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Post Info TOPIC: Research Question, Identifying MK IV 7th BN From Photo, Sept 30 1918.


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Research Question, Identifying MK IV 7th BN From Photo, Sept 30 1918.
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Hi all, pointed here by my friend Jagjetta in the thoughts that you all might be able to assist. 

 

I am researching out which tank this might be:

Tank1.jpg

The photo was acquired in a very extensive grouping to a Canadian 75th BN man who was KIA on September 30th near Cambrai.  He and his section were sheltering in a shell hole when this tank rolled over the top and they had to sneak out the side, our man was killed (most likely by machine gun fire) when he crawled out.

 

His family was very precise in their desire to visit the site of his demise, as well as his grave, and did so in 1920.  I have a letter written by a Lt in his Company (who was wounded same day and lost a leg because of it), which gives details on the events leading up to his death. That officer provided a map to the family (now missing) which marked the spot of his death on it.  This leads me to believe this photo is that of the tank that stopped at or near his death (his mother noted that it was so on the reverse of the photo).

 

What I can make out via the google site, is that it was a 7th Battalion Tank Corps tank, and one of probably 3 from A Coy that was still operational on 30 September.

6039 unknown name, returned to lines 30 September

2893 “Hiawatha”, returned then broke down 30 September

3rd Unknown tank operated by a Sgt Durridge H. 

 

 

My friend Jag has hypothesized that this third tank could have been 2365 “Glamorgan”.

Tank2.jpg

In the quite blurry photo, there is a very apparent G just above the cannon barrel (excludes 2893 as a possibility), and I am not seeing the serial number painted on the rear.   I did find a photo of 2365 elsewhere online taken in August of 1918, and in that photo there is not a name painted on the front section of the tank.  I don’t have access to the 7th BN’s reports, but am not sure how helpful they would be in this instance.

 

So are there any experts here who might be able to assist me in researching out which mystery 7th tank might have been supporting the 75th BN CEF and was still lying on the battlefield almost 2 years later? What vital visual clue, if any, am I missing? 

Appreciate any thoughts or insights any are willing to share. Thanks!

 

 

 



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Brigadier

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I am not able to help on the identity, but can add a bit to Austin's post.

The back of the photo that Austin shared has a handwritten note on the back (presumably in the Mother's hand):

"Picture of tank that finished Lewllyn. We was in bomb hole and crawled out wrong side."

And, to try to understand the photo and Austin's group, I would like to ask two questions:

1) Is it known which 7th Bn tanks were male or female Mk IVs? If so, we could eliminate any female numbers in the attempt to identify the tank in Austin's photo.

2) Did all 7th Bn tanks names have G-names or was that specific to just one company of the Battalion?


Thanks. This is a very interesting topic and look forward to any details our Mk IV experts can add.

John

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John A-G.
Hudson, WI USA



Legend

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I cannot help with the location but I can help a little with the tank. This is indeed a 7th Battalion tank. The G which you've noticed on the hull side ahead of the sponson is proof of this. This letter would have had painted within it the crew number but the photo is too blurry to be able to read this. In any case, our records of 7th Battalion tanks in 1918 are very incomplete. There is no surviving document of which I am aware that links crew numbers (the G number) back to the tank's serial number (the unique four digit number).

All is not quite lost though. You hypothesise that the tank is one of three in A Co that were operational on 30 September, and you know that two of these were 6039 and 2893. Both of these tanks were Mark IV Females. The tank in your photo is a Mark IV Male and therefore we can immediately rule out both 6039 and 2893. (6039 actually survived the war and returned to England. 2893 did serve with H Battalion in 1917 but I doubt it's H Battalion name would have remained during service with G Battalion.) Therefore, if you are right about the tank being one of these three it can only possibly have been the tank commanded by Durridge.

I hope this is of some little help to you. Best wishes with your research.

Gwyn

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John, Gwyn – thanks for taking the time to respond. 

It sounds like I’m on the right track, but might not be able to get a definitive answer based on available data. 

 

 I took another look at the August 1918 photo of 2365 I mentioned before.  It looks like it was numbered and marked with a G (with II inside it) on the front, just barely noticeable in the below photo. The shape of the G looks slightly different on my tank, and the number is certainly not visible as it is in this shot: 

 5b99b25282d00.jpeg

I think my next step will be to try and research Sgt Durriage, though it sounds like with primary source material lacking for the 7th BN that might be a tall order. 

 

 

Again, thank you both for taking the time to respond to my post!



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Legend

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I think that the stylised G used on 7th Battalion tanks in 1918 may have been stencilled. I see no difference between the two except possibly the colour. The II on 2365 is 11 (eleven). The tank was assigned to crew G11.

I agree that researching Durridge may help. He appears to have survived the war. His name is not listed on the CWGC website.

IIRC the 7th Battalion War Diary has been digitised and can be downloaded from the Public Record Office in London. Again, IIRC, it is part of WO95/100 but this can be verified by looking at the on line catalogue.

Gwyn

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Brigadier

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Gwyn Evans wrote:

I think that the stylised G used on 7th Battalion tanks in 1918 may have been stencilled. I see no difference between the two except possibly the colour. The II on 2365 is 11 (eleven). The tank was assigned to crew G11.


 

Gwyn's comment is interesting and sent me looking for other "G" tanks.  This photo from the Australian War Memorial purports to date to about 1920.

 

Picture1.png

 

The Mark IV Supply Tank is located at a tank park outside the village of Villers-Bretonneux. The tank is marked with "supply," "G S 5," and the number "8128."



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John A-G.
Hudson, WI USA

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