Assembled by MOD Donnington, the collection includes weapons kept by regiments as souvenirs of famous actions and captured foreign weapons.
In 2010, under direction from The Under Secretary of State for Defence, the collection was gifted to the Combined Military Services Museum for public display.
Come and see one of Europe’s most extensive and historical Firearms collections here in Maldon!
See the equipment used by SOE secret agents during WW2 including booby traps and sabotage equipment. The top-secret Auxiliaries or ‘stay behinds’ are featured who were to remain behind enemy lines and do battle with the German’s should they invade.
The Cold War equipment includes an extensive selection of the real life James Bond style gadgets and covert weapons used by both Western and Russian spies.
The museum displays an amazing collection of ‘Special Forces’ equipment including the uniform or ‘black kit’ used by one of the members of 22nd Special Air Service during the raid to free the hostages.
You can also trace the roots of the Special Forces back to their formation a comprehensive display of uniforms through the ages.
A large collection of munitions can be found in the museum, ranging from artillery shells, bombs, fuses, grenades and missiles.
See the Famous Lutine Cannon, raised during operations to recover millions of pounds worth of Gold and Silver from the English Channel. The treasure still waits to be recovered.
Plates of armoured steel are displayed, showing how modern munitions can penetrate thick armour, and how bomb disposal has dealt with deadly unexploded bombs and booby traps through the ages.
Meticulous attention has been paid to each mannequin ensuring it is dressed in correctly dated uniforms and equipment from that particular era. Most are dressed in combat or marching order, laden with heavy loads of equipment
There are pilot and aircrew uniforms from flights earliest beginnings to the modern day jet pilot.
Medical equipment used from the Napoleonic period to the modern day will make you shudder.
We have on display equipment of the ARP, Home Guard, nurses and civilians. All of the various gas masks, ration books, identity cards and other every day, wartime, items can be viewed.
Of special interest are the artefacts from the various Zeppelin raids of the First World War. Although only fragments remain of these airships you can see how complicated the framework of the Zeppelin was and the ammunition that was used to bring them down.
Operation Frankton was a Commando raid on German ships which were using the French port of Bordeaux. Under the cover of darkness, 10 men in 5 canoes were to paddle 70 miles in enemy territory to plant limpet mines on the ships. Of the 10 Commandos who participated in the raid, only 2 survived.
Operation Frankton was immortalised in the film ‘The Cockleshell Heroes’.
The museum houses the only surviving Cockle Mk II canoe from the raid plus equipment and artefacts that cannot be seen anywhere else.
These range from ancient Bronze Age spear heads to Roman artefacts and a locally found Viking sword. Numerous examples of medieval suits of armour, chainmail, maces, axes, and primitive firearms are also on display.
The English Civil War section has many artefacts ranging from matchlock muskets and Pike-men’s armour to Cavalier clothing and marching drums. One of the country’s finest collections of 17th-18th century swords can also be seen. The aptly named ‘Wall of Steel’ on display in the entrance consists of peasant’s weapons, pikes, lances and spontoons.
This section is rounded off by Napoleonic period cannon, mortar bombs, naval dirks and cutlasses.