decommissioned rocket launcher

Combined Military Services Museum (review)

There aren’t many places that I fancy visiting. When I pulled up outside the Combined Military Services Museum I instantly knew it had been worth dragging myself out for the day. So much so, when a coach pulled up behind me I hurried in and paid my entrance fee super fast, to avoid waiting behind them.

I needn’t have worried. The location is a tardis. Large enough to have displays packed full of interesting articles from the year dot til the present. It covers three floors and has the largest gun collection I’ve ever seen – not that I’m used to viewing arsenals. These guns are decommissioned and all have an amazing history.

Each artefact is displayed with information regarding it’s use, it’s place in time and sometimes, where it was obtained from. The dedication from the staff who work within this museum is apparent. No artefact is displayed without some information.

I came across the gun which was made specifically to kill Adolf Hitler. It didn’t get used to kill Hitler, as the plan to get the assassin close enough failed.

the gun designed to kill hitler
British made Parker Hale silencer on a Luger for Operation Foxley

You’re in for a treat if you like guns, as there are several huge, secure cabinets filled with them. From the tiniest pistols – which could be hidden in a lady’s muff – to a large red cannon (with a sign warning people not to sit on it!) and everything in between, including shotguns and plates showing evidence of the army’s supersonic guns.

It may be that some weapons seem to have gotten smaller and more deadlier over the centuries but there is no denying the brutality intended in these knives, some dating from 1500’s. There is every kind of bladed weapon ever invented both ornamental and practical including rapiers, spontoons and medieval swords dating from 1300’s.

Historical dagger collection from Combined Military Museum
Historical dagger collection display kept at the combined military museum.

As I journeyed through the museum – which thanks to an internal lift was easy – I marvelled at how technology and the military have walked hand in hand through our history. On the first floors there some amazing full body armours and some unusual facial armour used to scare and protect – the psychological effect as important then as it is now.

OldHistoricalProtectiveArmourFacial
Displayed protective headgear at the combined military museum currently based in Colchester, UK.

There is information about how England was kept safe as possible during the world wars. From the tiniest scrap of material being used to hide simple things like compasses to the most up to date scientific devices hidden in pens.

It is amazing how together a country has to be to defend itself and keep safe. One display, about WW2 explains how some incidents were not reported in the press, purely so the enemy would believe their plans had failed. Such was the successful plan with a tiny little gas bomb the Germans dropped on England.

Spending three hours in this museum was easy and I feel like I still could go back and see loads that I missed. It may not be an ideal place for easily bored children but for accessibility and entertainment value I couldn’t fault it. It even has a small area to grab a hot drink – although manned by a machine.

You wouldn’t know it’s location unless you looked for it but as you approach you sure can’t miss the Combined Military Services Museum. These are parked at the front.

Tank, combined Military Museum
Tank brought back to the UK by armed forces. Now parked in Colchester England Combined Military Museum.

Check online for it’s website and opening hours. Visit, and you won’t be disappointed.https://www.cmsm.co.uk/

By Samantha “unextraordinarybint” Harris, a writer based in United Kingdom.

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