Beds, Herts & Bucks

Hatfield House hosts WWI tanks 100 years after trials

Mark I tank in Hatfield Park Image copyright The Tank Museum
Image caption The first official trials of the tanks took place between 2 and 8 February using Mark I tanks

A replica of a World War One tank has gone on show at the stately home where the armoured vehicles were first trialled 100 years ago.

Military personnel, politicians and King George V watched the trials in the park of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire in early 1916.

They hoped the new technology would break the stalemate of trench warfare.

Hatfield owner the 7th Marquess of Salisbury said it was important to mark the centenary of the trials.

Image copyright Hatfield House
Image caption Soldiers and a company of engineers created trenches and obstacles in the park at Hatfield House, for the tanks to traverse in the trials

"Many large houses played a distinguished part in the war effort between 1914 and 1918," he said.

"Hatfield was no exception - perhaps one of the most noteworthy moments came in early February 1916, when the first tank trials took place."

At the end of World War One, the 4th Marquess was presented with a Mark I tank used in the trials.

In 1969, he gave it to the Tank Museum in Bovington in Dorset.

The exhibition at Hatfield House will run to 30 September 2016.

Image copyright Tank Museum
Image caption The trials in 1916 were watched by secretary of state for war, Lord Kitchener, the minister for munitions, David Lloyd George and the prime minister, Herbert Henry Asquith
Image copyright Vanguard Holding Ltd
Image caption A a full-size replica Mark IV tank, which became the first main battle tank, has been loaned to Hatfield House
Image copyright Vanguard Holding Ltd
Image caption The tank is owned by Mac and William McCullagh, who named it Edwin after a relative who died at the Battle of Messine Ridge in June 1917

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites