Post Tue May 21, 2013 6:52 pm

Tanks on the Island

So far, as far as I know, we have had 2 WW1 tanks displayed on the island.


In common with many other towns and cities in the United Kingdom, tanks from the Great War were put on display as memorials and in recognition of the funds contributed to the war effort by the individual towns.

Tanks were provided to Newport and Ryde in 1919. Both were Mark IV 'female' tanks; i.e. they were equipped with 6 Lewis machine guns rather than the guns carried by the 'male' tank. The armament of all Male tanks were 6 pounder ex-Naval guns, initially of full length but Mk IV's and subsequent models all had shortened barrels to prevent them "digging in". The reduction in Muzzle velocity was not of significance as they did not employ Armour Piercing ammunition at that date.

In Ryde, the sum raised for the war effort in the period 1st October 1917 to 18th January 1918 was £501,432. Both the tanks had apparently seen operational service in the first battle of Cambrai and in the Ypres area.

According to Gwyn Evans, This tank is 8050 and is particularly interesting because it is not a Female. There are a limited number of Mark IVs recorded as "Male with Female sponsons" and this is one of them. Several presentation tanks are of this type. You can't really tell from the exterior except that the serial number doesn't match its appearance. 8050 fought as a Male at the Battle of Cambrai as D46 "Dragon III" of 10 Section 12 Company D Battalion commanded on 20 November 1917 by 2/Lt JT. Clark. I have no other details of the tank's service history, although it was still in action on 23 November

After travelling from Portsmouth to Cowes by tug, the Ryde tank was located at the Canoe Lake on the Eastern Esplanade. The Ryde unveiling ceremony took place on Tuesday 16th September 1919 and was attended by local dignitaries, representatives of the War Savings Associations, and Tank Corps officers including Capt. Farrar MC and Lieut. Roberts MC. In his speech at the unveiling, Lieut. Roberts denied being "pulled up by the police for furious driving" contending that it was for "driving without lights".

The Ryde tank was named "Louise", after the then Mayoress of Ryde, Miss Barton. The Mayor was Ald. John I. Barton J.P.

Both tanks remained in place until about 1939 just before World War II when they were broken up and scrapped for the war effort.

The Ryde tank was observed being cut up in 1941; its engine was still in existence at Valvona's scrapyard in Oakfield, Ryde well into the 1960s.

Tank Ryde canoe lake 1926.jpg
Tank at Ryde canoe lake
Tank Ryde canoe lake 1926.jpg (723.03 KiB) Viewed 1212 times


Tank-Ryde Boating Lake.jpg
Tank at Ryde canoe lake
Tank-Ryde Boating Lake.jpg (518.55 KiB) Viewed 1212 times



In common with many other towns and cities in the United Kingdom, tanks from the Great War were put on display as memorials and in recognition of the funds contributed to the war effort by the individual towns.

Tanks were provided to Newport and Ryde in 1919. Both were Mark IV 'female' tanks; i.e. they were equipped with 6 Lewis machine guns rather than the guns carried by the 'male' tank. The armament of all Male tanks were 6 pounder ex-Naval guns, initially of full length but Mk IV's and subsequent models all had shortened barrels to prevent them "digging in". The reduction in Muzzle velocity was not of significance as they did not employ Armour Piercing ammunition at that date.

In Newport, the sum raised for the war effort in the period 1st October 1917 to 18th January 1918 was £403,593.

Both the tanks had apparently seen operational service in the first battle of Cambrai and in the Ypres area. According to the Isle of Wight County Press of 13th Spetember 1919,

"Newport's tank has a splendid fighting record, as it took part in breaking the Hindenburg line in the first battle of Cambrai and in the operatons around Ypres, although it has since been coloured and camouflaged. Bullet and other marks of fighting are visible on the exterior. It weighs about 27 tons, is 20 ft. long, 13 ft. 1½ in. wide and 9 ft. 3 in. high. It is driven by a 105 h.p. Daimler petrol engine. At the battle of Cambrai it was fitted with a fascine, the hooks for which can still be seen, for carrying a huge bundle of brushwood, which was automatically dropped into the trench when the Hindenburg line was reached to facilitate crossing."

The tank destined for Newport travelled via Portsmouth by tug and was landed at Cowes on August 28th 1919 before proceeding to Parkhurst. It was then shown off in Quay Street, Newport before being driven to the Victoria Recreation Ground where it was unveiled on Tuesday 9th September 1919. The ceremony was attended by local dignitaries, representatives of the War Savings Associations, and Tank Corps officers including Capt. Farrar MC and Lieut. Roberts MC.

The Newport tank was named "Winifred" after the then Lady Mayoress of Newport; the Mayor was Ald. F.E. Whitcher.

Although not mentioned in the County Press report of the unveiling ceremony, the event was somewhat marred by the appearance of two of the tank crew at Cowes Police Court, on August 29th, accused of trying to sell the tank's dynamo to a local scrapyard. [The Times 30th August 1919] The fate of the crew is not known.

Both tanks remained in place until World War II when they were broken up for scrap.

Tank newport2.jpg
Tank at Newport
Tank newport2.jpg (71.86 KiB) Viewed 1212 times


Tank newport.jpg
Tank at Newport
Tank newport.jpg (123.81 KiB) Viewed 1212 times



Sources;
http://wildprojects.co.uk/wildmap/projects/victoria_recreation_ground_isle/
http://www.isle-of-wight-memorials.org.uk/others/war_tanks.htm