratford cartoonist Capt Bruce Bairnsfather, whose first drawing was published while he was serving at the front with the 1st Battalion, RWR, in March 1915. The museum has a number of original Bairnsfather drawings, including some early sketches he made in the trenches.
Anyone interested in helping the museum can contact via their website at: http://www.warwickfusiliers.co.uk/