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Remembered Today:

Life in a Tank.


206thCEF
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<<....It was entirely new for men who were formerly in a regiment, full of traditions, to find themselves in the Tank Corps. Here was a Corps, the functions of which resulted from an idea born of the exigencies of this science-demanding war. Unlike every other branch of the Service, it has no regimental history to direct it, no traditions upon which to build, and still more important from a practical point of view, no experience from which to draw for guidance, either in training or in action.>>

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http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/28319

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Due to his command of the American tank tour 1917-18 Richard Haig must have been one of the most photographed tank men of WW1. He is usually seen walking in front of the tank. He also appears in several film clips. I attach a photo of him in New York in early spring 1918

post-9885-1248282601.jpg

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Many thanks to delta and centurion. delta, you posted this item a few months before I joined and thank you for the offer but, as you can imagine I have myself a few posts to read but I will be back.(I also read bob lembke's opinion of the book.)

centurion, thanks for the photograph. The "machine" must have cause some commotion in the streets of New York then.

Joe

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Many thanks to delta and centurion. delta, you posted this item a few months before I joined and thank you for the offer but, as you can imagine I have myself a few posts to read but I will be back.(I also read bob lembke's opinion of the book.)

centurion, thanks for the photograph. The "machine" must have cause some commotion in the streets of New York then.

Joe

As it was its third, possibly fourth visit to NY they were probably getting used to it. I'm trying to write a book on the tank tour of North America and have lots of info on the first part and the latter trips (including to the West Coast) but I'm bogged down in Canada in Nov/Dec 1917! I know about Hamilton, Montreal and Toronto but there are big gaps to fill and any one who has info I'd like to hear about it (credit always given) I need unditching! Haig was in Canada (he's on film).

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well I think that in those days, those great mechanical devices were probably the talk of the town for many weeks if not months after they happened. People had a rare glimpse at a war machine that they only read about in the papers. Must have made some memories for those present.

As for "a" tank in Montreal in 1917, I will try and locate whatever informations I can locate. Problem is that we have now only one French and one English newspapers and I don't know if their archives are available on-line. Will keep you informed as soon as I know.

Joe

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well I think that in those days, those great mechanical devices were probably the talk of the town for many weeks if not months after they happened. People had a rare glimpse at a war machine that they only read about in the papers. Must have made some memories for those present.

As for "a" tank in Montreal in 1917, I will try and locate whatever informations I can locate. Problem is that we have now only one French and one English newspapers and I don't know if their archives are available on-line. Will keep you informed as soon as I know.

Joe

Certainly they appear in the papers and peoples letters, journals etc. However the base from which the North American tank tour operated was somewhere near Grand Central Station and the tank returned there quite a few times. By the time the photo I showed was taken it had taken part in a parade through the centre of Manhatten, done demos in Central Park, been in a major exposition just off Fifth avenue, made a trip to the Bronx, done demos on a building site, fallen foul of the NY Fire Department (for firing its Lewis guns) on a number of occassions etc etc - I have the impression that New Yorkers were becoming quite used to it.

With regard to Montreal as I said I think I have a handle on this (although more info is always welcome). My problems with Canada are what was the tank doing between the Hamilton and Toronto visits? Did it go to any other Canadian cities? Was the tank that visited Toronto the same one that went to Montreal? (There is some photographic and other evidence that suggests not). When the tank returned to NY (via Boston) from which Canadian city did it travel? and so on.

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Having had some replies off forum to my last post and not wanting to seem churlish or ungrateful (I'm taking the twelve step Churls and Curmudgeons Anonymous programme) I thought I'd clarify my above statement as there may be some confusion over what I'm looking for.

Thanks to the past kindness of members of this and other forums plus some digging of my own I already have quite a bit of info (newspaper articles such as in Montreal's La Patrie, photos, film clips etc) on what the tank was doing in Hamilton, Toronto and Montreal. I suspect I've mined out all thats left available on this apart from some refinement on dates. I've even worked out some of the likely railway routing (for example New York to Hamilton via Buffalo seems the most probable first leg). However I have some problems - viz. There is roughly a ten day to two week gap between the end of the performances in Hamilton and the first appearance in Toronto. Hamilton is (or was) a major railway junction for various Canadian towns and cities with the line that ran from Buffalo to Toronto. Transit time from Hamilton to Toronto would have been a few hours at most. I'm trying to find out if the tank visited any of these towns and cities, (fund raising and recruiting) in those two weeks.

Looking at the photos of the tank in the three Canadian cities photos show that in Hamilton and Toronto the name Britannia was painted in large letters (probably white) across the front plate whilst in Montreal the front plate was blank. The front plate appears to have been blank when the tank appeared in New York before it left for the Canadian tour and , intriguingly, when it next appeared in NY after the tour it was also blank. However the name reappeared when the tank went on the tour westward that ended up on the West Coast.

The dates at the end of the Canadian tour appear impossibly cramped with less than ten days elapsing before its arrival in Toronto and its return to NY with a visit to Montreal crammed in between. Looking at its performing programme I cannot see how this could be fitted in less than two days in each city and more likely three or more (this was November when the daylight hours in Canada are short). I can find some evidence of a stop in Boston on its way back to NY which seems to have allowed Haig to visit his publishers for Life in a Tank. I've been trying to find out what the speeds for heavy freight (30 tons plus) on the railways were to see if one tank could do it without having a Tardis drive fitted but no one seems to know.

Hence my dilemma - was the tank in Montreal the same one as in Toronto? There is some evidence that there may have been two tanks used in the whole North American tour (one of which had a primary task of providing demos and trials to the US Army but which sometimes doubled up when dates clashed; however almost every time I find some more evidence to substantiate this I find some more to refute it!).

So I wouldn't want anyone to waste time going over ground I've already covered (especially if they are trying to finish a book before me :devilgrin: ) but I would be extraordinarily grateful if any one can fill in some of the holes I've mentioned (I might even go so far as to buy them a pint at the Tally Ho dinner!)

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