back to article Village shaken by GPS-driven tank invasion

The Shropshire village of Donnington has suffered repeated invasions by transporters bearing 70-tonne tanks because the drivers' sat navs have mistaken the "picturesque" enclave with a nearby barracks of the same name. The correct destination for the heavy metal is 15 miles away close to Telford, the Times reports, but …


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  1. John Macintyre
    Paris Hilton


    The army, however, says that private contractors are at fault.

    Well that goes along the lines of every public org blaming someone else. It's not my fault guv, he's a muppet.

    Though if you are going to put a town into your satnav, it's not going to have a popup to say 'you sure you don't mean the army base mate? press yes to redirect'

    What would equally be funny however (hence the paris angle) would be if they had an army base called atlantis. All these non-army lorry drivers putting atlantis into their sat navs and being sent to an unknown mythical location deep under water rather than the overland base round the corner...

  2. Alex


    I'm thinking the residents either need a PanzerShrek each, or the pure might of the Download Festival from the nearby race track!!

    Rock On!


  3. Jeff

    This year's British WSB should be fun!

    Let's just hope they don't use the same GPS on cruise missiles in the gulf...

    Otherwise the Hellmans factory might be in a bit of bother.

  4. Daniel Bennett
    Thumb Up

    Come To Telford

    Come To Life!

    I live in Telford and heard about this but failed to believe it.

    Now my beloved *cough* town has appeared on Thereg!

  5. Stuart Gray

    @Alex \m/

    Wrong Donington mate - the festival is in Leicestershire, not Shropshire.


  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Military Drivers would know the correct place"

    Yes, unfortunately not only ours.....

  7. Justin Clift

    Anyone want some "near free" tanks?


    Someone enterprising just needs to put up a Large Shed in that town, paint the words "Army Base Receiving Depot" on it, and have someone stand out the front dressed the part waiting to sign for incoming tanks. ;->

    So, who wants to buy a tank?

  8. Tawakalna

    that's odd...

    .. cos when I drove past R.O.D. Donnington a while back, the entire site had been closed down and converted to business units, and I worked for several years opposite the depot at another unit on Hortonwood 30. So what's left there?

  9. George

    So I suppose no one else has ever made this mistake...

    with a normal SatNav? Put in the wrong village no? I thought not because its all perfect eh?

    I think you'll find that the name/place system they are using is on the delivery trucks not the tanks themselves...since they don't actually drive the tanks between bases.

    Still much better to jump on the bandwagon against all things military/British/purchasing.

  10. Andy Bell

    @ John Macintyre

    Well to be fair John the Army probably didn't want to have its transporation outsourced to the civilian private sector. I would imagine it was more or less forced into this by ever tighter budgets.

    Funny thing the UK. When it suits we are happy to slag off the military, even if the corner cutting we are slagging off was not the militaries first preferance. When it comes to allocating tax money, we are just as happy to give them an ever decreasing amount as a percentage of GDP.

    Omlette, eggs, cake, eating etc etc.

    And before someone comes back with the tired old "well we shouldn't be spending it in Iraq" note that the military doesn't get to choose where to go. The politicians WE selected get that dubious honour.

  11. Pete James
    Paris Hilton

    'cause the secret's out and the secret's clear

    Seeing as MoD Donnington base conatains a huuuuuuuge and very well known (in Army circles) ordnance facility and Donnington near Shrewsbury is a rather twee village I'm a bit inclined to agree with the spokesman on this being due to private contractors. The only thing is I'm a little concerned that we seem to be allowing arms to be shipped around the UK by half-witted truckers.

    Incidentally I can remember dodging round the transporters when I work in Telford some years ago, along with a near trouser-filling moment when seeing in my rear view mirror an Alvis light tank being road tested through Priorslee. 5 feet from my bumper. That was fun!

    And Jeff & Alex, I think you're getting your counties confused. The Derbyshire-based rock festival, motor racing circuit and makers of gloopy mayonnaise are rather far away from the Shropshire places of the same name. I hope you weren't using a SatNav to check this! ;-)

    Paris because she's gagging for a squaddie.

  12. Brian

    *cough cough*

    .... secret base?

  13. Sacha TF Padovani


    Ok, wrong Don(n)ington, but sure it'd have given new meaning to the "big bore thundering & booming" Ducatis...

    Don-ing coat...

  14. Spleen

    If you can't read a map, then maybe you shouldn't choose lorry driving as a career

    I only hope that these private contractors are never employed by the US military. Specifically, I hope they never have to deliver a shipment of arms to an army base in one of the several towns in America named 'Palestine'.

  15. Christoph

    Had they considered telling them where to deliver?

    "The army, however, says that private contractors are at fault."

    And the entire might of the british army can't manage to tell the bloke picking the tanks up "by the way mate, make sure you put the right place in your sat-nav"? Or print a little note in the paperwork that tells them where to deliver?

  16. Kevin Johnston

    confused placenames

    This is nothing, try navigating to Newbiggin up in Cumbria....6 villages of the same name within a 50 mile circle

  17. RichardB

    @ Christoph

    "And the entire might of the british army can't manage to tell the bloke picking the tanks up "by the way mate, make sure you put the right place in your sat-nav"? Or print a little note in the paperwork that tells them where to deliver?"

    I suppose you'd like them to put up signs reminding private contractors to wipe their arses too? They pay good money for professional drivers to do a job for them - is it too much to expect them to get to the right place?

  18. Gavin Grayson

    Someones been playing too much Medal of Honour ;-)

    " I'm thinking the residents either need a PanzerShrek each, or the pure might of the Download Festival from the nearby race track!! "

  19. Chris Byers

    I used to do that!

    I used to be an army tank transporter driver (not civvy) and went to Donnington several times a month. We all knew the correct route, so it sounds like the civvies who can't read a map have been relying to much on technology to do their job rather than the ability to read a road atlas. The main route into Donnington is actually on nice big wide roads and just a couple of minutes off the M54.

  20. Dave Silver badge

    the guily party

    So, if they've identified Private Contractor as being responsible for this, then I guess his chances of ever getting promoted to Corporal are scuppered

  21. Tawakalna

    or if you're not coming from the motorway..

    ..take the A518 from Eccleshall and turn right at the roundabout with the artillery pieces. And as the road was widened a few years ago, it easily takes tank transporters, although mostly it's blocked by farmers' tractors.

    Proudly not a w4nky satnav user, because I can read maps!

  22. Pete James

    @Chris Byers

    Chris, if it was you I once went past sideways past the NEC factory off J4 back in about 1996 then I apologise. Front n/s spring gave out at just the moment I really needed it. oops.

    Yes folks, The Register is almost a social networking site!

  23. Anonymous Coward


    Dunno what you were looking at, but BOD Donnington has not been turned into business units and is still very much home to lots of green painted vehicles and stuff that goes *bang*.

  24. Ishkandar


    Well, he hasn't even made it to Lance-corporal yet !! Corporal comes a lot later !! I'm sure a certain Viennese house-painter could have told you all about this !!

    @Alex - a panzershrek was an emergency, panic production of a copy of the bazooka !! The later German weapons were much better and they were known as the panzerfaust !! But nothing can beat a suicidal 16 year old with a satchel charge !!

  25. Jon Tocker

    And so...

    A few years from now when I do my motorcycle tour of the UK, I'll approach the picturesque enclave of Donnington and find the road into town is blocked off by a tank trap.

    The "Stop" sign should be self-explanatory...

  26. Anonymous Coward

    @ Someones been playing too much Medal of Honour ;-)

    Too true - a panzerschrek wouldn't even scorch the paint of a Challenger II so the residents could have as many as they like and pop them off all day long it still wouldn't so much as spill the driver's coffee whilst the commander utilised the Chally's chain gun to sort them out.....rat-a-tat-tat!

    Now, if they had RPG-18's or the US Javelin that would be a different story....

  27. Vulpes Vulpes

    Medal of Honour? Nah.

    CoD2 (or even CoD4) mate, that's where it's at.

    Sticky bomb on the whirring tracks. Boom. No steering. Charge in with Tommy guns blazing. Mills bombs down the turret hatch.

    Ah, the joys of PC games, full of non-PC attitudes and oodles of claret. Ace.

    It's even better fun than designing database schemas.

  28. David Cantrell

    Yes, I can navigate thankyouverymuch

    As it happens, George, I have indeed never let my satnav direct me to the wrong village. That's because, being a clever sort of chap (and also wise in the ways of these computar things) I know perfectly well that there are several places with the same name and that I should tell the stupid thing to take me to a particular post code instead. And I then check that the destination and route look sane. This also has the advantage that once I'm in the town or village I want, it takes me to the right place in that town. I know, it sounds crazy, but it does work. You should try it some time.

  29. andy gibson

    Army bases listed on TomTom?

    Do sat navs list military bases now?

  30. spezzer

    technological rule #1

    as technology gets cleverer the users get dumber!

    its bound to happen - as computers figure out stuff and remember stuff the less us mere mortals have to think for ourselves - if you could chart some numbers involving technology progress and IQ the results would probably look quite scary in 20 years!

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