Plans approved for Borders museum in memory of Dunkirk and D-Day naval chief

A museum dedicated to the naval chief responsible for masterminding the evacuation of allied forces from Dunkirk in France in 1940 is to be created at his family home in the Borders.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 12:20 pm
Bughtrig House, near Leitholm.

Scottish Borders Council planners have approved the conversion of a former garden store at Bughtrig House near Leitholm to host a display in memory of Royal Navy admiral Bertram Ramsay.

That application was submitted by the current owner of Bughtrig House, William Ramsay, the Second World War hero’s grandson.

Born in London in 1883, he became a midshipman in the Royal Navy in 1899 and commanded a destroyer during the First World War.

He became a rear admiral in 1935 but retired in 1938.

That retirement didn’t last long, however, as after the Second World War broke out in 1939 he was promoted to vice-admiral and appointed as commander-in-chief at Dover in Kent.

That role led to him being put in charge of organising the evacuation of allied forces from Dunkirk after northern France fell to the Germans.

In 1944, he was promoted to admiral and appointed naval commander-in-chief for Operation Overlord, the allied invasion of northern France.

Ships under his command landed more than a million troops in France in a month beginning with D-Day on June 6.

It was around that time that the family estate about to host a museum dedicated to his memory was acquired in the Borders.

Ramsay did not live to see the conclusion of the conflict he helped turn in the allies’ favour as he was killed in an aeroplane crash in January 1945 in France at the age of 61 while on his way to meet field marshal Bernard Montgomery.

A spokesperson for Edinburgh’s REM Associates, agent for the application, said: “The building is being rented by the Admiral Ramsay Museum on a 99-year lease from William Ramsay, the owner of Bughtrig House, in whose gardens the museum will be.

“It will be predominantly a museum, with attached to it one-bedroom accommodation, for holiday lets, which will help to pay the museum’s running costs.

“The gardens are already open to the public for three months each summer.

“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.

“They were perhaps the most famous naval operations of World War Two.

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

“It is also to educate people about the life and career of Admiral Ramsay and his leadership role.

“This will be the only museum in his memory.”