George Forty passes away at age 88

george forty booksWe apologize for being a month late with this news.  George Forty, author and historian, British Armor veteran and former Curator of the Tank Museum at Bovington passed away on May 19, 2016 at the age of 88.  Mr. Forty was instrumental in making the Tank Museum at Bovington one of the best institutions of its type in the world during his tenure in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.  He was one of the most prolific writers on the topic of armored warfare and armored vehicles as well, a sampling of which can be seen here.  He also served as editor of the RTR (Royal Tank Regiment) Tank Magazine  for many years.

From the Tank Museum website:

Lt. Col. George Forty served as Museum Director, than known as Curator, for twelve years from 1981.

Lieutenant Colonel George Forty, OBE, FMA, was a well-known military author specialising in Armoured warfare. He was born on 10 Sep 1927 in London, and was educated at Ashville College, Harrogate and The Queen’s College Oxford University.

He joined the Army in 1945, was commissioned from the RMA Sandhurst in July 1948 – the first intake to pass out after the war. He joined 1st Royal Tank Regiment (RTR) in the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR) and thereafter served for 32 years, seeing active service first in Korea, where he was wounded during the Hook battle in May 1953, whilst commanding a troop of Centurion tanks in support of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment.

Later, he commanded an armoured reconnaissance squadron on operations in Aden, the Persian Gulf and Borneo. He attended the Staff College in 1959 and his staff appointments have included GSO 2 at the Army Air Corps Centre, GSO 2 (Author) and commander (GSO I) of the RAC Tactical School. His last appointment was as GSOI of the RAC Gunnery School. In total he served with 1 RTR (twice), 2 RTR (twice), 4 RTR (twice), 7 RTR (once) and 42 RTR (TA) (once), also at the RAC Signals, Tactical and Gunnery Schools.

v0_webgridHe left the Army in 1971 to pursue a writing career and in 1981 was appointed Director of the Tank Museum. During the next twelve years with the inspirational help of his wife Anne, who worked alongside him, he tripled the size of the museum, modernised it and turned it into one of the foremost military museums in Europe. Shortly after retiring from the museum in 1993, he was made a fellow of the Museums Association (FMA) and was awarded with an OBE in the 1994 New Year’s Honours List.

As an author he wrote over 70 books which sold worldwide and were translated into many languages including German, French and Japanese. This included the History of the Royal Tank regiment. He also was the editor of the RTR Tank Magazine for many years.

Lt Col Forty was a gentle and happy family man who is always spoken of with affection and respect by all those that he served or worked with. He leaves behind his wife Anne and four sons Simon, Jonathan, Adam and Jason, nine grandchildren and one great grandchild.

The Matilda Diaries Part 3

From the Tank Museum at Bovington comes part 3 of the Matilda Diaries, a video series showing the restoration of their Matilda II infantry tank.

Tank Chats #21 Mark V

Another episode of Tank Chats staring David Fletcher.  This one looks at the WW1 era British Mark V.



The Matilda Diaries Part 2

From the youtube channel of The Tank Museum:

Part Two of the Matilda Diaries explores the sub-assemblies which power the turret, cooling system, drivers sight and hydraulics system.  Throughout the course of this series The Tank Museum aims to lift the lid on the overhaul of its Second World War Matilda II tank. Viewers will have a chance to see the challenges involved with the project overall, as well as the nitty gritty of dismantling and reassembling a 70 year old vehicle.

Tank Chats #19 Matilda II

From the Bovington Tank Museum:

The name Matilda means Strength in Battle from the Germanic roots Maht, meaning strong and Hild meaning battle.

The Matilda was regarded as a superb tank in its day and carved a remarkable career for itself. A few served in France in 1940 but in the early stages of the North African campaign, under General Wavell, it virtually ruled the desert. Even when the Afrika Korps arrived it remained a formidable opponent, immune to everything but the notorious 88mm gun. Its main failings were its slow speed and small gun, which could not be improved.

WW2 British tanker returns target model to Bovington

_83448274_83448273The BBC is reporting about a WW2 veteran who has returned a model tank he took from an army camp more than 70 years ago.  According to the article, George Martin, 88, nabbed the small lead Sherman tank used for training from Bovington in Dorset in 1944.  Martin had trained with the 52nd Royal tank Regiment as a gunner for a Sherman tank.  The small lead Sherman tank was part of a training exercise.  Martin kept one of the models as a souvenir, keeping it with him for the rest of his service in Egypt, Japan and Burma until he left the Army in 1953.  The model Sherman then resided on his mantelpiece until he recently decided to donate it to the Tank Museum at Bovington.  According to Martin, “I was worried that if I died it would be thrown away and that its story would be forgotten”.  Commented Tank Museum curator David Willey: “This lead tank is not an item we previously held in the collection and coming to us with such a good story – and the fact it’s been cherished so long by its owner – makes this a very worthy addition to our collections here.”