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Remembered Today:

Where is this really?


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Came acoss this photo with the title " tank ditched at Cambrai" - from the dress I would think it was a set up.. can any one shed any light on its origins

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This photo was discussed at the Landships forum. There ae different versions of it and it definitely looks staged, perhaps during training. It may be they are practicing holding the tank at its balance point. Unfortunately, I can't find the thread, but in some there are trees fully covered with leaves in the background middle left. There is also another photo taken at the same time showing even more foliage. Both attached.

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post-20824-1184276255.jpg

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It's obviously not "ditched". It's sitting quite firmly on solid ground. Also no guns in the sponsons - and everyone is far too casual about everything to be in a combat zone.

Staged or training. The officer in front seems to be giving the hand signal (at least in the US armed forces) for "stop".

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I have seen this in a few books before. I would be interested if anyone can shed more light as I have always thought that the officer looks incredibly like my Grandfather.

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Thanx for the input guys, I wondered it was at Wailly

S

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"British Officer single-handed stops tank from falling into trench."

Example of British strength.

Joking aside, pictures related to Tank crew training? they seem to be in a sequence of sorts.

Connaught Stranger :D

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There are at least five versions of this photo all cropped of interfered with in one way or another. At least one is captioned Tank awaiting orders Menin Road. Trees and back ground missing in some, foreground in others, bystanders in others. Also if you blow a good quality version up the officer's up raised arm appears to have been grafted in from another photo (I suspect that originally he had both hands in his pockets). The lack of helmets and generally relaxed air of the bystanders on the right of the photo suggest this is well back from the battle front. One should also remeber the unseen person in this photo - the camera man who would have had to have been standing in the open in front of this scene - again suggestive of a general lack of bullets and shells in the vicinity. The Shorts and rolled up shirt sleeves and the foleage on the trees says well before November -hence not Cambrai. I've done an attempt to produce a composite photo restoring the cropped or faded out elements but also removing the arm. It isn't nearly as dramatic but I think this is closer to the original.

post-9885-1184440618.jpg

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I think the arm is part of the original. With the other photo taken at the same time showing his arm up and the bloke on top of the tank watching the officer, it looks as if they are practicing something. As you point out definitely not November with the shorts, and the foliage looks too green for that time of year.

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In the 2nd photo there is no man on top of the tank! Some extra trees though and the two bystanders have vanished. Although the officer has moved the upraised arm is absolutely identical - very odd.

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That would be because the second photo in my post was taken before the first photo. The man beside the tank has also moved forward and the photographers angle has changed, presumably because he has moved from left to right. This has the effect of shifting the trees on the left further behind the tank. The man on top of the tank is probably there to relay orders as the drivers vision flap may not have a good line of sight to the officer. The upraised arm isn't identical either. In the shot with the IWM identifier, he has an open hand; in the next he has a closed fist.

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That would be because the second photo in my post was taken before the first photo. The man beside the tank has also moved forward and the photographers angle has changed, presumably because he has moved from left to right. This has the effect of shifting the trees on the left further behind the tank. Not so much shifted as appeared and disapeared - and what about the tree to the right of the tank? The man on top of the tank is probably there to relay orders as the drivers vision flap may not have a good line of sight to the officer. This has to be supposition. If the tank is moving forward and about to tip down over the drop the man on the unditching rail is likely to be pitched off! I suspect that the driver would have difficulty hearing him anyway. The upraised arm isn't identical either. In the shot with the IWM identifier, he has an open hand; in the next he has a closed fist. I said arm not hand - the position of the arm and the wrinkes in the sleeve remain identical even though the body has moved and twisted And what about those appearing and disapearing bystanders?

Its clear that the various versions of the first picture have been subject to considerable editing (verions with no trees and one bystander, no trees and two bystandrs and some trees) and one would have to therefore also be cautious about the IWM one

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I am beginning to get cautious with most "captions" let alone photos.

I recently purchased a book, on Gallipoli, the dust cover of which had a picture of British troops crossing a trench; previous attributions being to the La Boiselle area

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Bystanders by their very nature can and do move, being neither trees nor rocks. Look at the gentleman to the right of the tank. You mention the editing; bystanders are just as susceptible to editing as any other object. Notwithstanding the angle change of the photographer, trees can also be edited out of photos, as these clearly have been in some shots.

Supposition about the gentleman atop the tank? Of course it is. I wasn't there. I suspect nobody now alive was there. And who said the tank is moving? If it's a setup then a stationary tank is easier to film.

The wrinkles do change in the arm. The lowest wrinkle is much deeper in the open handed shot than the next.

Another possibility is that the officer is there purely as a prop. "Give us a few hand signals - stop, go, that sort of thing". Yes, supposition again, but no more so than a grafted arm.

Of course, the best bet would be to examine the original to see if it has suffered any nefarious editing. I would guess the place to start might be the IWM.

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The IWM describes the photo as having been taken in Oosthoek Wood in July 1917. Some of the tank battalions camouflaged their machines in the wood prior to the start of the 3rd Ypres offensive. Here is another photo from the same locality.

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Gerald - that's interesting and good to know; until now, I had only seen this photo used to illustrate tanks in Bourlon

Wood!

S

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It would seem that progressive editing has step by step removed the wood!

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  • 1 year later...

The officer seems to have dicing, or tartan on the top of his socks, and the other chap has a big grin.

Not sure if that helps any.

Cheers Mike

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