By Robert G. Segel

In July, the SAREF (Small Arms Review Expeditionary Force) made their annual pilgrimage to England to visit, inspect and catalog arms collections around the UK. Participants this year were Matt Babb, Dolf Goldsmith, Frank Iannamico, Phil Dater, Robert Segel, Dan Shea, Joe White, and Kyle Shea.

Shrivenham, a large village in Oxfordshire, England is the location of the UK military colleges. Now known as the Defence College of Management and Technology, which is part of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, it is a British postgraduate school, research institution and training provider formed in 2003 from five departments of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, and as such is part of the British Armed Forces.

The Shrivenham Campus is home to Defence Academy HQ, JSCSC (Joint Services Command and Staff College) and DA-CMT (Defence Academy College of Management and Technology. The JSCSC trains the future commanders and staff officers of all three UK Armed Services and those from many countries around the world. The DA-CMT, with its headquarters and principal operating base at Shrivenham, is the largest of the three main colleges of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom and develops and delivers high quality education, training and advice in core and functional competences, technology, acquisition, management and leadership, together with relevant aspects of security and resilience to students in Defence and the wider security area in order to enhance the delivery of defense capability.

The SAREF has had the privilege of maintaining a close relationship with caretakers of the small arms collection that is housed as a tangible resource for the students to study and familiarize themselves with a wide variety of historical and modern small arms. The arms are racked in the open and available for hands-on study - not encased in glass cabinets for a look-but-don’t-touch typical museum-type display. The collection at the Defence Academy is not available for viewing by the general public. One must be either attending the school, in the UK military, or have established credentials. There is no question that the members of the SAREF are leaders in their respective areas of interest in the small arms field whether writer, researcher, historian or collector.

In years past, we have concentrated our study strictly on the small arms collection by cataloging and photographing their collection and, this year, one of our members even left some of his DNA (blood) on the wood floor from a rather severe tool cut that required a visit to the British Health system (Surprised us with its efficiency!), and stitches. But this year, we were also allowed access and taken on a special tour of their armour, artillery, grenade, rocket and explosives collection. This is a rarely seen collection that is part of the educational program of the Defence Academy for senior military officers.

We are sincerely grateful for the openness and hospitality of the Defence Academy who graciously afforded us the opportunity to be allowed access to the restricted campus to view, handle, study and photograph their small arms collection.

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review SAW (December 2012)
and was posted online on November 23, 2012


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