It’s been a few months since we visited the Tank Museums Tank 100 website, celebrating 100 years since the first use of tanks in 1916. There is quite a bit of interesting new content there, including more installments of the Tank Men series looking at WWI British tank crewmen and Training and Combat section. Quite a few of the posts are written by Tank Museum researcher and prolific author David Fletcher. We have provided some links to some of posts written by Fletcher below. This is not a complete list and we highly recommend that people spend some time browsing the content at the Tank 100 site, it’s well worth the time.
Recruiting for the Heavy Section – Mr. Fletcher describes the formation of the first tank units
Part I – Lieutenant-Colonel Ernest Swinton was one of the leading men in the development of the Tank Corps, going on to recruit hundreds of tank men who served in the First World War. Read his story in the first of a three part series on the creation of the Heavy Section of the Royal Machine-Gun Corps.
Part 2 – It can’t be easy recruiting for a new branch of the Army, especially if you’re not supposed to say in the first place exactly what it does. This seems to have been the main problem in the early days facing Lieutenant-Colonel Ernest Swinton, Royal Engineers, when he tried to recruit men for the new war machines, the ‘tanks’.
Part 3 – Part 3 goes into more detail regarding exactly how Swinton, first commander of the Heavy Section, managed to swell the numbers up to 184 officers and 1610 men of other ranks.
A Tank in Your Town – A list of some of the WWI British tanks that survived the war
Ypres – Ypres, in Belgium, on the edge of the Salient of evil memory, is another location that acquired a tank, selecting one from those about to be destroyed at the end of the war which had significant local associations.
Tonbridge – It would be nice to say that I remembered the Tonbridge tank but it was long gone by the time I was there, I knew the Castle well enough, and the river Medway that runs by it, but the tank was scrapped in 1938, even before I was born.
Barnsley – Barnsley, in Yorkshire, received its tank on 27 June 1919. It was delivered to the goods yard and driven from there by a Tank Corps crew, to a temporary resting place in the town centre, two weeks later the men returned and drove the tank to its permanent site in Locke Park where it was displayed along with a German 77mm field gun.
Aberdeen – Scotland ran its own National War Savings Scheme and since we don’t have their version of the Silver Bullet we don’t yet know how many tanks were distributed. We can only rely on postcards, such as the one above from Aberdeen, but we’re slowly building up a picture.
Colchester – At Colchester, in Essex, the gifted tank was set up on a plinth alongside the ancient castle walls. It was a Mark IV female although its number is not recorded. However we do know that it sported unditching beam rails and the white/red/white markings which indicate that it served in France and was not a mere training machine from Bovington.
Toward the Tank – The first 8 of a 12 part series looking at the predecessors of the tank over the centuries.
Tanks in the Middle East – A very interesting series of articles about the little known use of WWI armor in Palestine and Egypt.