The Evening Telegraph has posted an article about the recently released book The First Tank Crews: The lives of the Tankmen who fought at the Battle of Flers Courcelette 15 September 1916 by Stephen Pope. While we posted a book alert about this particular book back in April, this article gives a far better description of the book than the publishers description in our original post. Also, we were unaware that the book is accompanied by a really excellent website of the same name. This site hosts quite a bit of content, including biographical information on many of the tankers who took part in the September 1916 battles. The First Tank Crews site is a “must see” for fans of WWI British armor history.
THE heroics of a Tayside war hero have been revealed in a new book for the first time.
The book — which marks 100 years since one of the bloodiest battles in the First World War — features 400 accounts of tank crews.
One of the stories features the heroics of Dundee-born soldier, Corporal William McNicoll, who worked as a solicitor after the war.
In August 1918, Cpl McNicoll took his tank five miles into hostile Western Front territory.
He suffered two direct hits under German bombardment.
However, the soldier, who himself was injured, bravely held his position under heavy machine gun fire to allow his wounded men to retreat to safety.
For this act, Cpl McNicoll was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.
On returning to his home in Kinnettles, Angus, on leave in October 1918, he was presented with a gold watch bought by local parishioners.
Cpl McNicoll’s story is only one of the accounts captured in The First Tank Crews: The Lives of the Men Who Fought at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette 15 September 1916.
While featuring tales of the 1916 event, the book, which is penned by Stephen Pope, also tells of stories of other fights — including Cpl McNicoll’s heroics during the Battle of Amiens.