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October 17, 2016

Tunbridge Wells, which is allowed to call itself Royal Tunbridge Wells, is in Kent, a short distance from the Sussex border. Its tank arrived by rail on 30 July 1919, but Parkway goods station was quite  a way from the spot selected to display it and the tank had a long journey from the goods yard to the place where it was destined to be exhibited.

The tank was a Mark IV, a male tank, and they were quite rare among the tanks selected for display. Quite why it should get a male tank we don’t know, unless the authorities assumed that Tunbridge Wells was too refined to harbour any unruly elements.

The tank itself is quite interesting. It was emblazoned with the number 131, which indicates a tank used for training, yet we can see from pictures that it was also equipped with unditching beam rails which were normally fitted in France at this time and indicated a tank used in action. It may be that this tank was damaged in action and, after repair, was sent back to Britain to serve as a training tank.

For what it is worth, although we don’t know the tank’s own number, we do know that it was one of the main production models fitted with twin Daimler radiators of the tubular type.

A site had been selected for the tank on a patch of ground alongside the London Road, opposite Tunbridge Wells common, near its junction with Vale Road, directly in front of the General Post Office. The tank was later fenced off with iron railings but it was cut up, in situ, in March 1937 although the patch of ground it stood on is still there but the Post Office building has since been converted into residential flats.

Much of this information has been gleaned from a CD produced by The Friends of the Lincoln Tank which contains more photographs of the Tunbridge Wells tank at its location.

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