Two Mark IV tanks made their debut at the Lord Mayor’s Show in London in November 1917. This was the first time the public had seen the new ‘wonder machine’. The Government decided to build on the huge success of the tanks appearance by using it to raise money and support from the sale of War Bonds and War Savings Certificates.
Six Mark IV male tanks – ‘Egbert’ No 141; ‘Nelson’ No 130; ‘Julian’ No 113; ‘Old Bill’ No 119; ‘Drake’ No 137 and ‘Iron Rations’ No 142 toured England, Scotland and Wales in 1918 raising millions of pounds through ‘Tank Bank Weeks’.
At the end of the war it was decided to release tanks to cities and towns throughout England and Wales. They stood in parks and other open spaces until all, apart from the one at Ashford in Kent, were cut up for scrap in the 1920’s and 30’s.
Tanks were also presented to towns along the Western Front.
The Friends are compiling a data base of photographs and information, and would be delighted to hear from anyone who has photographs or documentation relating to presentation tanks. If you have any information, please contact us at the following email address – firstname.lastname@example.org
Model of William Fosters Factory:
Members of the Friends are undertaking the building of a scale model of the factory. The intention is to show the model at functions and events, both locally and nationally. We would love to hear from anyone who could offer assistance with either expertise, or once again, information on the factory. Any photographs of the factory and immediate area would be very much appreciated.
A database is also being compiled of all the Great War Tanks, their movements and eventual resting place or fate. Again, if you have any information we would be delighted to hear from you at the above email address.
Commencing several years ago, the Friends carried out a great deal of research on the feasibility of constructing a full-size working replica Great War tank, with a view to demonstrating it at public events.
After several trips to Bovington Tank Museum for research, and many painstaking hours of hard work on a PC, drawings were produced of a sponson of the type fitted to Mark IV tanks.
In order to validate the design work without incurring a large financial outlay, it was decided to construct a replica left-hand Mk IV sponson in a suitable lightweight material, in place of steel. MDF was selected as being the most appropriate material fo the purpose.
The MDF body was reinforced with a light aluminium framework to provide a robust and rigid structure, and great care was taken to ensure the detail was as close to the original as possible. For instance, rivet details were manufactured by casting a rivet in polyester material, the pattern being taken from a genuine Mk IV tank rivet . Vision slits and the machine gun port were faithfully replicated, and the ball mount for the Lewis gun, made in glass fibre, is able to function as in the real machine. Since these pictures were taken, a replica main gun has been made in wood, and the sponson is now complete.
Unfortunately, the time, effort and expense involved in making this replica of just one part of a tank, together with the anticipated difficulties of storage, transport and insurance of a complete machine, drew the Friends reluctantly to the conclusion that it was not practical to take the full project any further, but the completed sponson is now often displayed at public events, where it always attracts a great deal of interest.
The Friends continue to work closely with the Great War Archaeology Group (GWAG), carrying out desk-based research and geophysical surveys of areas in the Lincoln area which were used for testing the Tanks during their development. Once again, we would be delighted to hear from anyone who has stories or anecdotes about the testing grounds or indeed Wm Foster’s factory itself. Preliminary investigation is also underway, together with GWAG to locate and excavate a Tank on the Western Front and, more importantly, trace the history of it's crew.
In the absence of any photographic evidence, a Geophysical Survey was carried out at Wickham Gardens Lincoln on 12 September 2009 to attempt to identify where the Presentation Tank was sited. Dave and Angie Hibbitt (Grid Nine Geophysics) conducted the survey .....