Tank D51,'Deborah', is lowered into position at the Cambrai Tank Museum 1917, under construction near the village of Flesquières (Photo © Nord Tourisme)

Surviving Battle of Cambrai tank moves to new home

Posted on centenarynews.com on 04 August 2017
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'Deborah', a British tank unearthed in France 19 years ago, has arrived at a new museum opening in November 2017 for the Battle of Cambrai Centenary.

The fragile veteran of the first mass tank attack in history was moved from the village barn which has been her temporary home.

Teams of engineers were on hand to ensure that the delicate operation, which had been months in the planning, was successfully completed without mishap.

Philippe Gorczynski, the local historian whose long search led to Deborah's discovery under fields near the village of Flesquières in 1998, watched the start of her final journey on July 25.

He was joined by Tim Heap, grandson of Frank Heap, the tank's commander at the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917, as well as French and British members of the Tank de Flesquières Association.  

The tank leaving the barn in Flesquières after a 17-year stay (Photo © Nord Tourisme)

Specialist transporters carried 'Deborah' the short distance to her purpose-built new home.

The Mark IV was lowered into position at the Cambrai Tank Museum 1917, due to open on November 26.

In November 1917, the British Army deployed 476 tanks at Cambrai to storm the Hindenburg Line, heavily fortified defences built by the Germans in Northern France in the wake of the Battle of the Somme.

Deborah, a 26-ton 'female' tank (less heavily armed than the 'male' equivalent), was knocked out on the opening day of the battle.

She will form the centrepiece of the new First World War  museum near Cambrai, resting close to Flesquières British Cemetery where four of her eight-man crew are buried.

For more about the discovery of 'Deborah', see the Tank of Flesquières official website.

Interviews with descendants and historians who've followed the tank's story can be found in this video.

Also in Centenary News:

Tanks were first used at the Battle of the Somme in September 1916 - see 'Families of Tank Pioneers Mark WW1 Tank Centenary', an event attended by Philippe Gorczynski and John Taylor, author of 'Deborah and the War of the Tanks 1917'.

Information & images: Nord Tourisme

Posted by: CN Editorial Team