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WW1 British Tank Week

Aberystwyth Tank Week, 113 Julian

United Kingdom (1917-1918)
Aberystwyth Tank Week, 113 Julian

Aberystwyth Tank Week, 113 Julian
Aberystwyth Tank Week, WW1 Mk.IV Male tank 113 Julian driving over a makeshift hill as part of a display on the sea front.

Aberystwyth Tank Week, 113 Julian
Aberystwyth Tank Week, 113 Julian acting as a Tank Bank with the sponson doors open.

Tank Week

The British Government needed to raise money to pay for the war effort. The tank was a new technology, and most of the population had not seen one. The War Savings Committee decided that six Mk.IV tanks would tour the country starting in December 1917 and throughout 1918 acting as ‘Tank Banks’ during celebrations known as ‘Tank Week.’ Companies and members of the public would be able to buy National War Bonds and War Savings Certificates from the cashier inside the door of the tank sponson. There were 20 shillings to the British Pound. For every 15s 6d (15 shillings and 6 pence: the minimum investment) invested in a War Savings Certificate, after five years, the government would pay back 20 shillings, an increase of 4s 6d (4 shillings and 6 pence). That is a 22.5% return. This was an attractive rate of return so many people and pension companies like the Provincial invested a lot of capital into War Savings Certificates and War Bonds (minimum investment £5). The War Bonds were sold to private investors in 1917 with the advertisement: “If you cannot fight, you can help your country by investing all you can in 5 per cent Exchequer Bonds … Unlike the soldier, the investor runs no risk.”

The six Mk.IV tanks were 113 Julian 4005, 119 Ole Bill, 130 Nelson, 137 Drake, 138 Iron Ration 4034, 141 Egbert and 142 also sometimes called Egbert although it never bore that name. Tank 141 Egbert was the only tank that had actually seen service in France. Other tanks were used. The top 256 fundraising towns and cities were offered a WW1 presentation tank as a thank you. Tanks Encyclopedia writer and researcher Craig Moore has researched and collected photographs of the Tank Week tank visits. If you find more photographs that are not in this collection, please send them to craig.moore@blueyonder.co.uk

Cambrian News

A HUNDRED years ago this week, the people of Aberystwyth raised so much money for the war effort that it led to the town being presented with its very own military tank. As part of the centenary, looking back at the Great War, Archifdy Ceredigion Archives have been compiling a weekly blog of how the war effort affected people living in the county, with press clipping and photographs from the time. This week, 100 years ago, ‘the tank’ rolled into Aberystwyth and drew massive crowds. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales said that in a bid to raise money for the war effort, “several tanks were used at fundraising events all over Britain, to encourage people to purchase Government War Bonds and War Savings Certificates”. “The campaign pledged to present some of those towns that had ‘done their bit’ with a tank as a token of thanks,” a spokesperson said, “During one week in 1918, Aberystwyth raised an amazing £682,448, the second-highest total for the British Empire, coming second to Singapore.”

Archifdy Ceredigion Archives’ weekly blog also provides a fascinating insight into the lives of people living through war in Ceredigion. This week’s instalment, which can be viewed here, brings news of the death of Pvt Joseph Griffith of Llechryd and it is ascertained that Capt John Evans of Aberporth had been taken prisoner on the submarine which sank his ship. A photograph of Capt Geraint Davies appears in the newspaper. Capt Davies was mortally wounded near Neuve Eglise whilst Pvt William Jones of Tregaron was killed in action on 5 June. Notice of a memorial service to Pvt David Evans to be held in Llantrisant was also included. Pvt Evans was killed on 30 November. Pvt Tom Davies of New Quay was noted as being missing while Pvt Simon Jones of Aberporth was reported as being at home having been wounded in the big offensive in France.

In Aberystwyth, a concert was held in Skinner Street Mission Room to welcome Signaller David John Jones who has been in hospital. Mr Tibbott spoke for Signaller Jones as the latter has not yet regained his voice having been gassed. The headteacher of Borth school has been absent as he has had to appear before the medical board in Lampeter. Again in Lampeter, a conference was held regarding the calling-up of agriculturists of proclamation age, and in Aberystwyth, a meeting was held of the Agricultural Committee where, according to Mr Morgan, the Food Production Department was arranging for the supply of prisoners of war. Mr D J Morgan speaking in a meeting of the Tregaron War Agricultural Committee stated that Gartheli parish approached nearest to the quota of ploughing orders. Also in Tregaron, John Lewis, a labourer, was fined £2 having been charged with being an absentee. The money was to be handed over to the military authorities.

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