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Page last updated at 15:08 GMT, Friday, 18 June 2010 16:08 UK
New military museum is opened on Canvey Island
By Travis Walby
BBC Essex

Military uniform at the Bay Museum on Canvey Island
The collection of memorabilia has been sourced by local historians

A new military museum has been opened on Canvey Island to provide a lasting memorial to the Essex residents who fell during the two World Wars.

It will be home to an extensive range of memorabilia belonging to people from south east Essex.

The museum is housed in a former Cold War building which was used as a degaussing station for passing ships.

A grant of £30,000 from Veolia ES Cleanaway Pitsea Marshes Trust has helped to finance the project.

Project Director Allan Reed, a keen World War One historian, told BBC Essex the museum was vital for future generations.

"[The First World War ] is not living history anymore, with Harry Patch now gone," he said.

"It's now something just dedicated to history books, these men shouldn't be forgotten."

Fellow trustee David Thorndike said it was important to have a permanent home for the militaria.

"They've previously been in the shed, in the loft, in the bedroom - but now we've got a base to work from," he said.

The grant from Veolia provided funds for the restoration of the former MoD building, as well as display cases for important artefacts.

These included a uniform worn by the lady who took the telex from Winston Churchill to George VI, informing him of the German surrender.

Military memorabilia at the Bay Museum on Canvey Island
The museum features items dating back to the 19th century

Veolia's Gary Baker explained why they had got involved with the project.

"We were really pleased to be able to support local projects and do something where the younger generation will actually learn about history, not just from books, but experiencing it first hand," he said.

The museum was officially opened by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex, Lord Petre, on Saturday, 19 June.

The Bay Museum will be open to the public every Sunday and on Bank Holiday Mondays.




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