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Bovington Tank Museum 2016-17


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Is the tank Museum planning a 'spectacular' for 2017? edit or 2016?

As a small child I lived for 3 glorious years in Bovington, where every weekend we were allowed to climb on tanks at the museum and injure ourselves. A lot. Joy. The last time I went (after a 40 year absence) no-one was allowed to climb on the tanks which seems to rather undermine the whole raison d'etre of a tank Museum. As any fule kno a five year-old and the manual traverse on a Mk I Tiger tank have an attraction value greater than the Ring in Tolkein's classic.

I cant make head or tail of the online tank Museum blurb. What is happening and when please?

MG

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They have something planned for 2016, to commemorate the first use of tanks in Sep 1916. I don't think there is a spectacular planned for 2017.

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They have something planned for 2016, to commemorate the first use of tanks in Sep 1916. I don't think there is a spectacular planned for 2017.

Thanks. I was thinking of Cambrai. Maybe I should amend the title....

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There has been a lot of debate between the main players (The Armour Centre, The Royal Tank Regiment, and the Tank Museum) as to how best to commemorate the various milestones, battles and other events. I think it is fair to say that none of those 3 have finalised their plans, partly because they need to see what the Government, the wider Army, the French, and a large number of other interested parties are up to.

Cambrai 2017 will be a big affair in Cambrai, aimed at the serving Regiment but also catering for the wider Regimental family. There are no specific plans yet for Arras, Messines or 3rd Ypres although many of us will be there or thereabouts in Apr/May, Jun, and Jul - Oct 17. The Battles of Gaza will hopefully be marked by me laying a wreath in Gaza.

Plans for the Somme in 2016 are still a little fluid although news that the Army Staff Ride will be in the Flers area in Sep 16 may give us an opportunity to get some senior visitors.

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It doesn't surprise me their plans are as incomprehensible as their displays are chaotic. Unless you already knew different, you could think that Matilda Is were fighting King Tigers at El Alamein, or even that Little Willie was a contemporary of the Panther.

Regards,

MikB

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I agree MikB - I took my children this summer (first time I had been since a child). They enjoyed the tanks etc. but struggled with the context of the vehicles etc.

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Work is underway to produce a new exhibition covering the tanks in action from 1916-18, looking at both vehicles and crewmen who fought in them,

This exhibition is due to open in March 2016 and the Museum is also refreshing the extant Trench Experience.

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Is the tank Museum planning a 'spectacular' for 2017? edit or 2016?

As a small child I lived for 3 glorious years in Bovington, where every weekend we were allowed to climb on tanks at the museum and injure ourselves. A lot. Joy. The last time I went (after a 40 year absence) no-one was allowed to climb on the tanks which seems to rather undermine the whole raison d'etre of a tank Museum. As any fule kno a five year-old and the manual traverse on a Mk I Tiger tank have an attraction value greater than the Ring in Tolkein's classic.

I cant make head or tail of the online tank Museum blurb. What is happening and when please?

MG

I hope to get to the Tank Museum some time soon, wife just become a member of Monkey World next door, so she MUST go. Have not told her yet that she may be at Monkey World on her own.

Your line about Five year old's and Tiger tanks brought back memories of a time I took my eldest son, then three years old to the similer museum in Munsterlaager. I lost him and as I was looking for him I noticed the barrel of a JagdPanzer slowly lowering as a German bloke was shuffling back toward it oblivious to his danger has he looked down the sight of his SLR (camera). There was a nasty collision between muzzle flash eliminator and skull, the muzzel won drawing quite a bit of blood/

And guess who was the gun layer! :hypocrite:

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It doesn't surprise me their plans are as incomprehensible as their displays are chaotic. Unless you already knew different, you could think that Matilda Is were fighting King Tigers at El Alamein, or even that Little Willie was a contemporary of the Panther.

Regards,

MikB

That's a bit harsh. The plans haven't been finalised so they are neither comprehensible nor incomprehensible.

I am not sure how one might think Little Willie and Panthers were contemporary. Little Willie is the first exhibit one gets to in the new hall where as the Panther is in the old hall and there is nothing in the written display notes that might give such an impression.

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I believe the Tank Museum has some Great War period vehicles in working order that occasionally trundle around ... Is this true or am I imagining this? Will any appear on any of the original battlefields?

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That's a bit harsh. The plans haven't been finalised so they are neither comprehensible nor incomprehensible.

I am not sure how one might think Little Willie and Panthers were contemporary. Little Willie is the first exhibit one gets to in the new hall where as the Panther is in the old hall and there is nothing in the written display notes that might give such an impression.

When I last went all the Great War tanks were clustered together and very well displayed. Lots of room to wander around. Quite an education seeing the early smaller British tanks and the early French and German tanks. The desire to climb on them had not disappeared however. MG

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I stand to be corrected but since they acquired the War Horse tank I don't think any of their Great War tanks are used on the move. The War Horse tank is pretty active and now that they have a replica A7V the tank vs tank action of Apr 18 can be (to some extent) recreated (in Bovington rather than Villers Bretonneaux most likely).

The War Horse tank will I am sure be a major part of Bovington's commemorations. It had been hoped that the RTR would get it out to France for Sep 16 and then again in Nov 17. I am pretty sure that the former has proven to be too costly and so the RTR are concentrating on Nov 17. It will hopefully be joined by Johan's replica Mk IV (which will also hopefully be in action in Ypres in Jul - Oct 17). I am very much looking forward to the 2 of them trundling up the sunken road towards the Flesquieres memorial.

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Harking back to the OP, I recall the glory days f the early 70's, when half the exhibits were quietly rusting away outside, and small boys (and some not-so-small - I must have been in my late 'teens by the time I first visited) could climb on the vehicles and nick things. I still have a chunk of Zimmerit from the StuGIII as a prize possession. On balance (and on H&S grounds), I'd say a no-touch policy is probably best. Think of the paperwork these days if some little scrote breaks his leg.

I've not been for 7 or 8 years or so, Mrs B seemingly being immune to the attraction of tanks and the like, but the last time I went I enjoyed it tremendously. I must try and get back (after the school holidays).

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I only visited the museum once, must have been in the early 1980's, and my over-riding memory is a glorious mix of lovely and fascinating items standing muzzle to exhaust with hardly room to walk between them. As I was then a middle-ranking archaeologist with English Heritage, an in retrospect quite misplaced sense of decorum sadly outweighed the desire to scramble over the things - easily done, given the absence of guards and 'security' cameras....

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I stand to be corrected but since they acquired the War Horse tank I don't think any of their Great War tanks are used on the move. The War Horse tank is pretty active and now that they have a replica A7V the tank vs tank action of Apr 18 can be (to some extent) recreated (in Bovington rather than Villers Bretonneaux most likely).

The War Horse tank will I am sure be a major part of Bovington's commemorations. It had been hoped that the RTR would get it out to France for Sep 16 and then again in Nov 17. I am pretty sure that the former has proven to be too costly and so the RTR are concentrating on Nov 17. It will hopefully be joined by Johan's replica Mk IV (which will also hopefully be in action in Ypres in Jul - Oct 17). I am very much looking forward to the 2 of them trundling up the sunken road towards the Flesquieres memorial.

Very interesting. I had no idea they had the tank from the film. That will do for me. Does it zoom around with lots of infantry re-enactors in pageant amid thunder-flashes and a man with a rather fruity accent on the tannoy providing a voice over?..... I can't wait to re-live my youth. The last time I went the tanks were not allowed out to play.

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I only visited the museum once, must have been in the early 1980's, and my over-riding memory is a glorious mix of lovely and fascinating items standing muzzle to exhaust with hardly room to walk between them. As I was then a middle-ranking archaeologist with English Heritage, an in retrospect quite misplaced sense of decorum sadly outweighed the desire to scramble over the things - easily done, given the absence of guards and 'security' cameras....

They appear to have accumulated lots more tanks since the late 1960s. The most modern hangar has lots of space but the old one has tanks very tightly packed, rather that than them sitting outside rusting. I believe they have a few models which are the only surviving examples.

I recall at Duxford (IWM) there is also now a large collection of vehicles and Duxford and Bovington have lots plundered from recent altercations in Arabia. Some were outside rusting away. I guess if one collects these rather large toys one really needs to keep them indoors. I can't imagine how long it takes to restore one of these things. I once saw a documentary on a US company that refurbished American tanks. It involved stripping the thing down to the carcass, hoisting the 20 tons or so into the air in a very large steel silo and firing millions of small ball bearings at it to shot-blast the rust away. The thing came out looking like new. I guess Bovington doesn't quite have the same budget..... or balls (of the bearing type).

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Went to the tank museum a few months ago and got in the MKV male under supervision, fantastic !

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  • 4 weeks later...

I went to a museum up in Norfolk a few years ago, and noticed a Sherman driver's hatch was open. A quick glance to check all was clear, and I was in the driver's seat. A world all of my own, wonderful!

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Re. the missus visiting Monkey World on her own, make it a two day visit and do both. Monkey World is as unmissable as the Tank Museum. I only hope the baboons never escape and drive off in the Tiger!

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I love the Tank Museum and visit regularly. One payment and your ticket is valid for unlimited further visits for 12 months. Well laid out and an excellent section on The Great War, which the kids love. Trenches and simulated shell fire give an authentic feel to the place. Along with bunkers and rats! There is also a good restaurant.

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I was sure that I asked this on here before, but I can't find it, so may be I didn't .... !

Is the shed that they were building to accommodate all the working tanks and vehicles complete and open to the public now, please? When I visited a year or so ago, they were building this on the left hand side of the approach road, basically opposite the very old sheds which were then being used but were really dilapidated. I can't remember when the completion date was, but I'm sure that it must have passed by now - does anyone know, please?

Thank you.

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Yes, it is open. I've been in a couple of times. I am not sure if you can walk around, when I first went in we had to look from the upstairs viewing platform.

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Bovington? is it the largest in the world?

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I can't think of any larger places called Bovington. :hypocrite:

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I went to a museum up in Norfolk a few years ago, and noticed a Sherman driver's hatch was open. A quick glance to check all was clear, and I was in the driver's seat. A world all of my own, wonderful!

In the mid-70's Bassingbourn barracks (near Royston) had an old M3 Grant parked outside the gates. A group from a local modelling club (did I tell you I am a close personal friend of Claudia Schiffer? OK ... so it wasn't THAT sort of modelling) visited and a chum still has photos of about 8 of us inside the thing. For some reason my memory tells me it was called Monty's Grant. For all I know it might be there yet.

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