See inside the military museum in Rod Scott's garden with 1,200 guns, 150 swords, 900 medals and thousands of other items
As a child, when other boys his age were playing football, Rod Scott was more interested in having his own museum to showcase his passion for military memorabilia.
Now, aged 73 and after decades of collecting, Mr Scott has a museum in the garden of his West Suffolk home – boasting 1,200 guns, 150 swords, 900 medals and thousands of other items.
His treasure trove includes priceless pieces of history including one of the eight guns used to kill Bonnie and Clyde, a firearm which belonged to the man who escorted King Cetshwayo when he visited England and a gun carried by an officer in The Imjin, Korea.
He said: “I turned down £5 million for everything a few years ago.
“Why would I take it? What would I do?
“I would have to spend the rest of my life going around the world looking at other people’s museums.”
A collector from the age five, Mr Scott’s first items were two German helmets from the First and Second World Wars.
His dad, who served in the Royal Artillery, was a hairdresser and Mr Scott remembers placing a note on his dad’s mirror asking customers for ‘army stuff’.
“These were country boys who weren’t earning a lot of money and they would rather give a bayonet and I gave my dad a shilling or something,” he said.
“I then got to school and the boys had badges and we started swapping. When I started my apprenticeship, someone had a shotgun for sale and I bought that.”
On his passion, Mr Scott said: “You buy one and then you see something else that’s different – mechanically different – and the progress that’s made from one type of gun to another.
“You just become completely fascinated by it. I’m not particularly interested in shooting, however silly that might sound, but I love the technicality of it. They’re beautifully made.”
His oldest gun, a handheld cannon, dates from about 1600 and the most recent items are from the mid-1950s.
Mr Scott, who is vice-president of the Desert Rats Association and secretary of the Muzzle Loaders Association of Great Britain, occasionally opens the museum to visitors.
As a deterrent against the criminal use of guns, the retired carpenter thinks people should be educated about the damage firearms can cause.
“Guns are pieces of history and they should be treated with the greatest of respect,” he said.
“But people should be educated as to what they can do, then people will be a lot less likely to use them.
“It would hopefully prevent further gun crime.”
- Anyone who would like to visit Mr Scott’s museum, should contact him on 01359 270490.