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Acme Thunderer Whistle


February 10, 2017

The Tank Museum often receives fascinating donations, from flags to photographs, models to medals. A recent contribution to the collection is this Acme Thunderer whistle. 

This distinctive and unusual Acme Thunderer Whistle, in the shape of a First World War Male Heavy Tank, belonged to Captain Frank Felix Kendzior. Despite its size, the rhomboid shaped whistle is very detailed with sponsons, tracks, viewing hatches and rivets. Underneath, its “The Acme Thunderer” trademark stamp can still be clearly read and it still has its original `pea’.


Captain Kendzior in his Lincolnshire Uniform.

Capt. Kendzior began his army career in the Lincolnshire Yeomanry before transferring to the Heavy Branch Machine Gun Corps days before they changed their name to the Tank Corps in July 1917. By August 1918, he was commanding No. 7 Section, B Company, 9th Battalion Tank Corps.

Following the end of hostilities, Capt. Kendzior travelled the world before managing a farm in America. He returned to England, shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War and served in the Home Guard.

Made in Birmingham, Acme thunderer whistles were widely used by British Officers and NCOs to issue and communicate commands. They were usually suspended from the uniform by a whistle cord.

The whistle, one of a range of souvenir models made between 1919 and 1926, along with Capt. Kendzior’s cap badge was donated to the collection by his Grandson. The Museum are currently in contact with Acme to discover more about their origins.

For all the whistle enthusiasts out there, have a look at Acme’s website. Another interesting tank-shaped item recently donated was General Martel’s bonnet ornament – find out more here

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  1. I collect whistles and have one of these including other military types which i display on my Facebook Page ‘Whistlecollection’. Its very well made, quite large, unique and one of my favourites.

  2. I have one too, made by Joseph Hudson & Co, Birmingham, England these were made in around 1917 appx 4,000 were made, I have seen perhaps 10 in my 15+ yrs of collecting.

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