A German general’s car seized by the Royal Sussex Regiment in the Second World War is being restored to working condition at an Eastbourne museum.
General Hans-Jürgen von Arnim drove his staff car to his surrender to British forces comprising the Royal Sussex Regiment in 1943.
The Steyr four by four command vehicle was seized and has since been owned by the Royal Sussex Collection at the Redoubt military museum for 30 years.
But now, due to the museum being deemed unfit to house artefacts, the car is to be restored to working order and displayed around the country.
Trustees have decided it will go on long term loan to the Invicta Military Vehicle Preservation Society (IMPS), to be a working exhibit at shows.
Barry Lane, trustee at the Royal Sussex Collection, said, “It’s a much better option for the car to be shown to people rather than stuck in a museum.”
He added, “It will be a fully functioning, living advertisement for the regiment’s collection and will be seen by far more people than if it was a static display.”
Chris Freeman, an engineer for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, is among those responsible for the vehicle’s dismantling, which will take place over the weekend of November 19-20. It will be removed altogether from the Redoubt the following weekend for restoration.
Hans-Jürgen von Arnim was Erwin Rommel’s replacement as commander of the Army Group Africa, and was promoted to general rank in 1942.
When the general arrived to discuss terms of surrender at Cap Bon, Tunisia, in 1943, he came through the lines of the first battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment, who were serving with the fourth Indian Division.
Then Von Arnim was transported to Allied Headquarters, before being interned along with other German officers at Camp Clinton, Mississippi, and released in 1947. He died in 1962.
Set up in 1980, the IMPS was formed by a group of military vehicle enthusiasts and has since grown in membership to more than 1,200 people.
The society, which has displayed its work before The Queen, holds meetings at The Plough Inn at Plumpton.
For more information visit www.eastbournemuseums.co.uk/royal-sussex-regiment
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