Picture: Alan Grover holds the special award presented to him on his retirement as Secretary of FAMM, December 2010. His wife, Lorna, holds the Victor Waller Award for 2010, which she was awarded in recognition of her service as Membership Secretary of FAMM and a volunteer at the Museum.
It was with great sadness that we learned of the death of Alan Grover on 3rd June 2018. Alan was one of the most loyal and active members of the Friends of the Aldershot Military Museum and he will be greatly missed.
Alan was a proud Aldershot man all his life, who was born and grew up in Grosvenor Road. As a young man Alan wanted to join the Army but poor eyesight prevented this. Instead he worked for the electricity company, before he joined the National Westminster Bank. Alan had many interests, including cricket, the Round Table, and the Rowhill Nature Reserve. Aldershot history and military history were two of his great passions, and he was involved with the Aldershot Military Museum from its early days, being one of the first volunteers. He gave practical help to numerous projects, including the re-assembly of both Montgomery’s Barn and the Boyce Building when they were moved to the Museum site.
When the Friends of the Aldershot Military Museum were formed in 1987, Alan was one of the founder members and served for many years on the Committee. He took over as Secretary in 2002 and served in the role until 2010. Among his many achievements during this time was his work with the Charities Commission to successfully establish FAMM as a registered charity in its own right, after the disbandment of the old Aldershot Military Historical Trust under whose charitable status FAMM had previously operated. His wife, Lorna, also served as a volunteer at the Museum, running the shop for many years, and she was the Membership Secretary of the Friends until she also stood down in 2010.
When the Victor Waller Memorial Award was founded in 2003, Alan was overwhelmingly nominated as the first recipient. The Award recognises whoever has done the most for the Museum in a voluntary capacity over the preceding year, and Alan was a clearly deserving winner for the outstanding work he had done on the re-erection of the Boyce Building. Alan worked indefatigably on the building in all weathers, hammering, drilling and fixing, to get the walls lined and cladded, make the building weatherproof, and get the interior rebuilt. The work Alan had done was a wonderful example of how the volunteers get on with their tasks in a quiet and unassuming way, giving the vital practical assistance which projects such as the Boyce Building need to bring them to a successful conclusion.
Alan’s knowledge of Aldershot history was unrivalled, and he was always willing to share his knowledge and help with any venture to promote the town’s heritage. He also had an inexhaustible fund of anecdotes for every occasion, and while talking with Alan on any subject he would always say “Did you know that ...”, or “Did you hear about ...”, and there would follow another entertaining story. In that spirit, a story about Alan which illustrates his character occurred in 2007, when a group of Friends were photographing St Omer Barracks before its demolition, as part of our overall project to record all the garrison before its re-development. Our Army guide allowed us onto the roof of the famous St Omer Tower, but just being on the main roof was not enough for Alan, who spotted that in the centre of the roof there was another smaller, central construction with a ladder up the side. Alan immediately headed for the ladder, determined to get to the very highest point of the building. “But you are a pensioner”, said our guide, “you can’t go up that ladder”. To this Alan replied along the lines of “I’ve been climbing ladders all my life and I’m not going to stop now”, and without further ado he was up the ladder and on to the roof to achieve his goal of getting to the very top, not missing this one opportunity of seeing over Aldershot from this vantage point.
With Alan’s passing we lose another connection with the beginnings of the Museum and the Friends. We will miss his knowledge, his humour, and above all the warmth of his character and his friendship.
Picture: Alan Grover (left) receives the first Victor Waller Award from the then FAMM Chairman, Paul Vickers, in December 2003.