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Any history of tank presented to Crewe in 1919?


potty5
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Dear forum members, I have been trying to find out any history attached to the tank that was presented to the town of Crewe for raising over £500,000 in May 1918 for "Tank Week." The grainy photo I have of it has the number "165 I" on the front of the tank and "4091" or "409i" on the back and it is a Male tank. It was always assumed that the tank had served in France. Any details would be appreciated.

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165 is a Home Service number for a male tank indicating that it probably came from a training establishment (most presentation tanks did although the delivery crews used to tell all sorts of stories about service in France). Is it possible to post a copy of the photo?

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Dear forum members, I have been trying to find out any history attached to the tank that was presented to the town of Crewe for raising over £500,000 in May 1918 for "Tank Week." The grainy photo I have of it has the number "165 I" on the front of the tank and "4091" or "409i" on the back and it is a Male tank. It was always assumed that the tank had served in France. Any details would be appreciated.

I would advise Googling 'Friends of the Lincoln Tank', and see what they have. Good luck with your search.

Steve Gray

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Hello Potty 5,

I have been assisting the Friends of the Lincoln Tank group in their research of the Presentation tanks. Here's what we have as far as crewe is concerned:

"Crewe in Cheshire is perhaps most famous for its railway engineering and from 1946 to 2002 for being the home of Rolls Royce car production.

Crewe appears as "Creu" in the Domesday Book as a small settlement. It does not appear until Joseph Locke created a town in 1843 to accommodate the growing railway community around the Grand Junction Railway that had opened its Locomotive Works and railway station in 1837. Crewe is even named after the railway station. Up until the Great War GJR continued to develop the town and provide leisure facilities for the workers. The town thrived until the recent downturn in British industry.

In 1918 the famous Tank Bank "Drake" came to the town to raise money for the war effort during the towns War Weapons Week. The citizens of Crewe certainly made its visit worthwhile as they gave over £1.5 million pounds by buying National War Savings certificates. By the end of hostilities they had added to their total and raised a terrific sum of money, just over £2 million in fact.

On the 25th October 1919 the town was awarded a Male Mk IV tank, production number 4091 and Battalion Number I 65. It arrived by rail at the Goods Station on October 22nd 1919 and stayed there under cover until the 25th October.

On the 25th October the tank moved off from the station and drove through the town to the market place where the acceptance ceremony took place. The planned activities went well and the huge crowd of onlookers listened intently to the various civil and military dignitaries as they gave their speeches. General Sir Beauvoir de Lise named the tank "Never Behind", which is the town motto. After the speeches there was a chorus of the National Anthem and the tank moved off again down Victoria Street until it reached its designated display plinth in Queens Park. As was usual practice, the last thing the crew did was to remove the machine Drive Chains.

Less than one month after its arrival the 105hp Daimler engine was removed from the tank, just why this was done is unknown. Often the engines went to schools and other establishments as instructional pieces and sometimes they were sold on to commercial vehicle operators.

By February 1928 the Borough Council began to discuss the disposal of the tank. It was becoming rusty and many said that it was ruining the look of Queens Park. In May, they decided to act on their discussion and asked for tenders for the removal of the tank.

By July 1928 the winning tender had been chosen, although the exact amount and the name of the winning party is unclear. What is known is that the scrap-men arrived on the 26th August 1928 and by the time they left on the 10th September the tank had been reduced to scrap and taken away by lorry."

The picture we have of the tank clearly shows it was an I battalion machine and it sported the white/red/white recognition stripes which indictates it saw overseas service.

Hope that helps

Tanks3

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I have only seen the grainy photo of this tank that the Friends of the Lincoln Tank found, but my interpretation of the number is that it is as Centurion says, the Home Service Number 165 and not a 9th Battalion tank I65. I have four reasons for thinking this. Firstly, all I or 9th Battalion numbers have a full stop after the I and before the number and this isn't evident in the photo. Secondly, when one looks at the I on 9th Battalion tanks it flares slightly at the top and bottom. The I on this tank is a straight line. Thirdly the digits are in exactly the style of Home Service Numbers, and lastly the serial number 4091 indicates one of the very last Mark IV Males built. We know that 4096 wasn't sent to France until 11 October 1918 (although 4086 was in France in early May 1918). By this time 9th Battalion was using Mark Vs. Photo(s) attached to illustrate these points.

Having said this I cannot explain either the white/red/white recognition stripes on a tank with Home Service markings, or the letter I beneath the number. But you will note that a similar mysterious I appears on the Hythe presentation tank, 164.

Gwyn

post-20823-0-67900600-1349209098_thumb.j

post-20823-0-53926200-1349209133_thumb.j

post-20823-0-46568900-1349209232_thumb.j

post-20823-0-50283100-1349209362_thumb.j

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Not sure that those are recognition stripes as used in France , It appears to be continuous white. . Looking at the photos I have the only presentation tanks with recognition stripes are female Mk IVs. All but 2 of the males have home service numbers and none have recognition stripes.BTW Did 9th Btn crew numbers go as high as 65?

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