WW1 British Tank Week

Eastbourne Tank Week, 142

United Kingdom (1917-1918)
Eastbourne Tank Week, 142

The south coast’s National Savings drive was supported by the visit of a tank in July 1918. It visited Hove, Brighton, Eastbourne etc during that month. What is interesting, however, is that this tank was not one of the regular six tank banks. It was in fact another tank with HSN 142.

In July 1918 a tank nicknamed ‘Egbert’ by local newspapers arrived on the Lawns as part of the publicity for War Weapons Week. The Mayor of Hove AR Sargeant climbed on top of the tank to deliver an eloquent speech about the importance of buying war bonds. He must have been preaching to the converted because Hove managed to raise £289,620 and thus had a tank named after the town.

Eastbourne Tank Week 142 Egbert on display at the seafront
Eastbourne Tank Week Egbert 142 on display at the seafront
Eastbourne Tank Week 142 Egbert tank crew
Eastbourne Tank Week Egbert 142 tank crew

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 [email protected]

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