The anniversary of the Battle of Cambrai, the first tank battle in history, is one which is commemorated worldwide. Rebecca Skelton, an Archive Assistant at The Tank Museum, explores the ways in which it has been celebrated since the First World War.
20th November marks the 99th anniversary of the Battle of Cambrai. On this day nine battalions of the Tank Corps embarked on the largest tank battle to date creating a battle honour which the Royal Tank Regiment commemorates to this day and cementing the tanks, and the Regiment’s, place in history.
Above is a snap shot of some of the historic documents, held in the Archive, which detail Cambrai anniversaries of the past. These programmes, signed menus, and accounts, even a telegram from His Majesty the King, of bye-gone days, demonstrate the significance of the Battle of Cambrai to the officers, and men, of the Royal Tank Regiment and its predecessors.
I found my favourite quote in the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Battle of Cambrai Open Day Souvenir Programme, July 31st 1977. “Members of the public taking part in any of the sideshows do so at their own risk. The Army Department regrets that it cannot be responsible for any loss or damage to cars or their contents.”
For more information on the Battle of Cambrai, watch The Tank Museum YouTube documentary, Cambrai: The Tank Corps Story.