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The Mirfield Tank

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The Mirfield War Memorial and the presentation tank in Ings Grove park.

The Mirfield War Memorial and the presentation tank in Ings Grove park.

Between the wars many Mirfield children while playing in Ings Grove Park climbed over a rusting World War One tank.

But what was it doing there?

In 1917 the tide of World War One had begun to change; for the last three years the war had become a stalemate of trench warfare where the losses associated with any attempt to advance had proved horrendous. On the 1st July 1916, remembered as the "First day on the Somme", some 57,470 men became casualties, of whom 19,240 were killed or died of their wounds on just that one day.

However, in 1917 at the battle of Cambrai, the British forces had overrun the German trenches with 437 primitive MKIV tanks achieving a major advance with relatively low casualties.
Much was made of this by the military and press in an attempt to boost flagging moral both in the trenches and back home. (The reality actually was that after a few days most of the ground gained was yet again lost and by the time the British retreated back to their start point their casualties amounted to around 45,000.)

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