THE Duke of Kent officially unveiled the Tank Museum at Bovington's new exhibition on the design and manufacture of armoured vehicles.

His royal highness toured around the museum, before being joined by Mavis Jones, a tank factory worker during the Second World War, to officially unveil the Tank Factory displays featuring a line of Centurion tanks and their history since their creation in 1916.

Prince Edward, who is a patron of the museum, said that it is always a pleasure to visit the exhibitions and displays.

He added: "I've been coming to Bovington for a number of years, as has anyone who has served with the Royal Armed Corps and it has been wonderful to see the way that they have changed and developed it.

"The important part of this exhibition is the emphasis on the people who were making the tanks, who were very, very important.

"I think that Mrs Jones is a wonderful example of someone who is responsible for helping to build these incredible machines, working in what I should imagine were not very nice conditions."

The Tank Factory exhibition also features themed display bays covering topics including materials, armour, weapons and testing.

Kate Adie, Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset, said: "One of the things that struck me when I was writing a book was the not very well known story about the women who built tanks, especially up at the first factory in the major production area of Lincoln. Women were pretty well the dominant workforce in the factory and people don't associate women with making tanks."

The former chief news correspondent for BBC news said that like the Duke of Kent, she is also a great supporter of the Tank Museum.

"Our history matters enormously and you have to understand why we are, where we are, today has a lot to do with what happens in wars.

"They were ordinary people involved and it has to be said that, at least in the First World War, most of the population were in some way involved in the war effort. It's important to remember that everybody did their bit."

David Willey, curator of the museum, thanked the Duke of Kent for his visit and said that they continue to have very ambitious plans with thanks to the Heritage Lottery Funding.

He added: "We tell the story here of the tanks and the men who served in the tanks. But what we're trying to do with the Tank Factory is show why the tanks were made the way they were and who made those tanks."