The Tank in the Rec.



Halifax Guardian November 22nd 1919 – ‘Despite the bad weather a large number of the people of Elland turned out on Thursday to witness the progress of the tank to the Recreation Ground, where it was handed over to the local authorities. The tank is the gift of the National War Savings Committee to Elland as a reward for the strenuous endeavours of the local people to raise war loans. The tank is one of the old type carrying six machine guns only. Lieutenant LB Meek was in charge with a crew of a Sergeant and three men.


The tank made slow progress up to the Rec. It climbed one wall easily but stuck at the second. In handing over the tank to Captain Denning, Lieut. Meek said that they could not expect a C3 tank to do A1 work. Capt. Denning then formally handed the tank over to Mr. JS Smithies (Chairman of Elland UDC). The proceedings were carried out in a blinding snowstorm. After the ceremony in the Rec, a luncheon to the chief citizens of the township, Capt. Denning and Lieut. Meek was served in the Constitutional Club, Mr Smithies being the host.


After the loyal toast had been honoured, Lieut. Meek was called upon to speak a few words. The tank, he said, which that day had been presented to Elland, had at last reached its place of rest in the green fields of the recreation ground. It was one that was very likely in action in the early part of 1917, and since then had been in used for instructional purposes in England. Though it might be dubbed scrap-iron, yet it was iron which the boys of France had been glad to scrap with. “This poor old tank,” he added, “will never move again”. He finally pleaded that people would not raid the tank for souvenirs.


Capt. Denning referred to the great effort made by Elland in raising £543,000 in War Loans. He suggested that the tank should be dedicated as a memorial to the lads of Elland who had fallen in the war. Elland’s war memorial should be just a simple cenotaph, with the names of the fallen men inscribed. Weapons captured from the enemy should surround it and he could, if necessary, obtain for this purpose a couple of German guns.


Councillor Eastwood mentioned that a deputation was to approach Lord Savile’s agent for a site for the war memorial, which would probably be in Southgate.’ Some may recall the tank. It was still in the Rec during the 1930s.


Allowing for inflation the amount raised in war loans is equivalent to (at least) £23 million today and as we know Elland’s war memorial was not placed in Southgate and nor is it a ‘simple cenotaph’.


David J. Glanfield

Greater Elland Historical Society


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