THE world’s last surviving example of a working Ger-man Tiger 1 Tank has won one of its greatest victories to date.
Tiger 131, captured by the Allies during a fierce desert battle in 1943, was handed to Bovington Tank Museum after the Second World War.
Despite its poor condition, having been stripped down so British and American tank crews could understand its strengths and weaknesses, it quickly became one of the museum’s biggest draws.
However, it appeared time had finally caught up with the Tiger earlier this year, when museum officials announced they needed £40,000 to help fund vital engineering work.
Nine months on and thanks in no small part to a £20,000 award from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, the target has been exceeded – by an astonishing £30,000.
Tank museum spokesman Nik Wyness explained: “This particular project has really caught the imagination of funding bodies and public donors alike.
“We have secured £20,000 from public sources, including on-site donation boxes, direct appeals to our supporters and almost £7,000 from our justgiving.com site.
“We have also been gifted a further £20,000 from other trusts and grant-making bodies, including £15,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.”
The latest Museums, Libraries and Archives Council award puts the appeal balance at £70,000.
Tank museum curator David Willey said: “This will enable further work to be carried out to assess the impact of running this unique historic vehicle and provide the unique opportunity to return the tank to a more original condition since it was first disassembled as part of its evaluation during the Second World War.”
Tiger 131 was captured by 48 Royal Tank Regiment after being ‘mysteriously abandoned’ during a battle in Tunisia.
It was later inspected by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and even King George VI.