A major slice of Britain’s World War One history is set to move to Doncaster, to reside at the borough’s newest museum.
Trustees of the borough’s Victoria Cross Museum, which was due to open in Balby today, have revealed that about 15,000 items from the 1914-18 conflict will be coming to Doncaster after being moved from Ypres, in Belgium,
Trustees revealed the site, on Cedar Road, will be the new home for items due to be transferred to South Yorkshire from The Ramparts War Museum in Ypres, which has been open since 2000.
It gets about 150 to 200 visitors each day and is set out in the form of various trenches.
The museum’s owner died this year and his family decided to sell the collection, which includes dozens of British, German, French, American and Belgian uniforms – a Belgian Lancer uniform there is one of only three in existence around the world.
Weapons at the museum include grenade launchers, rifles and underground mines, and a British machine gun from the famous battle of Passchendaele.
The unnamed new owner, who has an interest in war memorabilia, said in a statement through the Victoria Cross Trust: “Some of the items are very rare. There’s a uniform in the collection that is only one of three in the world.
“I want schools to visit to learn all about the war. They don’t get taught enough about the First World War in the classroom.”
All the items from Ypres will be transferred the museum in Doncaster over the coming months. At least two other private collections will be joining the Ypres Collection in Doncaster.
The museum, called Ashworth Barracks, is owned by the Victoria Cross Trust and is open to the public for the first time today.
Gary Stapleton, trust chairman, said: “We are all excited about this fantastic group of collections coming to Ashworth Barracks, and are honoured to have been chosen to act as custodians of such historically important items.
“I think this is as big a boost for tourism in Doncaster as the polar bears at Yorkshire Wildlife Park and believe it will attract visitors from all over the UK.”