Missile set to be sure-fire success

Gunner Ronnie Lewis(top) and Lance Bombardier James Mills pictured fitting a missile to the Rapier missile unit at the Heugh Gun Battery.

Gunner Ronnie Lewis(top) and Lance Bombardier James Mills pictured fitting a missile to the Rapier missile unit at the Heugh Gun Battery.

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A MISSILE system used by the British Army and the Royal Air Force has been installed in a town museum.

The Rapier missile system is the latest addition at the Heugh Gun Battery, on Hartlepool’s Headland.

The weapon, similar to the one used in the Falklands, was brought into town by members of the 16th Regiment Royal Artillery earlier this week.

It now takes pride of place at the Heugh Gun Battery, and provides what museum bosses have described as a “popular, modern addition” to their display.

It is believed to be one of only two of the systems on display in museums throughout the country.

John Southcott, chairman of the Battery, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to bits.

“We have been trying to get one of these at Heugh for the last 12 months, so when we found out we had secured it we were over the moon.

“It was an exciting time bringing it to the museum.”

Despite an impressive and unique line up of exhibits for people to enjoy at the Battery, the Rapier system is the very first missile they have had installed.

John added: “This is very much a link in the chain for us.

“We have displays and information from the First World War, Second World War and this very much extends the timeline of the Battery through to the Cold War and the Falklands.”

The missile went on display for the first time yesterday and by mid-morning had already attracted the interest of a large group of visitors.

Staff at the facility expect the large level of interest to remain for quite some time.

“I do think this will prove very popular,” said John.

“The fact it’s our first missile gives our visitors something a little different to enjoy.

“I hope they are as pleased with it as we are.”

The museum is open Thursday-Sunday from 10am-4pm. Last entry is 3.30pm.