Combined Military Services Museum

Combined Military Services Museum, Maldon

Combined Military Services Museum

Combined Military Services Museum
5
Military Museums • Speciality Museums • History Museums
Wednesday
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:30 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Experience a journey through British military history beginning on the brutal medieval battlefields, through the Crimean & Napoleonic Wars and, WWI & WWII to current day conflicts. Discover the secretive worlds of Spies, their gadgets, weapons and disguises. Learn about Special Forces, the Special Operations Executive and their daring operations. See stunning displays of combat uniforms; be astonished by one of Europe's largest public display of Firearms. Squirm at the medical equipment used on battlefields and learn the personal stories behind the medals and the weapons. Read intimate accounts from the dairies of British Soldiers. See swords, armour, missiles and so much more! Discover Britain's Military History by seeing only genuine artefacts. Tier 2 Restrictions - please book ahead for households or support bubbles up to 6 people. We aim to be COVID-19 secure and will ask for track & trace information and you will need to wear a mask. Sorry only support dogs allowed.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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Popular mentions

5.0
358 reviews
Excellent
298
Very good
56
Average
3
Poor
0
Terrible
1

JohnnyBforBacon
England, UK17 contributions
Dec 2021 • Friends
Had my eye on visiting this little gem for a while and finally got there just before Christmas. Was initially greeted by the friendly staff who gave us an overview of what was on display. Making our way through the three levels, every now and again one of the gentlemen would approach and give some facts about what we were looking at which was really appreciated & made the experience more interactive. The amount of artefacts held are quite incredible, especially the Cold War stuff which was really interesting. Overall i would advise a visit in a heartbeat if you’re a fan of military from pretty much any era. Its really well set out and had a huge amount to offer. I expect to make another visit in the next few months. Finally to the staff - thank you for your service at the museum and your understanding of the history behind all you keep. Your dedication and interest really shows and makes the experience even better than any ‘main stream’ museum could ever offer.
Written 14 January 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Callum
Chelmsford, UK13 contributions
Nov 2021 • Family
it’s really interesting there you can learn so many things and try on the clothes and good we Family and friends
Written 15 December 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

David S
4 contributions
Sep 2021
Fascinating and interesting collection of militaria through the ages spread over 3 floors, including SOE, Intelligence and Special Forces material. It imparts a lot of information and all of the exibits are very well documented. My only observation/criticism would be that it is a wee bit disjointed and eclectic, and could be organised somewhat better as regards periods of history
Written 18 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Tyler P
Thorpe Bay, UK24 contributions
Aug 2021 • Family
Inpromptu visit to the museum and really happy we did. Much better than expected, kids loved looking at the 3 floors of military goods. Staff went the extra mile and gave us some great talks about some of the items.
Very good visit.
Written 30 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

sid13
Maldon, UK586 contributions
Aug 2021 • Family
Went there today as wanted to visit some local attractions with our grandsons.

This is well laid out over a few floors with lots to see, something for all ages.

As we came back to the exit a nice friendly chap open up one of the gun cases so myself and the grandsons could hold a few guns and told us all about them which was an added bonus.

The only very small negative is they have vending machines but they only accept cash not cards so we couldn’t get a drink while there.

Free to park outside and a place to sit if you want to stop.

Worth a visit at a fair price.
Written 26 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

JB from Colchester
1 contribution
Aug 2021
This is an incredibly well-curated museum with some amazing and unique items. For example, there's:
- 'James Bond' things - two of the agents Ian Fleming knew personally, with a mass of spy paraphernalia.
- one of the "Cockleshell Heroes" canoes
- Bomber Harris's uniform
There's lots of weaponry (medieval to current-day), explosives (canons, mortars, grenades) plus equipment (radio's, spy things, uniforms, medals etc), photo's and life stories.
The staff/volunteers (Daphne was the main person we spoke to ) were incredibly helpful, welcoming and enthusiastic.
If you visit, don't forget to Gift Aid , if you can.
I think there may have been 3 tanks here in the past but these have moved to somewhere where they won't be attacked by the corrosive sea air.
Facilities: there's a couple of drinks machines upstairs (nb no cafe anymore), a small giftshop, toilets, a lift and free parking in front (plus some more at the side).
You could easily spend 2-3 hours in this place, if you take the time to read all the stories and incredibly-detailed labels on everything.
Written 19 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Joanne Williams
3 contributions
Aug 2021
I took my 13-year-old son who's really into militaria and military history. Personally, I didn't expect to get much out of the experience because I don't like guns and weapons. I was wrong. Contrary to my expectations, the museum brought to life the human history behind the exhibits on display and we both thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

One of my favourite objects amongst the Medieval- Early Modern era collections on the ground floor was the 10th century Viking sword that was found locally and may have been held in the hand of a warrior at the Battle of Maldon in 991. Being Welsh, my other favourite was a chain mail glove recovered from the battle site at which Owain Glyndŵr defeated Mortimer’s English forces in 1402. Another object that caught my attention was a beautifully crafted 16th century crossbow that had lain undiscovered in a Scottish castle for 450 years. I got the shivers looking at the swords, maces and flails, imagining how these weapons were wielded in battle; they reminded me that much of our history is defined by war and conflict. The other thing I came to appreciate and hadn't really thought about was the craftmanship behind the weaponry and armour; although I detest their purpose, I can’t help but admire the human skill, invention and artistry behind them.

The collections on the upper floors were equally fascinating with displays and artifacts that went beyond militaria, including teeth-clenching exhibits of medical and surgical tools and the bizarre world of espionage and spying. The gasmask exhibits and the mannequins modelling uniforms and equipment were intriguing but spooky (it’s a great place, but don’t think I’d want to spend A Night at the Museum here!). At every turn there’s something of interest to look at; it was only as I was about to descend from the upper floor that I saw, mounted on the wall above the staircase, the remnants of a standard that bore witness to to the battles fought by 'The Bloody Eleventh' in the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century. Even though the museum building is a modest size, the displays are so well designed that it doesn’t feel cramped or cluttered - great care and thought has clearly gone into the museum’s layout.

Meanwhile, whilst I had deep philosophical thoughts, my son had a ball! On the ground floor, there's a large box of armour which visitors can try on; he enjoyed posing in the knight's helmet and chainmail. Amongst the many things he delighted in pointing out to me was the world’s smallest pistol and the canoe used by two of the Cockle Shell Heroes. The icing on the proverbial cake had to be the two enthusiastic male volunteers staffing the museum who went out of their way to share their knowledge and tell us more about the displays. And that Viking sword I liked so much, one of the volunteers allowed us to hold a replica. Before we left, there was one last surprise experience in store for my son; the volunteers took two guns out of a display case and, with great care and supervision, allowed him to hold them – one of the guns was a Luger PO8 dating from 1916 and my son looked at it in awe as he listened attentively to what he was being told about it. I think that image of my son reverently holding history in his gloved hands is the one that says it all about the CMSM.

I’ve been to a lot of museums around the world in my lifetime and I can honestly say that the CMSM ranks among the best of them. All that’s left to say to the museum and their amazing volunteer staff is “well done, keep up the great work and thank you”.
Written 18 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Michelle B
Essex, UK2 contributions
Aug 2021
What a gem!!! We thoroughly enjoyed our visit - I can't believe how much there is to see. Guns, swords, armour, helmets, medals, bombs, grenades, everything you could possibly think of. The spy bit was amazing, I'd never heard of Peter Mason but will be looking him up later - the original James Bond. A great afternoon.
Written 15 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Dr Tony M
London, UK728 contributions
Aug 2021
A great visit. Spent over an hour looking around. The highlight was looking at the Peter Mason exhibits. Peter Mason was the real James Bond and the person Ian Flemming based his books on. Everything from clothing, secret devices to a massive array of guns and knives. Also some of his wife's weapons - she was an agent too.
Written 3 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your kind review. We are glad you enjoyed your visit and hope you will come again.
Written 5 August 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lynn B
Hampton, UK4 contributions
Jul 2021 • Couples
Amazing museum, so unexpected, like the Tardis.
What doesn’t it cover, including female military personnel.
A trip down memory lane for 1 of our party.
From Napoleonic wars to now.
SAS history, Inspiration for James Bond.
Well worth a visit👍
Written 3 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your review. Yes we certainly are like a TARDIS! I am glad you noticed we are building up our collection of female military representations too. I hope you will visit us again.
Written 5 August 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Combined Military Services Museum

Combined Military Services Museum is open:
  • Wed - Sun 10:30 - 17:00

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