Military Museum Scotland given £70k grant for armoured car project

The project aims to support veterans in the community.The project aims to support veterans in the community.
The project aims to support veterans in the community.
The project aims to support and bring together veterans.

An award-winning museum in West Lothian has been given a £70,000 grant to buy and restore a Saracen armoured personnel carrier as a project for local veterans.

The Military Museum Scotland has been awarded the money by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, a trust which supports Armed Forces personnel in civilian life and aims to integrate military and civilian communities.

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While the Saracen will eventually be put on display at the museum, the main function of its restoration is as a project to bring veterans together and encourage them to integrate more into civilian society.

The Saracen tank which will be restored.The Saracen tank which will be restored.
The Saracen tank which will be restored.

“The grant we have received is for more than just the physical restoration of the Saracen, the whole project is mainly for military veterans, from all services, to come together, plan how the project will progress, work together, learn new skill and utilise skills that are maybe long forgotten,” said Ian Inglis, Curator of the Military Museum Scotland.

He added: “Some of the veterans already involved in the project suffer from PTSD and some have physical disabilities.

“We also plan to include some training courses for the veterans, including First Aid and Mental Health First Aid.

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“This project will also encourage the veterans to get more involved socially and to help then integrate more into society.”

Mr Inglis founded the museum in 2016, as a permanent version of the mobile military museum which he had been bringing to schools for three years.

Many veterans volunteer around the site, helping to welcome guests and with maintenance work.

“Military Museum Scotland is more than just a museum, it has become a hub for veterans, with lots of other veterans’ charities utilising the museum facilities," said Mr Inglis.

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The museum also hosts regular Breakfast Clubs as a gathering for veterans.

The restoration of the Saracen is the largest community project undertaken by the museum.

The museum, which stands on land rented from the Scottish War Blinded in Wilkieston, also houses a genuine field kitchen, formerly used in the army to cater for up to 1,500 men.

The pots and pans, some dating from as far back as 1945, will be used for catering events as well as display items which visitors are welcome to pick up and touch.

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A fundraising campaign was set up by the museum in the summer to raise enough money to purchase the Saracen, which was delivered to the museum in November.

"Seven months ago we set up a fundraising campaign to raise funds to purchase and to restore a Saracen APC," said Mr Inglis.

"This is a British Armoured car built from 1952 but was more recognisable during the troubles in Northern Ireland throughout the 70s and 80s.

"We decided to purchase this vehicle, not as an artefact for Military Museum Scotland, but more of a restoration project for the veterans that come along to the museums Breakfast Club and Drop-in."

He added: “If there are any veterans who are keen to help out and get involved, please get in touch with Military Museum Scotland on [email protected]."