THE world's last working Tiger I tank will be put through its paces in Dorset at the weekend - 75 years after being crippled by a lucky shot in the Tunisian desert.

Tiger 131, which will be roaring around the main arena at Bovington's Tank Museum on Saturday (April 28), was captured by the Allies after fierce fighting during World War Two.

Its capture, which happened after a much inferior Churchill tank managed to jam the Tiger's turret with a lucky shot, was considered a major coup for the British. Indeed, wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill and King George VI flew to north Africa shortly afterwards to be pictured alongside it.

Tank Museum curator David Willey said: "To have this tank working after 75 years is testament to the skill, knowledge and dedication of our staff. We couldn't have done any of this without the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, whose support has enabled tens of thousands of people to see this rare symbol of the Second World War in action."

The Tiger was a formidable weapon of war, and the capture of Tiger 131 gave the Allies vital intelligence about what their soldiers faced on the battlefield.

It was taken at a place called Gueriat el Atach during an attack by 2nd Battalion The Sherwood Foresters on April 24. After the Tiger's turret jammed, her crew fled to avoid capture.

During the war it took roughly ten hours of maintenance for every hour the tank could operate. Three-quarters of a century later, it takes museum staff and engineers a staggering 200 hours for every hour Tiger 131 runs.

Mr Willey said: "For the public to be able to see and hear this tank operating is really remarkable. Whenever we run the tank it attracts huge numbers.But for a lucky shot that jammed in the turret during the campaign in the north African desert it wouldn’t be here.

"This 75th anniversary is important, not least because the number of veterans who might have seen one of these in action is now dwindling to a very small number. It is pleasing however that many young people are interested and want to learn about the war.

"On this special anniversary we also have the Germans’ current battle tank – a Leopard II – which will be driving around so visitors will be able to compare the two."

Tiger Day takes place at Bovington Tank Museum on April 28.

Visit for further details.