Of tanks, zoos and gardens …
Two and a half years later after Churchill’s instruction (set out in the Great War Lives Lost blog) to design tanks today on 26 March 1915, 40 year old Sergeant George Douglas, gardener formerly of Kew Gardens, was to die in an early tank action at Flesquieres on 20 November 1917. See https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/such-is-the-price-of-empire-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-the-first-world-war
Sydney Comer of Kew Gardens died training with the USA Tank Corps and several Kew staff died in tank battles in WW2. Secret tank trials took place amongst the estate grounds of Hatfield Park in Hertfordshire in January and February 1916, whilst Knowsley Hall Park (now a safari park) proved great tank training grounds in WW2.
Today tank training ranges like Salisbury Plains form interesting ‘untouched’ conservation and wildlife reserves!
Winston Churchill’s instruction, “Proceed as proposed and with all dispatch”, authorizes commencement of the design of tanks. They are to be bullet proof machines in the words of Major General ‘Sir’ Ernest Swinton “capable of destroying machine guns, of crossing country and trenches, of breaking through entanglements, and of climbing earthworks”.
Today’s losses include:
- A son of a member of the clergy
- Multiple families that will lose another son in the Great War
Today’s highlighted casualties are
- Lieutenant Commander Charles Pleydell Mansell (HMS Celtic) dies at sea at age 43. His brother will be killed in October 1916 and they are sons of the Reverend Owen Luttrell Mansell.
- Second Lieutenant John William Henry Greig (Indian Army Reserve of Officers attached Indian Cavalry) is killed in the operations against the Toch at age 28. His brother will die of injuries in suffered in the loss of HMS Russell in April 1917.
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