When news happens send us your pictures, video and views. Text BE to 80360 or contact us by email
Stolen Tiger plaque back at Tank Museum after 40 years
A SMALL piece of history, stolen from The Tank Museum’s most famous exhibit more than 40 years ago, has finally arrived back home.
The metal plaque, pinched from inside the turret of the famed Tiger Tank 131 exhibit, has been posted back to the Bovington museum with an anonymous letter of apology. Swiped as part of a teenage prank, the plaque, embossed ‘Bedienungsleiting fur Turmabdichtung’, lists instructions for waterproofing the Tiger’s fearsome turret.
The mystery note read: “In the late sixties I was a member of the Junior Leaders Regiment RAC and remembered obtaining an instruction plaque from inside Tiger 131.
“Recently, whilst clearing my loft I found the plaque. I collected cap badges and memorabilia whilst I was at Bovington and I bought this off one of the lads.”
During the 1960s the now-defunct Junior Leaders Regiment was based across the road from the museum, recruiting and training school leavers prior to them joining the regular army.
Museum education officer Chris Copson believes the exhibits proved too much of a temptation for mischievous teens, some of whom illicitly gained entry and “acquired the odd souvenir.”
Indeed, legend has it that the previous curator even invented the story of ‘Herman the German’ – a ghost who haunted Tiger 131 – in a bid to keep the boys away.
Mr Copson said: “Herman the German has since become one of the most enduring myths associated with The Tank Museum but it evidently did not deter one young souvenir hunter.”
The anonymous letter explained that the teenagers had entered the tank through an open top hatch.
The note concluded: “I hope you can reinstall this item where it came from, or at least use it to understand how the waterproofing was carried out.”
Mr Copson said: “Whoever this donor is we are extremely grateful for his thought and kindness in returning it to us.”