Sunday 10 April 2016

Tank Men at Bovington

My recent family holiday to Dorset took us very close to Bovington Tank Museum and afforded me an opportunity to visit the new Tank Men exhibition. This new exhibition commemorates the centenary of the first tank attack in history by looking in detail at some of the first men to crew the new weapons. Unlike earlier exhibitions such as War Horse and Tank Factory this is not a completely new exhibition but is more of a reimagining of the existing World War 1 tank hall. All the existing WW1 tanks remain but are now complemented with additional display cabinets focusing on 8 individuals who joined the fledgling Tank Corps and saw action in 1916. 

Each story is told through personal artefacts unique to that individual. This made each display very personal - these were not just names on a list but real men, who risked and sometimes gave all in the service of the first Tanks. I felt it was a very sensitive and effective way of bringing the WW1 Tank hall up to date and made the story of this radical new weapon all the more interesting as a result. Here are a few pictures I took but you really need to experience the exhibition for yourself to get the full effect.

Tank Men Exhibition

A Male Tank crashes across German trenches

A German machine gun position.

Eliot Hotback was awarded a DSO and Bar, MC & Bar, and the Legion d'Honneur amongst others. 

Hotblacks DSO & MC

The Cambrai Diorama

Cambrai Flag was carried in a tan of A Battalion during the battle.

Good to see a Hadley amongst the first crews! It must be in our blood.

Sydney lost an eye during his service with the Tank Corp and wore a Glass Eye for the rest of his life. These were hand painted to match his remaining eye. 

All the existing tanks of the WWI Tank hall remain.
A British Whippet Tank from WWI

A Happy BigLee at his favourite museum.
One of the things I like about the Tank Museum is that is doesn't sit on its laurels. Every year they seem to have a new exhibition keeping the displays up to date and bringing visitors like me back time and time again. As always I heartily recommend a visit if you haven't been here before. 


  1. The exhibition looks very atmospheric.

  2. I really need to go, another great looking exhibition.

  3. Do they still let you in to the Mk.VI (I think) for a talk? It was a very informative talk and, in a way, quite horrifying what they went through.


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