A Poppy
A Poppy

Memorials & Monuments
on the Isle of Wight
- Miscellaneous memorials -
- Isle of Wight War Tanks -


In common with many other towns and cities in the United Kingdom, tanks from the Great War were put on display as memorials and in recognition of the funds contributed to the war effort by the individual towns.

Tanks were provided to Newport and Ryde in 1919. Both were Mark IV 'female' tanks; i.e. they were equipped with 6 Lewis machine guns rather than the guns carried by the 'male' tank. The armament of all Male tanks were 6 pounder ex-Naval guns, initially of full length but Mk IV's and subsequent models all had shortened barrels to prevent them "digging in". The reduction in Muzzle velocity was not of significance as they did not employ Armour Piercing ammunition at that date.

In Newport, the sum raised for the war effort in the period 1st October 1917 to 18th January 1918 was £403,593.

Both the tanks had apparently seen operational service in the first battle of Cambrai and in the Ypres area. According to the Isle of Wight County Press of 13th Spetember 1919,

"Newport's tank has a splendid fighting record, as it took part in breaking the Hindenburg line in the first battle of Cambrai and in the operatons around Ypres, although it has since been coloured and camouflaged. Bullet and other marks of fighting are visible on the exterior. It weighs about 27 tons, is 20 ft. long, 13 ft. 1½ in. wide and 9 ft. 3 in. high. It is driven by a 105 h.p. Daimler petrol engine. At the battle of Cambrai it was fitted with a fascine, the hooks for which can still be seen, for carrying a huge bundle of brushwood, which was automatically dropped into the trench when the Hindenburg line was reached to facilitate crossing."

The tank destined for Newport travelled via Portsmouth by tug and was landed at Cowes on August 28th 1919 before proceeding to Parkhurst. It was then shown off in Quay Street, Newport before being driven to the Victoria Recreation Ground where it was unveiled on Tuesday 9th September 1919. The ceremony was attended by local dignitaries, representatives of the War Savings Associations, and Tank Corps officers including Capt. Farrar MC and Lieut. Roberts MC.

The Newport tank was named "Winifred" after the then Lady Mayoress of Newport; the Mayor was Ald. F.E. Whitcher.

Although not mentioned in the County Press report of the unveiling ceremony, the event was somewhat marred by the appearance of two of the tank crew at Cowes Police Court, on August 29th, accused of trying to sell the tank's dynamo to a local scrapyard. [The Times 30th August 1919] The fate of the crew is not known.

Both tanks remained in place until World War II when they were broken up for scrap.
The Newport Tank

click image for larger picture

The Newport tank at Victoria Recreation Ground.
Photo taken from "Newport in Old Photographs" by Donald A Parr (1994).
Thanks to David Longster for this.

page last updated : 23rd February 2010
(additional information from David Longster and Gwyn Evans)


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