Royal Engineers Museum
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The Royal Engineers Museum, Library & Archive is a military engineering museum and library in Gillingham, Medway, South East England. It tells the story of the Corps of Royal Engineers and British military engineering in general.
The School of Military Engineering and the Museum were founded in 1812, during the Peninsular War. The Library was founded in 1813. The Museum moved to its current site in the Ravelin building in 1987. Its collection received 'Designated' status in 1998 (it is recognised as having an outstanding collection of national and international significance). It is one of only three military or regimental museums in the country to hold this status.
The RE Museum and Library hold over 500,000 objects relating to the history of the Corps of Royal Engineers and the development of military engineering.
On display are objects of great significance like the Waterloo map, complete with markings made by Wellington himself. It has the revolver used by Lieutenant Chard at Rorke's Drift, Russian glass grenades from the Crimea, and a huge selection of objects belonging to Charles Gordon relating to his postings in China and the Sudan. There is a relic of the Kashmir Gate and a set of armour reported to belong to the Last King of the Punjab, Duleep Sing. There is a Brennan Torpedo on display alongside an early prototype. The museum also has one of the largest public collections of orders, awards and medals in the country; most of which are on display, including 25 of the 55 Victoria Crosses awarded to REs, and three George Crosses.
The collection and museum galleries tell the story of the Corps and cover topics such as:
Aeronautics (the Corps was responsible for this prior to the formation of the RFC and RAF) Bomb Disposal, Bridging - the Bailey and other examples. Camouflage, Civil works (Pentonville Prison & the Royal Albert Hall are examples of RE engineering) Submarine Mining & Diving, Electrical (Searchlights), Forestry, Field (or Combat) Engineering (airborne, amphibious, armoured, commando, Queen's Gurkha, tunnelling), Gas Warfare, Military Works - mining, water supply, roads, airfields, canals, Photography including early aerial photographs and trench layouts, Postal & Courier, Quarrying, Royal Engineers Band, Survey (e.g. Canada, Great Britain & India) Telegraph and Signals, Transportation (Railways, Ports). Maps & Plans of places the Corps have been or built.
It has many prototype armoured vehicles, both inside the museum, in the grounds and within Chatham Dockyard. Also inside the museum is a complete Harrier Jump-Jet.
Currently the Library is situated on the Military Camp behind the museum building, but developments are proposed to bring this historic collection into the main building, where it will be stored in its very own purposed built area, a project expected to cost well over three million pounds.
The Bridge Study Centre, a purpose built display space, houses a huge collection of bridging models. This includes some very early Victorian teaching models and also numerous associated objects, photographs and archives.
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