Improvements completed to Richmond museum’s cherished medal display

Collections assistant Zoe Utley uses the new Medal Room gallery. Photo: Guy Carpenter.

Improvements to the Green Howards Museum’s cherished Medal Room will ensure the incredible stories of the soldiers who earned 18 Victoria Cross medals will not be forgotten.

The museum secured a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £40,000 to create a new gallery to display it’s collection of Victoria Crosses and George Crosses.

An interactive screen has been installed to provide visitors with a wealth of information about the history of the awards, and the soldiers who earned them.

The recipients whose medals the museum has on display include Lieutenant Colonel Derek Seagrim, who bravely led an attack on an enemy position in Tunissia in 1943. After scaling an anti-tank ditch, he took out 20 enemy soldiers who were manning two machine gun posts.

Other recipients include Private Henry Tandey who was the most highly decorated British private of the First World War and is remembered as the soldier who supposedly spared Adolf Hitler’s life during the war.

In September 1918 during the taking of the crossing over the Canal de St. Quentin at Marcoing in France, Tandey took out a gun position before reaching the canal and repairing a bridge, despite being under heavy fire.

He then led a bayonet charge that was so fierce 37 enemy soldiers were driven into the hands of the remainder of his company.

Although twice wounded, Tandey refused to leave until the fight was won.

As well as the gallery for the 18 Victoria Crosses and four George Crosses, the museum has used donations of supporters and The Green Howards Trust, as well as fundraising, to pay for new cabinets to be installed for over 4,000 medals in the collection.

Volunteers have spent thousands of hours polishing and remounting the medals before they go back on display.

The work, which has taken around five months to complete, has included researching the stories of the recipients.

Paul Gayton, one of the team of museum volunteers who have the medals, said: “It’s been hard work on the fingers, but an absolute honour to work on this project.

“I can’t believe we’ve been able to work so closely with these medals; all of them representing a person’s service, and sometimes sacrifice.

“We’re all so proud of this special space.”

“We’re exceptionally proud of the Medal Room and very aware of the impact it has on our visitors, but we wanted to be able to help those medals really speak out and tell their story,” said Lynda Powell, The Green Howards Museum’s Curator and Director.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, we’ve been able to implement our plans for the display and interpretation of our extensive VC and GC collection.”

All the medals were polished and remounted. Photo: Guy Carpenter.

David Renwick, Director of England, North said “We are delighted to support this project, which, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, will allow even greater access to this important collection, enabling more people to learn about the significant contribution of the Green Howards Regiment.”

The Green Howards Museum, based in the centre of Richmond’s market place attracts around 10,000 visitors a year and tells the 300 year story of friendship, adventure, service and sacrifice.

Supported by an enthusiastic band of volunteers, the museum team find new ways of bringing this rich history to life and telling the story of world events through the eyes of those who served.

The completed Medal Room at the Green Howards Museum. Photo: Guy Carpenter.