I didn't know the 1st tank was invented in 1914, by the British, to give them some chance in trench warfare and survive. There are probably others invented before that time, but obviously they weren't at the British Museum for tanks at Bovington, Dorset, because they probably weren't British.

Safer out than in
We met up with new Kiwi friends, David and Judy, set the Tom Tom into action and via some weird and wonderful back roads, turned up at the Museum.

We arrived at this huge building, the compulsory cup of coffee later,  timed for the 11oclock tour. Rob was such an enthusiastic tour guide it wasn't long before we were right in the history of tanks, tank warfare and the ins and outs of every thing tank. More people died from carbon monoxide fixation from the inside of the tanks than from damage inflicted by the enemy.

I Want it!

He painted us a wonderful picture of what life would have been like operating a tank in warfare, the history of tank evolution, the training involve, the commaradarie, the pain and the passion of the men and their machines. By the end of it we couldn't wait to see more and more and walked out thinking what a great day we had had.

Please  Sir can I shoot

That feels good.

The finale was a rundown of the modern tanks from Roger, ex-Kiwi Christchurch men, who in his previous life was a real tank commander. From the damage a shell does when it enter through the armour, leaving a small hole, vaporises the occupants and their remains follow the shell out the exit hole. If that wasn't enough what do 4 people do to remain comfortable when staying "locked down," inside a tank for 3 days and where do you put the little bags?

Dave,  Judy & Roger
A  commander has to keep his nose clean

The 4 of us were given a rare opportunity to put on hardhats and squeeze inside a modern Challenger tank. First of all you realise that there is no room inside for anything let alone four people. We were surrounded by a mass of dials levers and array of equipment that could either hit you on the head and brain you or save your life.

 I came away with the most incredible respect and admiration for the people who have gone to war in those machines. For what they had put up with discomfort wise as well as the ability they had to drive, operate and turn them into an effective war machines. They were very talented brave people.

AuthorDavid and Nicci Cambridge