Army forms new ‘mon­u­ments men’ unit

Timeless Travels Magazine - - ARCHAEOLOG­ICAL NEWS -

The British Army is putting to­gether a team to pro­tect art and ar­chae­ol­ogy in war. The newly cre­ated Cul­tural Prop­erty Pro­tec­tion Unit (CPPU) is led by Lt. Col Tim Pur­brick, a for­mer Gulf War tank com­man­der. The new unit will draw on mem­bers of the Army, Navy, RAF and Royal Marines. Civil­ians who want to join will have to en­list in the Army Re­serves.

Once up and run­ning, the 15-strong unit will be sent into war zones where art and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal sites are at risk from fight­ing.

“It’s a re­vival of the Mon­u­ments Men, which was dis­banded at the end of the Se­cond World War,” Lt Col Pur­brick, of the Royal Lancers, said.“We’re look­ing for ex­perts in the fields of art, ar­chae­ol­ogy and art crime in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

The CPPU will be tasked with pro­tect­ing art and ar­chae­ol­ogy, in­ves­ti­gat­ing loot­ing, bring­ing smug­gling gangs to jus­tice and in­form­ing al­lied forces about the lo­ca­tion of cul­tural her­itage sites.

At the Merk­ers salt mines in cen­tral Ger­many, Amer­i­can GIs ad­mire Édouard Manet’s In the Con­ser­va­tory, one of the thou­sands of rare works and doc­u­ments stored there by the Nazi regime late in World War II.

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