Donations to The Archive

From September

30th October 2018

The Archive has been fortunate enough to receive one of its most historically significant donations this week relating to the TIDG [Training Innovation Development Group]. The TIDG and its predecessors have supported the RAC Centre, RAC Regiments and the wider British Army, both home and abroad, for over seventy years. The TIDG, in its multiple forms, has, until recently, been exclusively responsible for creating the vast quantities of training manuals and aids for the British Army. Within the unique collection donated are examples of these previously unseen educational material, illustrations and photographs alongside rare examples of graphic designs and badge artwork TIDG created for new army schools.

TIDG can trace their roots to 1940s and the growing need for Armoured Fighting Vehicle recognition. Known as AFV Publication, they were tasked with producing vast number of instructional publications and recognition aides from photographed material which would be sent to the War Office in London and distributed to the British Army. During the tense years of the Cold War, the TD&PW [Training Development & Publications Wing] as it was then known as was extremely busy printing publications and training manuals on practically every British and Foreign AFV’s. For foreign vehicles, this meant regular visits to Defence Intelligence in London and collecting the latest images of Warsaw Pact vehicles. From these, they would illustrated detailed line drawings and silhouettes for training troops to identify. We are fortunate enough that the donation includes a large collection of these very same propaganda images that diplomats and secret agents risked their lives to cut from Soviet Bloc magazines and sent back to Britain.

Although no longer the only Graphics and Media team in the British Army, its products remains highly regarded by both military and civilian services.

The photograph above shows the first AFV publication section at Bovington dated 1942.

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Among the large and historically significant TIDG [Training Innovation Development Group] collection recently donated to the Archive is this rather bright poster. The poster showcases examples of the designs created for souvenir programmes from the AFV demonstrations through to the earliest Tankfest events by Bovington Camp’s graphic department. Demonstrations, Open days and Battle days were held at the camp to raise money for the Royal Armoured Corps Benevolent Fund while acting as a recruiting drive for the army. Visitors enjoyed armoured displays, regimental parades, ‘have a go’ activities, fairs and raffles. It was after the RAC Battle Days ended that an event called Tankfest was born. 

The Archive aims to have complete set of examples of these souvenir programmes but are missing the following examples:  

AFV Demonstrations: 1954, 1956

RAC Demonstration: 1957 to 1961

Open Day: 1963, 1965, 1966, 1973, 1982, 1984 and 1985

Battle Day: 1987 to 1997 and 1999

Tankfest: 2002 to 2004

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