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WW1 British Tank Week

Kirriemuir, Scotland Tank Week, 113 Julian

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

Julian and his crew
Julian 113 and its crew

Tank Bank, Julian 113 Scottish tour
Kirkcaldy Monday 16th September 1918
Cupar Tuesday 17th September 1918
Blairgowrie 18th September 1918
Coupar-Angus Thursday 19th September 1918
Kirriemuir Friday 20th September 1918
Arbroath Saturday 21st September 1918
Forfar Monday 23rd September 1918
Brechin Tuesday 24th September 1918
Montrose 25th September 1918

Scotland advert
Tank Week Scotland advert

Kirriemuir Tank Bank

On Friday 20 September 1918, Kirriemuir was the first of the Angus burghs to welcome the visiting tank 113 Julian on his north east of Scotland tour. He was met with great enthusiasm by crowds of Kirrie folk of all ages as he made his way through the town from the station. Local schools had been closed for the day and shops, under the recommendation of the Town Council, were closed for an hour of the afternoon, giving everyone the opportunity to participate in the day’s spectacle. Headed by the Boys’ Brigade Pipe Band, and with a guard of honour provided by the burgh’s special constables, led by Chief Constable Birnie, Julian made his way to the High Street where he was to remain for the rest of the day.

Captain McIntosh, who was in command of the tank during the Angus visit, had seen active service with the Cameron Highlanders, attached to the famous 51st Division. The three men who formed his crew also had experiences of war and, along with Julian, were now on home service. As the tank made his way through Kirriemuir, Julian proudly displayed his teddy bear mascots upon his face. The smaller of the two, which had travelled with him from the battlefields of France, was rescued from the Germans just 24 hours after being captured by the enemy during the March Offensive.

The opening ceremony took place at 11:00 am, performed by Lord Strathclyde, Lord Justice General of Scotland and Lord President of the Court of Session, who was accompanied on the roof of the tank by Provost Ogilvy and Bailie Wilkie. The other members of Kirriemuir Town Council and various other public bodies remained inside the roped off area of Julian’s enclosure throughout the proceedings.

Kirriemuir, Scotland Tank Week 113 Julian advert
Advertisement for the visit of ‘Julian’ to the Kirriemuir Tank Bank, Kirriemuir Free Press, 20 September 1918

Lord Strathclyde addressed the crowd, applauding Kirriemuir’s past record of war contributions and stressing the importance those at home played in Britain’s war effort.
“Kirriemuir had in the past stood head and shoulders above all the other burghs in Scotland. Stornoway disputed their title (laughter) but until Stornoway proved it was better…first place would go to Kirriemuir. The tank afforded those who could not go into the fighting line or make munitions of war an opportunity of lending a hand in the great struggle, and backing up in the best way could the efforts of their fellow countrymen who were fighting their battles for them both by sea and land”

The empty shop at 42 High Street was opened up as a Tank Office where prize tickets were distributed to investors at the tank. For the remainder of Julian’s visit investments were collected at the Tank Office and the Post Office by Postmaster Buchanan, the Rev. George Johnstone Chree, honorary secretary of the Local War Savings Association, and their staff.
The day proved to be successful for all involved, with Kirriemuir raising £55,241.7s.6d. in contributions to the National War Loan campaign. This amounted to over £27 per head of the population. In addition to the £104,799 raised during Tank Week in February and the £43,174 collected during War Weapons Week in April, Kirriemuir’s contribution to the war effort by the end of September totalled £202,214.8s.6d. Local traders and hawkers also took advantage of the visit by Julian, selling postcards, miniature tanks, and other souvenirs to the crowds who attended the day. (www.edinburghs-war.ed.ac.uk)

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

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