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The First World War militaria collection of a man who spent a decade sharing his specialist knowledge as a volunteer at the National Memorial Arboretum is to go up for auction.

David Bryant, who died shortly before Christmas aged 71, was particularly interested in the Birmingham Pals – infantry battalions of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment – and the Tank Regiment.

He would make pilgrimages to memorials in France and Belgium and place specially-printed crosses on soldiers’ graves.

David Bryant

As a meet and greet volunteer tour guide at the National Memorial Arboretum, David carried out guided and buggy tours and the depth of his knowledge continually impressed visitors, fellow volunteers and staff alike.

Now his carefully-accumulated collection of World War One memorabilia and medals is being sold in Lichfield by Richard Winterton Auctioneers on 22nd June.

It includes an archive of more than 200 books, framed medals, memorial death plaques to fallen soldiers including Birmingham Pals, cap badges, trench art and photograph albums with WW1 postcards.

One poignant lot features a knife handle found on a battlefield site and a crucifix made from inactive ammunition.

A spokesperson for David’s family said:

“David was very particular with what he acquired for the collection – every item had to be something he could research.

“Birmingham Pals was his pet subject along with World War One tanks. He knew all the history.

“We are so proud of everything David accomplished and we want his collection to go to people who really care and will appreciate it.”

Spokesperson for David Bryant’s family

The entire collection is estimated to fetch more than £2,000.

The proceeds of the sale will go to David’s children, Hayley and Nick.

Richard Winterton Auctioneers’ medals and militaria specialist, Nick Thompson, said:

“This is a beautiful collection of WW1 militaria which has been lovingly put together with a great deal of passion and knowledge.

“It will particularly appeal to collectors who are interested in Birmingham Pals.”

Nick Thompson, Richard Winterton Auctioneers

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