Friday 19 April 2019

Museum Crawl Weekend - The REME Museum

Day one of my epic, four-day, birthday celebration Museum Crawl and we visited a place that has been on my bucket list for some time. The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Museum is located just outside the REME training establishment at MoD Lyneham, near Chippenham in Wiltshire. It is home to thousands of artefact that tell the story of REME but the thing that has attracted me here are the large armoured recovery vehicles and the weapons and uniform collections. 

Prior to REME's formation in 1942, maintenance and repair of equipment was the responsibility of the various arms of service. However, by the start of WWII, it was increasingly clear that existing repair systems were not adequate for the massive scale of equipment being deployed in every theatre. REME was formed around the existing Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) skilled personnel drawn from the Royal Engineers (RE) and the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC).

Sherman Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle, or BARV for short. This example was used on the D-Day beaches to remove obstacles and recover damaged machinery. 

6x4 Light Breakdown Morris Commercial. These vehicles came into service in the mid 1930's and were used in various roles throughout the war.

Churchill Armoured Recovery Vehicle (ARV). This is an early version that was first used without a turret to tow other vehciles. Later the winch and Dozer blade were added.  After its service life it was used as a target on firing ranges in Germany before being recovered and put on display.

These desert goggles were owned by General Von Thoma and were given to Montgomery on the formers capture in Tunisia.

A 4x4 Bedford QL Type L Machinery truck....

Inside the Bedford is a mobile workshop.

Mussolini's Boots! These metal boots are from the statue seen in the picture,
which once stood in Piazza Castello in Tripoli, Libya. 

6x4 Scammell Pioneer was an excellent off road recovery vehicle. The museums exhibit was the last Scammell in British Service in Belize and was nicknamed 'Swampy'.

Challenger Armoured Recovery Repair and Recovery Vehicle (CRARRV) is the REME specific version of the Challenger Main Battle Tank. 

The Sampson Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) (CVR(T)) and first saw service in the Falklands Conflict. 

Me, playing in the childrens mock ARV. I couldn't resist. 

International Half--Track M5 was used extensively up to the 1970's when it was replaced by the FV434

The FV434 is another REME specific vehicle based on the FV430 series of vehciles. The Hydraulic crane is able to remove the engine packs in other FV434's and tow those vehicles from the field. 

ST4 AKTIV Snow Trac is powered by the Volkswagon engine normally found in the Beetle car. 

The museum also holds a large weapons collection. 

There is also an extensive medal collection, many accompanied by very interesting stories. 
In all we spent a little under two hours here, although it has to be said that we stretched that out a bit with lunch. Despite being a public holiday we were virtually the only visitors to the museum...until about 40 bikers turned up! The site is new but the collection is growing so this is probably one to revisit in a few years once it has settled in. Indeed a new exhibit was under construction when we were there so the collection continues to grow. 


  1. Replies
    1. Not bas although I think its still settling into its new location.

  2. Fascinating... and are those goggles of Von Thoma's bifocals???

    1. To be honest I'm not sure. They 'wrap around' giving side glare protection to the eyes so maybe the forward parts are prescription??

  3. Nice mate. I used to be based at RAF Lyneham with 47 Air Despatch. Will have to visit this museum next time im in the area.

    1. Cool. I nearly drove up to the wrong gate...they guy with a rife gave me the distinct impression I was heading in the wrong direction. The museum is technically on the site, but its outside the peremiter to the left of the main gate.

  4. This is about 40 mins drive from me. It’s now on my visits list.

    1. Nice one. There is a nice cafe on site so stretch your visit out with a meal?

  5. I think you'll agree that seeing the actual size of vehicles gives a good perspective. We sometimes think these things are bigger than they actually are.

    1. The Sherman BARV is very tall because of the extra superstructure, but internally I bet it was cramped.


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