Thursday, 24 October 2013

At the Tank Museum

2nd September 2013 by Jack Welch

For members of our group today, it was an exciting return to one of our partner organisations, the world famous Bovington Tank Museum. The WITS team were able to visit some of the impressive exhibits and facilities the museum had to offer. Guided by their expert Education Officer, Chris Copson, the group were taken around an interactive representation of the various environments as they may have looked throughout World War I. Taken from the recruitment branches to the full horror of the trenches, the group were able to get a better understanding of what it might have actually been like to have walked in the shoes of a first world war soldier. 

As our tour came to a conclusion, the group felt it was time to take time-out, as we recovered from our guide around the trench exhibit. We ventured outside to sit near their show-grounds as crowds gathered for the afternoon showcase of various military vehicles and tanks. As well as enjoying the display and being made jump by some of he loud tank explosives, the group were also overwhelmed by a swarm of wasps whilst trying to eat their lunches!

Once the show was finished, the group returned to work to uncover some of the articles and records the museum archive had available guided by archivist Janice Tait. We viewed some of the first hand experiences of soldiers recorded in letters and postcards. We saw a map of trenches dug nearby for trainees to be trained in trench warfare. We made the startling discovery by viewing some photo's, that there was a German prisoner in war camp in Dorchester. This very interesting primary source material can hopefully be utilised in our geocache app and boxes .  
On the trail through Moreton Forest!
Once we said goodbye to Chris for his kind assistance throughout the day, we left in the mini-bus for a short drive where a number of us were dropped off to begin a small expedition across Moreton Forest and experience the genuine route a soldier would have taken while learning his filed craft training. As it was a beautiful, sunny day, the walkers had little trouble crossing this footpath and we made it back to a secluded pebble shore in the area with ease. Our project officer and another volunteer was waiting to greet us with a few refreshments, then it was time to return homewards again. Our Geocache team out be hoping that we are granted permission to  place a geocache trail in the area, so you can follow in the footsteps of Dorset First World War soldiers too.

Ashley and Edward inside a First World War tank


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