Hello and hi. The other week I found myself at The Tank Museum in Dorset, UK. And when I say ‘found’ just know that I did not accidentally stumble upon it. I did not even go willingly. Truth be told, due to all the Quaker learning I received in school, growing up, in Washington DC, I know precious little about military history and of course I know even less about tanks. But now I do. I sure do. I know more about tanks than you..probably. The above picture is a German Tiger Tank and was probably used in North Africa. Later, it was damaged in battle, abandoned by the crew who should have destroyed it, but they ran off-I am told. The tank now refurbished, now sits gingerly in The Tank Museum. That being said, let’s get down to brass tacks…walk with me on a tour of The Tank Museum.
The Tank Museum
The Tank Museum (previously The Bovington Tank Museum) is a collection of armoured fighting vehicles at Bovington Camp in Dorset, South West England. With approximately 300 vehicles on exhibition from 26 countries-it is the largest collection of tanks and the THIRD largest collection of armoured vehicles around the world. The collection includes Tiger 131, the only working example of a German Tiger I tank and a British First World War Mark I, the world’s oldest surviving combat tank. Pretty impressive. I was impressed. Yes, yes I was.
And while I have no idea of who these people are pictured below. You better believe I touched the tank just as they did, which sat outside The Tank Museum.
In 1916, the British War Office established the Bovington camp as a tank crew training facility. At that time, the Army was introducing tanks into the First World War in an attempt to break the stagnation of trench warfare. War. What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. That being said, in 1919, the tanks returned to Bovington from France-as many of them were fit only for scrap. However, a small number of the least damaged vehicles were put aside to that tank crews and designers could have access to the tank’s early heritage. This is how musuems are born, apparently.
In 1923, writer Rudyard Kipling visited Bovington and recommended a museum should be set up. The collection grew after the Second World War, as many Allied and captured Axis tanks were added. In 1947, it was opened to the general public. Today, The Tank Museum continues to expand and is primarily seen as means of educationg and entertaining the general public. Many of the tanks are in working order and can be seen in action throughout the summer months in special delays. In addition, the museum holds an annual TankFest display of their operating vehicles and visiting vehicles.
And while I was there I saw this American Patton Tank
More pictures of tanks. Stay with me people…
WW2 Russian Tank
In brief, the following exhibitions were on at The Tank Museum:
- The Tank Story, 1915-Present Day
- The Trench Experience, France 1916
- Tank Men-The Story of the First Crews
- The Second World War (this included “Fury-The Exhibition”-you know, as in the movie, with Brad Pitt)
- Warhorse to Horsepower-The Rise of Tanks
- Battlegroup Afghanistan-Helmand Province 2011
- Tank Factory (examined the industrial world of design, manufacture and assembly)
- The Vehicle Conservation Centre. Just more tanks
So, I spent the day at The Tank Museum. And guess what? I actually returned 2 days later. This is because when you purchase your ticket-you get free admission for 1 year (just make sure you bring ID-they do check). So, it was a good time and I learned a lot. Initially I had thought that going to The Tank Museum was quite a man-child thing to do, but I was pleasantly surprised. I learned loads. Oh and there is a very good gift shop there as well. I had a great time at The Tank Musuem-Tanks for the memories! Really sorry about that peeps. Anyway, here is the link for The Tank Museum. Have a great time if you go…and you should go. http://www.tankmuseum.org/home