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Gerald du Maurier and the Tank Called Nelson

An interesting piece of information has come up on our Twitter page, which includes reference to Gerald du Maurier.

A postcard showing Nelson the tank at Hampstead

The use of tanks in warfare began during the First World War.  These mammoth metal machines captured the publicís imagination.  The National War Savings Committee seized on this fascination in a publicity campaign to promote the sale of War Bonds and War Savings Certificates.  Six tanks toured the country - Julian, Old Bill, Nelson, Drake, Egbert, and Iron Ration.  Tanks would visit towns staying for up to a week, during which time rallying speeches by local dignitaries would encourage the crowds who thronged to see the tank to buy War Bonds and War Savings Certificates. Tank Weeks were held all over the country with the incentive that the town raising the most money per capita would get to keep battle-scarred Egbert, one of the tanks which had been brought over from France.

The reverse of the postcard

On the 4th March 1918, Nelson arrived in Hampstead, where the mayor and various other notable Hampstead men, including Gerald du Maurier, made appeals to the crowds that gathered to see the tank.  Gerald started his appeal by handing over a £1,000.00 note.  Others followed with generous subscriptions, and in no time at all, £65,000.00 had been donated. Vast sums of money were raised wherever the tanks went.


Newspaper clipping of the event

Many people may not even realise that there was such a thing as a £1,000.00 note.  They were first issued by the Bank of England in 1725 and were withdrawn from circulation in 1945.  The banknote was white, had an image of a seated Britannia in an embossed stamp to the top left-hand corner, and the words Bank of England across the top, with the words One Thousand Pounds further down.

A £1,000.00 banknote

The images in this article show a postcard with a picture of the tank on one side and a long message from a woman called Pollie to her mother on the reverse.  There is also a short newspaper clipping reporting on the event.

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