Sidmouth man Donald shows off his impressive memorabilia collection
PUBLISHED: 12:06 02 September 2017 | UPDATED: 17:03 06 September 2017
A 'fanatical' military memorabilia collector from Sidmouth has shared with the Herald his prized possessions that date back as far as the 1870s.
Donald Richards has amassed hundreds of items over the course of three decades, ranging from berets to ammunition shells and says he is not finished collecting.
The 82-year-old’s first piece was a board of medals belonging to a Coldstream Guard corporal that he discovered while working as a SWEB linesman at the Hare and Hounds pub.
Donald was told he could keep the medals as they would just be thrown out after the building they were found in was demolished.
The Sidmouth resident said he had no interest in becoming a collector while he served in the Devonshire Regiment.
Donald said: “I wasn’t interested when I was in the army. When I went into the TA that helped with the collection, I went to different countries and that was an opportunity of getting to know people and getting to know what regiments there were.”
The collector has berets that span the globe including from France, the Swiss Medical Corp, Canadian Legion, German army and air force, American Navy and a United Nations cap and badge.
Donald said: “Now that I am older, I go more for berets than for anything else, they are easier to pack away.”
He said wife Noreen does not mind that he has a separate room for his collection, which also spans into badges, guns, ammunition, helmets, military photographs and badges.
One of his favourite acquisitions is a home guard uniform which he spent nearly three years haggling for before swapping his rare Tiverton police badge.
But the reason he says for his extensive collection is down to searching shops and his knowledge of the subject.
He added: “If people can see your collection and if you can show that you know something about it.
“They like to think it will be looked after rather than sold, it’s very important to show that you know something about it.”