Museum to honour man behind Dunkirk evacuation approved for Coldstream

A museum in honour of Admiral Ramsay has been approved in the Borders
A museum in honour of Admiral Ramsay has been approved in the Borders

Plans have been approved for a museum at the family home of the man who masterminded the evacuation of Dunkirk.

A former garden store will be converted at Bughtrig House in Coldstream to create the museum to honour Vice-Admiral Bertram Home Ramsay.

Operation Dynamo, which saw the rescue of more than 338,000 Allied soldiers, was run under the command of the admiral.

A report to Scottish Borders Council said the plans fitted with a regional tourism strategy and could attract visitors.

The trust behind the plans wants to address his low profile compared with some other wartime leaders.

A small museum could help to tackle that by raising awareness of his work.

The impact of World War Two on the Berwickshire area would also be examined.

As well as the display in honour of Admiral Ramsay on the ground floor a small letting bedroom, shower room and kitchenette would be created to allow visitors to stay overnight.

Bertram Home Ramsay was born on January 20, 1883 in London. Coming from a Scottish family, he studied at Colchester Royal Grammar School before joining the Royal Navy in 1898.

His first assignment was on H.M.S. Britannia before being transferred to H.M.S. Crescent.

He became a midshipman in the Royal Navy as a teenager and went on to command a destroyer in World War One.

Retiring as a Vice-Admiral in 1938, he acquired the estate in the Borders around the same time.

His retirement would not last long and with the collapse of the Allied front in northern France in 1940, he was put in charge of organising the evacuation from Dunkirk which earned him a knighthood.

By 1943 he was appointed naval commander in chief for Operation Overlord, the projected Allied invasion of northern France.

The ships under his command landed one million troops in France in one month starting from D-Day in June 1944.

On January 2, 1945, while travelling to Brussels to attend a meeting led by General Montgomery, his plane crashed on take-off in France.

Bertram Ramsay was killed instantly.

He is buried in the new cemetery of Saint-Germain-en-Laye in France.

A spokesman for Edinburgh’s REM Associates, agent for the application, said: “The aims of the museum are to educate people about the two great naval operations that Admiral Ramsay led – the Dunkirk evacuation and the D-Day landings.

“He was the figurehead for events which saw extreme bravery by many who served under him.”

The spokesman added: “This will be the only museum in his memory.”