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Donations to the Archive and Supporting Collection in October

13th December 2018

Training Manuals

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.

DTGU resizedTIDG 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 below shows the first AFV publication section at Bovington dated 1942.

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doc00868620180914132546 resizedAmong 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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Tool Boxes

These recently donated seventy-five year old tool boxes previously belonged to 21st Army Tank Brigade Signals troop and were used to service Brigade HQ’s wireless equipment.

Tool boxTo our great delight, both boxes are still in their original green paint and feature the same original typed inventory list glued to the inside their doors. From this inventory, we know exactly what type of tools and how many of each were stored within, including punches, files, chisels and pliers. The inventories, which feature hastily written updates in pencil and pen, makes it clear how important these tools were and that it was vital to easily check if anything was missing. The ability to check if tools were missing was no doubt assisted by the fact each tool box contains six drawers which are then separated by numerous compartments and divides, so every tool had a place.

The 21st Tank Brigade saw service in North Africa from 24th March 1942 to 2nd May 1944 and Italy from 3rd May 1944 to 10th June 1945. After searching Archive documents such as the 21st Tank Brigades Battle Report dating from 25th August to September 1944, we know that the Signals troop were tasked with setting up an administrative network with nine stations which included Brigades Workshop, REME and a Forward Delivery Squadron. However, it would appear this workload did not spare the Signals troop from being included in the Brigades complaint about “additional troops” moving into the Brigades Ordnance Field Park and using all their spares!

Unfortunately for the Archive, as the donor found them left in the shed of his new home, we have limited knowledge of the items history after its Second World War service.