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February 7, 2017

Ypres, in Belgium, on the edge of the Salient of evil memory, is another location that acquired a tank, selecting one from those about to be destroyed at the end of the war which had significant local associations.

The tank in question was a male Mark IV named Damon (No. 2322) which had been used in action on 20 September 1917 as part of the Third Battle of Ypres. It slipped off the road and became bogged down, subsequently being battered by German artillery.

F. C. Fuller described conditions on the Ypres Battlefield as ‘a complete study of how to move thirty tons of metal through a morass of mud and water’. It was no place for tanks, yet they fought in the area from July until November 1917. The cost was high.

Ypres itself was rebuilt, almost from total ruin. The salvaged tank was displayed near the railway station, its guns having already been removed. That it should be Damon while the tank displayed at nearby Poelcappelle was Damon II is a remarkable coincidence but the battered relic was taken away by the Germans in 1940, cut up and used for scrap.

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