A sight we fortunately never saw - a German Panzer outside Buckingham Palace. © Bovington Tank Museum.
Preparations for the Living Museum, which forms part of the commemorative events marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War Two, are under way in London's St James' Park.
Museums across the UK have begun the task of organising displays and shipping in exhibits for the open air museum, which opens on July 4 2005. One of the first to arrive, a German Panzer Mk III from the Tank Museum at Bovington, made an impromptu stop at Buckingham Palace on June 23.
The stop served as a photo opportunity to promote the Living Museum and also provided a brief reminder of what might have been had it not been for the bravery and determination of the wartime generation.
Tank Museum spokesman Nik Wyness said: “This is something the nation could have been faced with in 1940 – and with this picture we want to remind people just how close we came to defeat.”
The Metropolitan Police were also on hand to deter the would-be invader by issuing a parking ticket, but as Nik explained, there was sober reasoning behind the publicity stunt.
“I've only been here for five minutes!” The Met repel the Nazi invasion with a parking ticket. © Bovington Tank Museum.
“On top of it all is the desire to remember and thank those that gave up six years of their lives to fight a long and costly war they would certainly rather not have been a part of.”
Earlier in the week the very first exhibit to arrive at St James’ Park was the locomotive Singapore, which was captured by the Japanese after the invasion of Singapore. Currently resident at the Rutland Railway Museum, the locomotive arrived on a low loader and will form the centrepiece of the Living Museum.
The Tank Museum is also providing two other British Tanks; a Valentine mark IX, which like the Panzer Mk III had a prominent role during the North African campaign and a Churchill AVRE which played an important part in the success of the British landing on D-Day.
The temporary ‘Living Museum’ opens on July 4 and runs until July 10 and is designed to offer an unprecedented opportunity for the public to see highlights from many of the nation's WWII collections on a 25,000 square metre site.
For more information on opening times and for booking phone 0207 218 5639 or 0207 807 8935.