The following are examples of museum projects that have received support from The Gerry Holdsworth Special Forces Charity.

Imperial War Museum

The permanent ‘Secret War’ gallery in London’s Imperial War Museum, dedicated to the history of SOE, SIS, GCHQ, MI5, the SAS, the SBS and other British special forces, was financed by a grant from Sir Paul Getty. Opened in 1995, it received a comprehensive refurbishment, funded by the Gerry Holdsworth Trust, in 2012-14. This gallery has changed as part of the IWM updating its presentation of WW11 in 2020.

Grant to assist the IWM establish a special exhibition called Spies, Lies and Deception Special exhibition which is currently planned to run from September 2023 to March 2024 and further information can be found on the link below

Click here for details of the Spies, Lies and Deception exhibition (external site, opens in new tab/window)

Additional grants from the Trust have permitted the Imperial War Museum to collect and preserve the personal papers and memorabilia of dozens of former members of SOE and wartime special forces, as well as gather hundreds of hours of oral history testimonies.

Cataloguing projects funded by the Trust have allowed these collections to be made more easily available for public study. Important collections catalogued recently with Trust funding include the extensive papers of Brigadier Orde Wingate, Brigadier Mike Calvert, Vera Atkins and Jean Overton Fuller.

Click here to visit Secret War digitised archives and documentation (external site, opens in new tab/window).

Other museums

Several smaller museums have received assistance from the Trust:

  • Grant to the Combined Services Museum for the start of 3D digitisation of SOE artifacts which can be found on their website.
  • National Army Museum exhibition “Special Forces; Out of the Shadows” which presents concepts of security and secrecy through the lens of the British Special Forces. It offers a unique insight for visitors to explore the role of Special Forces within British society; from their origins to the present day.
  • National Museum of Intelligence and Special Operations USA. Grant to assist this new Museum in WDC and in particular telling the story of the connection between SOE and OSS.
  • Arisaig Land, Sea and Islands Centre. Grant for display cases for SOE artefacts to be displayed at the Centre.
  • Where ever possible supporting the cataloguing and digitisation of SOE related material so that it is more accessible to researchers and the public.
  • The work of the Scalloway Museum in commemorating the famous wartime ‘Shetland Bus’ link between the Shetland Isles and Norway.
  • Remembrance of the 70th anniversary for the liberation of Denmark 2nd-4th May 2015 and exhibition and dissemination initiative being led by the Holbaek Museum. The overall theme is cooperation between the Danish Resistance SOE and the RAF.
  • Digitisation of SOE testimony’s for storage and accessibility via The Keep in Brighton.
  • The Coastal Forces Heritage Trust-grant towards the permanent Coastal Forces exhibition at Portsmouth and in particular the 15th MTB Flotilla.
  • The British resistance archive.