In a word, lots. We said a fond farewell to our Assistant Katie Bateman, who left the museum last May, and welcomed Harriet Huggins to the role of Assistant Curator. She has set about raising our online presence with social media, as can be see elsewhere on the site. We have also welcomed new volunteers into the museum and greatly appreciate how much time they devote to helping out behind the scenes and with visitors.
Our planned relocation to a new site has moved several steps forward with a large grant from the Intelligence Corps Association and the appointment of Trustees to lead this important project. The site at Milton Bryan contains the derelict recording studio of the Political Warfare Executive, a unit charged with sending black propaganda over the airwaves to the enemy, relying heavily on intelligence to achieve this. The building and grounds offer the potential to develop a world class museum more than twice the size of the current one, with new additions such as a cafe and education facility. Exciting times are ahead.
A wide range of artefacts have been donated to the museum over the past year, adding everything from documents and photographs, to medals and weapons, to the collection. The investigation of war crimes began in 1945 in Germany and Japan, and we accepted two Japanese knives into the collection that had belonged to Major General Yahagi who was investigated and later hanged for war crimes. The knives were confiscated from the owner by Intelligence Corps' Major Grimwood to prevent Yahagi using them on himself before justice could be done! Major Grimwood's son handed the knives into Suffolk police under a weapons amnesty and luckily PC Lock, an ex-Army Air Corps soldier, recognised their historic importance thus rescuing them from the threat of destruction. These objects will be included in a new display that focuses on the Intelligence Corps' involvement in the investigation of war crimes.
Evelyn Le Chene, widow of SOE hero Captain Pierre Louis Le Chene MBE, has most kindly added his French Resistance medals to her long-term loan of his other medals and items. This ever-growing display tells the story of his capture and of his defiance, courage, and perseverance in the face of brutal torture.
We are privileged to have been gifted the WW1 medals of Mabel Dymond Peel, along with her journal, documents, and photographs. These objects, of great rarity and significance, fill a huge gap in our collection. She was a part of the Hush WAACs, a dozen or so members of the Womens Army Auxiliary Corps who were employed to listen to German communications during the First World War. A new display featuring the Hush WAACs of WW1, the ATS of WW2 and the Cold War WRAC charts the assimilation of women into the modern Intelligence Corps.
This year we have completely changed the layout and displays in room two, known as the Intelligence Corps room. We have moved the Name of the Rose and the Honours and Awards interactives into the room to bring together all the Corps elements. Another medal cabinet has been purchased which will allow us to put every medal in our collection on permanent display.
2018 is a year of significant centenaries; the end of the Great War, women in the Army and the creation of the RAF to name but a few. The museum will commemorate as many as we can.