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Egbert and Nelson

Details about Egbert And Nelson

In November 1917, the appearance of two tanks in the Lord Mayor of London’s Show, proved to be a major hit with the public. As a result, the National War Savings Committee decided to capitalise on the public’s fascination with these new weapons in a campaign to promote and sell War Bonds and War Saving Certificates.

On November 26th, 1917, “Egbert”, one of the tanks that had recently taken part in the Battle of Cambrai, the first large-scale use of the tank in battle, was shipped back from France and put on display in Trafalgar Square. So successful was this fund-raising event, that a further five tanks were allocated to tour the country’s major towns and cities to raise money from the sale of Bonds and Certificates. To foster a spirit of competitiveness, it was decided that whichever town or city raised the highest total per head, it would win one of the tanks - “Egbert”.

In 1918 West Hartlepool requested the visit of one of these promotional tanks, and on February 4th, “Nelson” arrived. As was customary, to demonstrate the tank’s capabilities, “Nelson” ‘put on a show’. There was a huge public response and by the time “Nelson” left, £2,367,333, had been raised (more than £143 million at 2015 values)– the equivalent of £37 0s 8d per head (just over £2,240 per head at 2015 values)

West Hartlepool had won the competition, and in June 1919, in front of the Municipal Buildings, General E. D. Swinton, presented “Egbert” to the town. Naturally “Egbert” put on a show – his last leap before going on permanent static display at Stranton Bull Garth, finally going for scrap in 1937.


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