The Combined Military Services Museum at Maldon 8th April 2015
Click to see photos in the Gallery
Ten members and friends left Longwater Retail Park in a minibus at 8:30am to go to Maldon in Essex. We arrived later at a small car park and the building, which houses the museum. It looked tiny in comparison to their large collection and was more like a Tardis inside. While outside we saw an Argentinean mobile field cooker, Chieftain tank, a T-69, a YW-750 ambulance and a Thunderbird ground to air missile, which is very similar to a Bloodhound. Once inside we were welcomed by Clive McPherson who told us how the museum had been started off by a private collector, Richard Wooldridge, who was then aged seven years old and is now aged fifty. He still has items given to the museum to add to the collection. All the items are original and not replicas.
The museum is on three floors.Starting on the ground floor there is a shop and a small collection of Civil War armour, cannons and crossbows. In the next room there is a large collection of swords and armour together with a child’s dressing up area.On the first floor I noticed a wing from a drone which had been found in Weybourne (North Norfolk). There is also the only surviving canoe from the Cockleshell Heros. (This only survived because it was damaged getting it out of a submarine during World War II). There were also Mortars, medical kits such as amputation hooks and saws. "The Mason Collection" which is named after Peter and Prue Mason, friends of Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond books, was on display here and has spy equipment from the K.G.B, C.I.A and M.I.5 such as cameras, uniforms, a deadly Belgian umbrella and Kim Philbe's pipe with a gun.
Further round are anti tank weapons, a Gingerbread man which was used in Calais as a decoy, a rare Bristol Sidley Olympus engine from a TSR2 aircraft and various mines. On the third floor there is a large collection of medals, uniforms from all three services, the history of the Essex Yeomanary and Regiment and the Donington Collection which were all given by the M.O.D. with over 700 small arms, rifles, pistols, machine guns etc and the ammunition. There is also a small exhibit on detecting mines etc.
After leaving we had a quick tour of Maldon going through the Promenade Park with several cafes, a Health Centre, yacht pond etc by the Blackwater Estuary, before going to The Bull at Great Tothorn for a meal and a drink. Round the back there was a lovely beer garden with several levels to it. On the way back we went through Colchester passing the Zoo, Castle and Barracks before returning home. When we arrived at Longwater Retail Park we noticed a Virgin Hot Air Balloon which finished the day quite well. Thanks to Peter for doing the driving and arranging the trip for us.

Andrew Elphick

Click this Link for more information! Combined Military Services Museum - Maldon