Monday, January 29, 2007

Kennet Valley at War Trust

I was at the opening of the Kennet Valley at War Trust Museum yesterday at Littlecote House, near Hungerford - and what a cracking museum it is.

It was officially opened by WWII veteran Ira Clyde Grube and his family; a former member of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division.

Pictured above with the KVWT trustees, he's a former paratrooper who married a local girl had, like so many, contributed memorabilia to the museum and was thrilled to see it take pride of place – including a Nazi armband he liberated from a surrendering German officer in 1945.

Outside, a stable that once housed American soldiers has been painstakingly rebuilt in the grounds to offer visitors a further glimpse of G.I. life in WWII.

Littlecote is the ideal location for a museum as it was HQ of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment; the regiment of the 'Band of Brothers' depicted in the TV series.

The official opening of the museum, the result of hard work by trustees Sam McCallum, Roger Day and Tim Green, was attended by more than 50 people.

Sam McCallum said: “We really are very excited about the museum; it is a kind of dream come true. The Kennet Valley served such an important role during the war and we felt there was a danger of this being overlooked”.

It was Sam and Tim, of Hartwood Oak fame, who rescued the stable - a repeat of their efforts two years ago when they took a block of stables over to a museum in Toccoa, Georgia.

The aim of the museum is to educate and inform people of this important part of our history so that there is no danger of forgetting what happened here and perhaps more importantly, remember all those that lost there lives so that we could live ours.

The museum is now open to the public and entry is free, although visitors are encouraged to make a donation to help towards the development of the attraction.

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