Military history passed down within a family

Family service continues through a large collection

Art Lyon of Sidney looks over some of the military hats from his collection

Connections made between his family and friends have opened up a supply of military collectables for Art Lyon.

Lyon owns an assortment of military items, but he is best known for his hats. A portion of his collection is currently on display at the Sidney Museum until Nov. 15 and includes Canadian, German, Bulgarian and Russian headwear from a variety of eras in time.

Lyon found he was interested in collecting headgear at an early age. His father Gerry was a Sergeant-Major in the Second World War and his grandfather, Lorn, was a sergeant in the artillery during the First World War (actually a blacksmith, as artillery in those days was pulled by horses). Art was in the militia, his dad’s brother was in the air force and he had a younger brother in the navy. There were also friends, family and workplace acquaintances with ties to various armed forces in a variety of countries. It was only natural that Art would come into possession of some hats, medals, uniforms and more.

Like other collectors, Lyon said he does it to honour the memory of his family and of the soldiers who wore the uniforms from many countries.

“I enjoy doing it,” he explained. “There are stories behind it and I particularly enjoy Canadian military history.

“It’s our heritage. Canada has fought in a great number of wars and we have a lot of heroes.”

Still an avid collector, Lyon always keeps his eyes open for unique items and keeps track of how he came across his finds in his head. That knowledge, however, will not be lost when Lyon calls it a day — his own son is interested in continuing the family collection, meaning the stories and the history will remain alive and within the Lyon family for years to come.