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Tonbridge Tank

 

 

The Towns Tank

 

 

On the 29th July 1919 Presented to the town in recognition of the people’s generous response to the National War Savings Appeals saw the arrival of The Mark IV Tank.

 

 

A number of towns around the country were the recipients of tanks donated after the war effort as a Recognition monument of thanks.


 

 
Tonbridge's Tank, designated female because of the arrangement of its armament, arrived the evening before at the railway station and drove through cheering crowds to the Castle Grounds, where Donald Clark, chairman of the Urban District Council, climbed aboard to receive it on behalf of the town.

The tank commander said he regretted parting with "an old lady friend" and recalled her time in action in France with enemy bullets rattling on the sides.  

 

 

  This tank was joined by a collection of guns to make a favorite play area for the children of Tonbridge

 

 

  TANK "A BIT OF OLD IRON."

Kent & Sussex Courier - Friday 06 December 1935

 

 

The Parks Committee reported the receipt of the following letter from Mr. S. H. Shipway, of Birmingham: 

"I notice in to-day's Birmingham Mail that the Sutton Coldfield tank has been sold for scrap, the amount realised - £40 - being given to the Benevolent Fund of the British Legion.

May I suggest the same is done with the munitions of war in your Castle Grounds. I have just had the pleasure of spending a delightful week-end in your town and greatly admire the district. That my memory should be marred by the hideousness of these war relics in such beautiful surroundings, and in a time when we are striving for peace, is most unfortunate.

I shall endeavor not to long delay my second visit and hope that the beauty of that spot will not then be spoilt."

Councilor GUNNER:

said that this gentleman had apparently had his holiday entirely spoilt by their tank and guns, but the Committee recommended that no action should be taken in the matter.

Councilor NORTON:

thought the Castle Grounds would look better if they disposed of the "bit of old iron." He noticed that the gardeners were trying to hide the tank and that they should dispose of the tank and guns.

Councilor NORTON:

The tank was of no use to anyone and did not signify anything. It was of no historic interest and he thought there was a great deal of truth in what Mr. Shipway said. He said that the British Legion be communicated with, with the idea of allowing them to dispose of the tank and guns for the benefit of their Benevolent Fund. Councilor DANN seconded. 


Councilor L. A. LE MAY:

Said he did not think that Councilor Norton meant what he said when he stated that the tank had no historical value. It was the tank that broke the Hindenberg line and assisted the Empire to win the war. He thought it a worthy relic and of interest to future generations.

Councilor GUNNER

pointed out that the tank was a lady tank. He well remembered when it was presented the officer said there were such things as gentlemen tanks and lady tanks, and this was a lady. Committee recommended that no action should be taken.

 
COUNCIL SAY "SCRAP THEM" SO THE TANK AND GUNS HAVE GOT TO GO.

Kent & Sussex Courier - Friday 05 November 1937

At their meeting on Tuesday evening, the Tonbridge Council decided to let them go for scrap, and they will receive £52 10s. for them.   Only two members voted against the proposal.

 

 

 

 


Ashford Kent

 Ashford is the only place where one of these tanks can still be seen in its original setting.  After major refurbishment in 2005, the Mark IV at Ashford has been re-painted in its original colors it was also officially registered as a war memorial in November 2006 Its believed to be one of eight that still exist in this condition and the only one in the UK standing visible to the public.

 

 

What a shame we still don’t have ours