Fragments from history of advance on Berlin

Brian Dooks ITEMS from the bunker in Berlin where Hitler committed suicide are part of a new exhibition tracking the Allied advance across Europe after D-Day, at the Green Howards Regimental Museum in Richmond. From Normandy to Berlin includes keys, parts of a radio and carpet from Hitler's headquarters, alongside British and German uniforms, documents and photographs telling the story of how British troops fought their way into Germany.

Present at the opening ceremony yesterday were Second World War veterans Philip Burkinshaw, from Richmond, and Phil May from West Witton, near Leyburn, the son of the caricaturist, Fred May.

Mr Burkinshaw, now in his 80s, was a captain in the 12th Battalion (Yorkshire) The Parachute Regiment, formed from the Green Howards.

He was dropped by parachute at Arnhem and advanced into Germany. Mr May was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion The Green Howards in Berlin in 1945.

Part of the exhibition focuses on local hero Regimental Sergeant Major Clarence "Lofty" Peacock who won the Military Medal in Palestine in 1939, and the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) on the last day of the war in 1945.

He was awarded the DCM when he was a Company Sergeant Major and led a successful attack on a German machine-gun post, after all his officers except an inexperienced 2nd Lieutenant had been killed or wounded.

Two of Major Peacock's sons, Joe and Walter, were at the exhibition's opening.

They both followed their father into the Green Howards. Joe became a Drum Major and Walter an Orderly Room Sergeant Major.

From Normandy to Berlin was opened by Dr Peter Liddle, the military historian and Director of The Second World War Experience Centre in Leeds, which collects and preserves material and information about men and women who took part in the war in any capacity.

The Green Howards Museum is open in February and March from Monday to Friday between 10am and 4.30pm.

Further details are available on its website, www.greenhowards.org.uk/museum.