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Post Info TOPIC: British Tank Britannia 1917 in Chicago


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British Tank Britannia 1917 in Chicago
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This first picture is of my dad sitting on the British Tank Britannia (later the name was changed to "Liberty") while on a war bond drive in Chicago in 1917. The tank needed repair and was brought to Marine Iron Works and the whole company was photographed on it. (my Dad is at the arrow) The second picture is of me sitting on the exact same tank in the very spot my dad sat in 96 years ago! I had posted the 1917 pic on Facebook and a great guy wrote to me stating that the tank still existed!!!! My search began that very same moment I read that note!

I found that the tank was on display in Aberdeen Proving grounds since 1919 and had recently been moved more research! After several weeks my inquiries were answered and it was found at Anniston, Alabama!

Weeks of permission requests were finally answered and I was approved to visit her. Yes, it is a female tank! Then more requests to take photos were approved.

We were escorted to the tank and allowed to photograph her. As I sat up on the very same spot as my dad had 96 years earlier, I became overwhelmed with emotions.

This tank has been exposed to the weather all these years and never been under roof! All ports and hatches were welded shut and no interior viewing was possible. It is in pretty poor shape due to rust. I did not step onto any deck plating and only used the treads to navigate to the spot that "Dad" sat on. This tank is in the right place to be restored but sadly there are no plans at this time to do anything with her.

I have more pics of this piece of history if you folks are interested.

Ralph W Gould "Jr."



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Legend

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Ralph

I'm delighted you've been able to find what happened to this tank, and also that your enthusiasm for the Mark IV is as great as mine, but I have news for you that you'll find disappointing. Simply, it isn't the tank your father worked on. It is a Mark IV Female, and Britannia was a Mark IV Female too, but they're definitely different tanks. The key point is that Britannia had rather an unusual feature for a Mark IV, being a hatch in the cab roof. The former APG Mark IV doesn't. We also know that Britannia arrived in New York by ship in October 1917, its arrival being reported in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle for October 25, 1917. However we also know that the APG Mark IV was one of a small batch of Mark IVs supplied to the USA in November 1918. In fact, I can say with some certainty that the APG Mark IV hadn't even been built when Britannia arrived in New York.

So, sorry to disappoint with that information, but there's not many Mark IVs you can sit on these days.

Gwyn



-- Edited by Gwyn Evans on Wednesday 1st of January 2014 04:25:49 PM

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Corporal

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Gwyn Evans wrote:

Ralph

I'm delighted you've been able to find what happened to this tank, and also that your enthusiasm for the Mark IV is as great as mine, but I have news for you that you'll find disappointing. Simply, it isn't the tank your father worked on. It is a Mark IV Female, and Britannia was a Mark IV Female too, but they're definitely different tanks. The key point is that Britannia had rather an unusual feature for a Mark IV, being a hatch in the cab roof. The former APG Mark IV doesn't. We also know that Britannia arrived in New York by ship in October 1917, its arrival being reported in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle for October 25, 1917. However we also know that the APG Mark IV was one of a small batch of Mark IVs supplied to the USA in November 1918. In fact, I can say with some certainty that the APG Mark IV hadn't even been built when Britannia arrived in New York.

So, sorry to disappoint with that information, but there's not many Mark IVs you can sit on these days.

Gwyn

THANKS for your terrific information! Sad indeed! I seem to recall that there were some "male" MK IV's photographed in the New York area and not the "female". I can't find those photos in two days of searching.

Not knowing anything about this tank I kept looking for entry into the tank. I just guessed the entry would be under the sponsons and that seems to be correct. However while I was on top of the tank I looked at the top of the operators cab roof and thought that this is where they got in an out !!!! Sadly I did not take pictures of the top. But not verifying or not being sure of how things worked on this tank I saw "something" that made me think of a hatch. I can't say I saw hatch dogs but I think I saw hinges on the top forward edge of the cab. The picture of my dad sitting upon the tank was written on the back "British Tank Britannia 1917" along with my dad's name as if the pic was intended for my dad by the photographer or the company.

Gwynn I certainly take your new information as facts known by you and researched by you with accuracy but I sure hope I can somehow prove you wrong LOL Even tho this may not be "Dad's" Tank I appreciate your input and your willingness to come forward with this. Good Golly I am now thinking I may have to drive another 7 hours to photograph the top of the cab! LOL

Thanks again as I research further.

Ralph



-- Edited by Gwyn Evans on Wednesday 1st of January 2014 04:25:49 PM




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Legend

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Ralph

I'll save you a 7 hours drive. Photo of the cab roof from the Landships website attached.

Entry and exit routes on a Mark IV are under the sponsons, through a door at the rear of the hull (next to the radiator and above the petrol tank) and a roof hatch but not usually via a cab roof hatch. Britannia (and I suspect a small number of other Mark IVs built like her) is an exception, as are Mark IV Tenders (aka supply tanks).

I would, incidentally, be interested to see the other photos you took. I'm on the wrong side of the pond and it'll take me more than 7 hours to get to Alabama.

Gwyn



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Legend

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Forgot to say, I think the photos you mention of Male tanks in New York show Mark Vs and these did have cab roof hatches, just like Britannia's, as standard.

Gwyn

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Gwyn Evans wrote:

Forgot to say, I think the photos you mention of Male tanks in New York show Mark Vs and these did have cab roof hatches, just like Britannia's, as standard.

Gwyn


I am beginning to see and understand the differences between the MK IV "Britannia" tanks with and without hatches over the cab. Since you feel that the tank I found and photographed at Anniston (previously at Aberdeen) is NOT the Britannia what tank do you suppose it is? I am thinking there were at least two tanks (maybe more) that were called Britannia, that toured North America during 1917/18 in a variety of cities.

I have to say that my father who was actually photographed on this tank and called it "Britannia" and that he actually worked on it would be pretty sure it was "THE Britannia" that toured Chicago. What we need to find is how this MK IV tank sitting now in Anniston got called "Britannia". OR if there is only ONE Britannia how that hatch got changed??????

I want to research this further and find the answer! I will be writing to both Aberdeen and Anniston for verification of name or of some kind of number assigned to this MK IV tank in their possession.

What I find interesting is how the tank at Anniston (previously Aberdeen) is built on the top of the cab. It has two "ears" sticking straight up at or near the front corners of the top of the cab which to me is meant to stop a hatch from falling forward when open. Can there be another purpose for those ears??? And there appears to be two gun ports on the top surface of the cab which would be better used if that top opened straight up and the gun ports would be used forward with the hatch acting as a shield ???? (and those two "ears" at 90 degrees would stop the hatch from falling fully forward).

Gwenn, I hope we can solve this mystery I was pretty excited about sitting on "Dad's" tank only to find it may not be the very same tank he sat upon 96 years earlier.

If the tank now at Anniston is NOT the Britannia. what is it's name or identification? How many MK IV tanks were in North America during that time?

Ralph Gould Jr.



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Corporal

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This is the MK IV that is now at Anniston Al., that has recently been moved from Aberdeen MD. Apparently this tank has never been under a roof since 1919 when Aberdeen displayed it. I could not look inside all ports and hatches has been welded shut. I can only imagine how poorly it looks inside. Externally, there are several places it is rusted thru. I hope funds become available to store this tank indoors somewhere and get it in better material condition.

Anniston is NOT open to the public and this MK IV tank is just sitting in a corner of a parking lot.



-- Edited by picnic42 on Monday 6th of January 2014 08:59:43 PM

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Legend

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picnic42 wrote:

What I find interesting is how the tank at Anniston (previously Aberdeen) is built on the top of the cab. It has two "ears" sticking straight up at or near the front corners of the top of the cab which to me is meant to stop a hatch from falling forward when open. Can there be another purpose for those ears??? And there appears to be two gun ports on the top surface of the cab which would be better used if that top opened straight up and the gun ports would be used forward with the hatch acting as a shield ???? (and those two "ears" at 90 degrees would stop the hatch from falling fully forward).


As I understand it, the 'ears' are to do with camouflage netting; I think they supported the netting off the surface of the tank . The holes in the cab roof, I believe, are the holes originally for the periscopes that were only used on the Mark I. Perhaps the pattern wasn't changed from MkI to MkIV.

The tank that was formerly at Aberdeen may be locally called 'Liberty', but it was never one of the tanks that was called Britannia. This old thread should help: http://landships.activeboard.com/t18207710/double-britannia/



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Legend

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picnic42, may we use your photos in the Landshipsarticle on the surviving Mark IV tanks? And may I ask what is Anniston? Is it an army base or some sort of military establishment?



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Legend

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Hi

Yes I agree, the "ears" are for camouflage netting. There was a theory that there were two tanks touring in the USA both called "Britannia" but I was never convinced myself, partly because the same person who proposed that theory proposed another that there were two "Egbert"s touring the UK, and that was just rubbish.

I do know the identity of the APG/Anniston Mark IV and as I said above, it formed part of a batch supplied to the USA in 1918 and so can't possibly be the Britannia that arrived in 1917. Sorry, beyond that I will not go.

I agree wholeheartedly that this tank deserves better care and attention than being left to rot in the open air. It is a scandal.

Gwyn

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Legend

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PDA wrote:

picnic42, may we use your photos in the Landshipsarticle on the surviving Mark IV tanks? And may I ask what is Anniston? Is it an army base or some sort of military establishment?


Anniston is the primary heavy maintenance depot of the US Army -http://www.anad.army.mil/aboutANAD.shtml.

Regards,

Charlie



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Corporal

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PDA wrote:

picnic42, may we use your photos in the Landshipsarticle on the surviving Mark IV tanks? And may I ask what is Anniston? Is it an army base or some sort of military establishment?


You sure can use those photos! I would be very pleased if you did! I hope some funding may be found to get this tank under roof and preserved!

Ralph

BTW I think someone else answered the "Anniston" question

At least the MK IV is in the right place to be preserved !



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Legend

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Is the M1922 medium tank in the same area as the Mark IV at Anniston? There's been some interest in the M1922 on the forum because it used the same track and suspension system as the British Medium D tank.

Mmm...better add an image of the M1922.

Regards,

Charlie



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CharlieC wrote:

Is the M1922 medium tank in the same area as the Mark IV at Anniston? There's been some interest in the M1922 on the forum because it used the same track and suspension system as the British Medium D tank.

Mmm...better add an image of the M1922.

Regards,

Charlie


That one sure would stand out! I was so excited about seeing the MK IV (which I had originally thought to be the same tank my dad worked on) that I just did not look around... There were about a dozen or so tanks in the corner of the parking lot just moved from Aberdeen. I just did not take notice of any others... Sorry! However I have been told that not all the tanks from Aberdeen are at Anniston... Some were moved to another location.

Ralph



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CharlieC wrote:

Is the M1922 medium tank in the same area as the Mark IV at Anniston? There's been some interest in the M1922 on the forum because it used the same track and suspension system as the British Medium D tank.

Mmm...better add an image of the M1922.

Regards,

Charlie


No idea I was so excited about seeing this tank! HOWEVER. take a look at the last picture I posted above might that be the "turret" of the M1922, behind me in the background? Let me see if I can post that pic here...

Ralph



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Legend

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Certainly looks like the top of the turret of the M1922 - but - there was also a 1929 T2 medium tank at Aberdeen which had a very similar turret.

Regards,

Charlie



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Legend

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I think thats the Japanese Type 95 Ha-Go previously at APG...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Japanese_type_95_3.jpg

Cheerswink



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Legend

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Definitely not the M1922, nor the T2. Ironsides suggestion of the Ha-Go is highly likely, Japanese turrets of the 30s and 40s tended to have such angular protrusions from partly round shapes, generally at the back left to house an MG mount, as seen in the photo.

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Legend

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Without a doubt that's a Type 95 Ha Go, masked by what looks to me like a Soviet BTR-60. That's a pretty eclectic mix of vehicles in one photo!

Gwyn

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In 1917 Lt. Governor of Massachusetts, Calvin Coolidge rode up Bunker Hill in a British tank called - I believe, "the Britannia" in support of a War Bond campaign. You may know that some years later - Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis was ridiculed for riding in a tank when a candidate for the presidency. There are photos and videos of this and it contributed to the collapse of his campaign.

To the best of my knowledge - no film or photos exist of the Coolidge ride and he went on to become president.

Jim Cooke / www.crankyyankees.net



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