A small veterans charity is seeking volunteers to help transform a historic military barracks in Paisley into a living museum and community hub.

The Western Desert Recce Group (WDRG) acquired the 19th-century Whitehaugh Barracks in a community asset transfer from Renfrewshire Council last year.

Since receiving the keys to the building in June, they have set to work on the much-needed repairs and renovations.

Group members get to work on the garageGroup members get to work on the garage (Image: WDRG)

Peter Scally, WDRG education officer said: "We’re now refurbishing the garage workshop, which will be a meeting hub for veterans to drop in. We’re going to have a men’s shed, a breakfast club, and a workshop within the garage area.

“But we’re also going to restore the main building, and turn it into a living history museum - as well as offices for other local community groups. Paisley Community Radio are thinking about taking a room, as are Paisley Camera Club, and we’re hoping to have other community groups in there once it’s restored.”

The barracks feature a rare surviving indoor trench, used to train soldiers during WW1, which Peter says visitors will be able to walk through once the museum is up and running.

WDRG members at a displayWDRG members at a display (Image: WDRG)

He also said that the charity is looking for volunteers to participate in the project - especially any artists or groups who would be able to help decorate the barracks with some murals.

“We’ve got these six big roller doors, probably about 12 feet square,” said Peter. “We’ve seen other doors and walls in Glasgow that have been painted by volunteer groups, and we thought it would be great if we could get somebody to paint some WW2 scenes.

“We’d love to have the doors decorated with paintings of the Clydebank Blitz, or Scottish WW2 hero David Stirling and his jeep, or the aircraft guns of the Clyde. It would really bring the place to life.”

The doors which WDRG are hoping to get paintingThe doors which WDRG are hoping to get painting (Image: WDRG)

Peter noted WDRG are also looking for anybody who might be able to help supply or fit a kitchen for the barracks, as well as encouraging anyone with an interest in historic military vehicles to get involved. He noted that the barracks are now open every Saturday, and veterans and non-vets alike are “most welcome” to pop in for a tea and a chat.

“We’re all military veterans,” he said. “Most of us are disabled. We collect for veterans, and our motto is ‘veterans helping veterans.’ “We restore vehicles that were used in the western desert in WW1 and WW2. Our chairman Gary, his father was in the long range desert group, so we try to keep the memory of that alive.”

Some of WDRG's historic vehiclesSome of WDRG's historic vehicles (Image: WDRG)

Among WDRG’s current collection is a 1909 Model T light patrol car, a number of WW2 Chevrolet trucks - one of which was rescued from the fall of Singapore - and a German motorbike and sidecar captured in the western desert.

The group showcase their vehicles at events across Scotland and the north east, as well as giving talks and displaying artefacts in schools.

“We’re always looking for other recruits,” said Peter. “You don’t need to have anything to do with the western desert, you just need to have an interest.”

More information can be found on the group’s Facebook page (Western Desert Recce Group SCIO): https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100069941674245.

Alternatively, email Peter Scally at: peter@wdrg.org.

The historic Whitehaugh barracksThe historic Whitehaugh barracks (Image: Supplied)