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I wonder if anybody can help me. I am trying to research a tank that went by the name 'Fifinella' and its occupants. A six year-old post lists it as 'ditched, commander & 1 crew killed'. Where might I find more complete information? I am looking for names and dates or as complete a story as possible. I am a history teacher and like to bring my topics to life by highlighting individuals or specific stories to make it all real to teenage students.

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On 09/04/2018 at 17:58, Kranepool7 said:

six year-old post

This one?



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Finfinellla was an F Bn Mk IV tank serial number 2719.  It was in action on 31 Jul 17 at 3rd Ypres and 21 Nov 17 at Cambrai.  The Comd on 31 Jul was Lt N T Connell.  It ditched.  There is a little more detail here.




Edit: The Comd may have been O'Connell (and opposed to Connell that I posted originally).  According to the 6th Bn history he was injured.  He went on to serve in the 15th Bn where he was captain of the rugby team. 

Edited by Gareth Davies
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Western Morning News 13 August 1917




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Thanks Kath for confirming that.

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His address from his Medal Index Card:

2, Arran Road,



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14 hours ago, Kranepool7 said:

'ditched, commander & 1 crew killed'.

The post says:

"ditched, commander & 1 crew wounded"

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Note that the name 'Fifinella' was originally that of a racehorse.  It has nothing to do with the female gremlins that Roald Dahl wrote about - that usage dates from 1942.  There are many British tanks of the Great War named after racehorses, including Flying Fox, Ballyhackle, Bloodstone, Bayardo (won the Ascot Gold Cup in 1910 and the St Leger Stakes the previous year), Amulet, Diadem...  There were racehorses called Eclipse and Highflyer too and these may have been the origin of the tank's names, though it's less easy to be sure than in the cases of tanks with unusual names. 


(Before the pedants get at me, I know that Ballyhackle and Bloodstone were steeplechasers).


The tank's number, 2719, makes it a Mark IV Female produced by the Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Co Ltd.  The Mark IV at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life is 2743, so it would have been built at around the same time, May 1917.


The history I have for this tank is: 

Blaireville 27.5.17; Drawn from Central Stores on or after 16.6.17; F15 16 Coy F Bn 13.7.17; F15 "Fifinella" 3 Section 16 Coy F Bn 2/Lt O'CONNELL 31.7.17 Ypres III ditched; F15 16 Coy F Bn C23c51 9.8.17;


I have no found any primary source to confirm that the tank Fifinella at Cambrai was 2719. It may have been, but I cannot prove it.


I attach a photo. This must have been taken before mid-July 1917 due go the absence of unditching beam rails.  Like most early production Mark IVs, it has a long exhaust and although it can't be seen in this view, I'd put money on it having the original envelope radiator.



Mk IVF 2719.jpg

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