Tanks in the First World War were very slow. There were no tank transporters so tanks had to go by train and, as the war went on, they were getting bigger and heavier.
These images display the journey of a tank via train, from the wagon used to the train ferry to France. Photographs courtesy of the Midland Railway Study Centre and The Tank Museum.
The Rectank was designed by the Railway Executive Committee hence its name, and was built in railway workshops all over Britain. It can be identified by the screw down jacks. There are two at each end and four more in the middle, to support it when it’s loading.
The header image shows a female machine (No. 9766) is shown boarding a Rectank wagon at the factory in Birmingham. The Petty Officer is a reminder that all tank handling in Britain was done by No.20 Squadron, Royal Naval Air Service.