The Tank Museum | Richard Ogorkiewicz 2 May 1926 - 24 November 2019

Richard Ogorkiewicz 2 May 1926 - 24 November 2019

The Tank Museum is sad to announce the death of Richard Ogorkiewicz.

17th December 2019

The Tank Museum is sad to announce the death of former Trustee of the Museum, President of the Friends and writer and consultant on tanks and AFV’s, Richard Ogorkiewicz.

Richard Ogorkiewicz was born in Poland, the son of a Polish Army Officer. When Germany invaded in 1939 the family escaped to Romania and then France – where in May 1940 the escape from the Nazi’s had to be repeated. Dick arrived in England as a teenage boy without a word of English. 

Richard Ogorkiewicz obit

After three years at Scottish school (where he was awarded the English prize) Dick went on to study Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College in London. He stayed on at Imperial – teaching and researching before working for both Ford and Humber looking at Gas turbine engines. In 1957 he returned to Imperial to teach but also research into the area he found particularly interesting – Armoured Fighting Vehicles. His interest and knowledge in the subject led him to be invited on a number of government boards and committees, such as the Defence Scientific Advisory Committee and in 1979 he started a long association with the Military College of Science Shrivenham, in 1988 being invited to be their Visiting Professor.

Having resigned from Imperial in 1985 he became an active consultant to a number of companies on armoured vehicles. He sat on the technical advisory board of General Dynamics alongside Sven Berge, designer of the S tank, Dr Philip Lett, designer of the Abrams and Major General Israel Tal, designer of the Merkava. He also helped a number of countries such as Australia, Singapore, Turkey and Brazil start their own AFV manufacturing.

Dick wrote on the subject of AFV’s throughout his career. His first article was published in the Royal Armoured Corps Journal in 1948. He helped Basil Liddell Hart with his history of the Tank Regiment The Tanks and wrote a number of volumes on the development and use of tanks and armoured vehicles. His two volume Technology of Tanks published by Janes in 1991 is now eagerly sought after and fetches eye watering prices on the internet. He had a long association with the Tank Museum, using the Archive and Library in his studies and with his wide travel and contacts, helped source vehicles for the collection. He was made President of the Friends in 1987 and was proud that the membership expanded – the Friends being an important source of funds and volunteers for the Museum. He became a Trustee in 1993 and his wide breadth of knowledge on the subject along with his judicious and pithy advice meant he was a Trustee that was listened to with respect.

In 2011 he began transferring his extensive correspondence, archives and books to the Museum. He and his wife Jocelyn were great practical supports of the Museum too. When Dick gave up driving, he gifted his Toyota to the Museum – and it is still being used. When Museum staff had to attend meetings in London they could park at his London house and often found a sumptuous tea awaiting them on their return. Dick’s last book Tanks – 100 Years of Evolution was printed in 2015 and has been re-printed in a number of languages. It has reached a much wider audience than his previous works and shows the authority and knowledge of a kindly man who was genuinely an expert in his field.