Plans to place replica tank in Trowbridge Park come under fire

Sylvia Wardle in the park, where the tank was once near the war memorial

The original First World War tank

First published in News by

A battle is looming over a project to place a £250,000 replica tank in Trowbridge Park as part of the town’s First World War centenary commemorations.

A committee from the town’s annual Armed Forces Day presented proposals to build and base a decorative Mark IV Female 222 vehicle in the park during Trowbridge Town Council’s direct services group on Tuesday night.

The plan acknowledges that Trowbridge Park was previously home to a Mark IV Female tank which was given to the town after the First World War to recognise the staggering £1m residents raised in support of the military effort.

The vehicle was displayed in the park from 1919 until the Second World War when it was used as part of the national scrap metal drive for that campaign.

Trowbridge town councillor Andrew Bryant said: “I believe this to be a thoroughly misguided and ill-judged venture that does little, if anything, to promote Trowbridge as a tolerant and progressive town in which to reside.”

Sylvia Wardle, secretary of the West Wiltshire Military Vehicle Trust, presented the plans and said the tank would be a huge benefit to the town - in particular for children studying the First World War.

Retired personal assistant Mrs Wardle, who lives in The Tynings, Westbury, said: “It will make a very fitting tribute to all those who served during the war and to all those in Trowbridge who supported the war effort.”

During Tuesday’s meeting, at Trowbridge Civic Centre, the direct services group decided to refer Mrs Wardle’s proposal to full council who will discuss the matter at their next meeting on March 18.

If the replica tank receives backing from the town council, Mrs Wardle will apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund to help finance the project and get quotes to build the vehicle.

Campaigners hope to have the tank in place by 2016 and Mrs Wardle said she would like to see the region’s schools and colleges getting involved with the plans through an oral history project and photography exhibition with images of the original tank being sought.

She said: “Young children would remember being involved with a project like this all their lives.”

For more information or to get involved email Mrs Wardle on westwiltsmvt@yahoo.co.uk.

Comments (23)

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6:45pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Mike Hawkins says...

Of course Andrew Bryant would disagree! As a Liberal Democrat he would (a) demand we respect the Europeans they believe should rule us; and (b) would have demanded in 1914 and 1939 that we did not fight the Germans, but offer them foreign aid instead!!
Of course Andrew Bryant would disagree! As a Liberal Democrat he would (a) demand we respect the Europeans they believe should rule us; and (b) would have demanded in 1914 and 1939 that we did not fight the Germans, but offer them foreign aid instead!! Mike Hawkins
  • Score: 18

6:58pm Fri 28 Feb 14

moonrakin wurzel says...

A silly idea and a stupid rection.

'bout par for the course for Wiltshire it would seem
A silly idea and a stupid rection. 'bout par for the course for Wiltshire it would seem moonrakin wurzel
  • Score: 0

1:23pm Sat 1 Mar 14

brandx says...

The first post reads like a classic UKIP knee jerk reaction. Is Mike Hawkins really in favour of spending £250,000 of public money on this tank scheme, when there are so many greater local needs - such as a decent primary care centre in Trowbridge?
The first post reads like a classic UKIP knee jerk reaction. Is Mike Hawkins really in favour of spending £250,000 of public money on this tank scheme, when there are so many greater local needs - such as a decent primary care centre in Trowbridge? brandx
  • Score: 4

1:58pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Mrs Donnyfly says...

brandx wrote:
The first post reads like a classic UKIP knee jerk reaction. Is Mike Hawkins really in favour of spending £250,000 of public money on this tank scheme, when there are so many greater local needs - such as a decent primary care centre in Trowbridge?
And your post reads like classic ignorance of UKIP.

Nowhere does Mike Hawkins express his favour in spending so much on the scheme. It reads to me more a reasonable criticism of the Councillor's politically correct reasons for being against the scheme.

I too am against the scheme, but not for reasons of promoting tolerance and pretending the war didn't happen, but because it is silly and pointless.
[quote][p][bold]brandx[/bold] wrote: The first post reads like a classic UKIP knee jerk reaction. Is Mike Hawkins really in favour of spending £250,000 of public money on this tank scheme, when there are so many greater local needs - such as a decent primary care centre in Trowbridge?[/p][/quote]And your post reads like classic ignorance of UKIP. Nowhere does Mike Hawkins express his favour in spending so much on the scheme. It reads to me more a reasonable criticism of the Councillor's politically correct reasons for being against the scheme. I too am against the scheme, but not for reasons of promoting tolerance and pretending the war didn't happen, but because it is silly and pointless. Mrs Donnyfly
  • Score: -9

1:58pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Yohanofthenorth says...

The Tank will NOT be funded by public money, read the article again!
The Tank will NOT be funded by public money, read the article again! Yohanofthenorth
  • Score: 10

3:44pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Mrs Donnyfly says...

Yohanofthenorth wrote:
The Tank will NOT be funded by public money, read the article again!
Neither does the article say the tank will not be funded by public money. An application will be made to the lottery fund to "help" finance the plan.
[quote][p][bold]Yohanofthenorth[/bold] wrote: The Tank will NOT be funded by public money, read the article again![/p][/quote]Neither does the article say the tank will not be funded by public money. An application will be made to the lottery fund to "help" finance the plan. Mrs Donnyfly
  • Score: 6

4:55pm Sat 1 Mar 14

New 2 Trow says...

You cannot pretend that the First World War did not happen. Presumably Andrew Bryant is against the bomber command memorial or the cenotaph or the spirit of armed forces day full stop?

It's not anti European to remember a major world event in which hundreds of thousands lost their lives.
You cannot pretend that the First World War did not happen. Presumably Andrew Bryant is against the bomber command memorial or the cenotaph or the spirit of armed forces day full stop? It's not anti European to remember a major world event in which hundreds of thousands lost their lives. New 2 Trow
  • Score: 6

6:25pm Sat 1 Mar 14

beetawix says...

New 2 Trow wrote:
You cannot pretend that the First World War did not happen. Presumably Andrew Bryant is against the bomber command memorial or the cenotaph or the spirit of armed forces day full stop?

It's not anti European to remember a major world event in which hundreds of thousands lost their lives.
As a cheaper historicaI reminder I suggest some ducking stools on the pond and some stocks, just to confirm that they happened too. They could also be used if necessary. (note these are not real suggestions)

If every town installed a tank in the park then the loonies have taken over. or is it in anticipation of total memory loss of the population.
[quote][p][bold]New 2 Trow[/bold] wrote: You cannot pretend that the First World War did not happen. Presumably Andrew Bryant is against the bomber command memorial or the cenotaph or the spirit of armed forces day full stop? It's not anti European to remember a major world event in which hundreds of thousands lost their lives.[/p][/quote]As a cheaper historicaI reminder I suggest some ducking stools on the pond and some stocks, just to confirm that they happened too. They could also be used if necessary. (note these are not real suggestions) If every town installed a tank in the park then the loonies have taken over. or is it in anticipation of total memory loss of the population. beetawix
  • Score: 3

8:53pm Sat 1 Mar 14

eureka+ says...

has any one bothered to ask the people of Trowbridge what they want?

what would they prefer to spend £250,000 on?..

come on Wiltshire Times.. start the campaign
has any one bothered to ask the people of Trowbridge what they want? what would they prefer to spend £250,000 on?.. come on Wiltshire Times.. start the campaign eureka+
  • Score: 18

1:59pm Sun 2 Mar 14

woodycowboy says...

Firstly I find it interesting that Sylvia Wardle is not even from Trowbridge, and yet promoting what looks like an ugly looking tank.
Secondly remembering the great war can be remembered in many ways not just through monuments that often require lots of up keep and can be a temptation for local vandals that would clearly want to get on the tank!!
See some sense from Councillor Bryant; it will be very inappropriate and I am sure the towns people will agree!!
Firstly I find it interesting that Sylvia Wardle is not even from Trowbridge, and yet promoting what looks like an ugly looking tank. Secondly remembering the great war can be remembered in many ways not just through monuments that often require lots of up keep and can be a temptation for local vandals that would clearly want to get on the tank!! See some sense from Councillor Bryant; it will be very inappropriate and I am sure the towns people will agree!! woodycowboy
  • Score: 11

7:09am Mon 3 Mar 14

Grumpyoldgit99 says...

A great idea. Perhaps they could top it off with a replica trench, replete with mud, barbed wire and gassed troops. A great day out for all the family.
A great idea. Perhaps they could top it off with a replica trench, replete with mud, barbed wire and gassed troops. A great day out for all the family. Grumpyoldgit99
  • Score: 10

9:38am Mon 3 Mar 14

New 2 Trow says...

Some great suggestions above but as the only one currently on the table with someone behind it trying to make it happen is the tank I am all for it.
Some great suggestions above but as the only one currently on the table with someone behind it trying to make it happen is the tank I am all for it. New 2 Trow
  • Score: -2

10:56am Mon 3 Mar 14

Redmist says...

I cant agree with this Tank in the park issue. What are comittee from the armed forces day thinking? They generally do a good job putting on the annual event but have allowed their enthusiasm to cause an embarrassing gaffe.
I cant agree with this Tank in the park issue. What are comittee from the armed forces day thinking? They generally do a good job putting on the annual event but have allowed their enthusiasm to cause an embarrassing gaffe. Redmist
  • Score: 7

11:57am Mon 3 Mar 14

Cllr Andrew Bryant says...

Ah… freedom of speech married to the wonders of the Internet. Not always a positive relationship. Perhaps Mike Hawkins could have met for a cup of tea and a chat rather than alluding to spurious remarks in a public forum. To the best of my knowledge I have never, as a town or district cllr, made any remark about Europe in a public setting. May I ask what kind of crystal ball you have employed?

To make things absolutely clear:

1. I am not against anyone building a tank.
2. I am wholly against a tank being sited in the proposed location as it means appropriating public land and ripping out mature trees. A much better location, as I raised at the meeting, is to place it in the grounds of the new museum site at Courtfield house.
3. I believe the Town Council has a duty to manage the park in a responsible and sensitive manner for the benefit of all our residents.
4. I seek in no way to be disrespectful. I appreciate the efforts of the troops during the war and wish to see the anniversary of the 1st World War marked with reverence and respect. As a professional teacher with a history specialism I believe I have a pretty solid grasp of social, political and military history.
5. Many readers may not be aware that a large number of towns scrapped or sold off their presentation tanks within a few short years of receiving them as they caused undue stress and embarrassment and were a painful reminder of their loss. This is in addition to the fact that the tanks had been used as a jingoistic tool to raise money to fund the war effort (they were originally known as ‘tank banks’). Other Town Councils were grateful that the scrap drive of 39-45 was a convenient way to dispose of their painful relics (many of which had not seen active service but were UK based training tanks, contrary to what the government had suggested).
6. On a personal note, I do believe there is better use of tax payers’ money. Yes, whichever pot the money comes from, it’s still from YOU, the tax payer.
7. Lastly – keep Trowbridge parkland open. Let the true appreciation of our freedom be demonstrated by people of all ages being able to walk/run/play/relax freely across our park.

Anyone wanting to read what I said at the Direct Services meeting (in context) can see the minutes of the meeting where a reasonably complete account has been recorded. However, my message to everyone with an interest in preserving our beautiful park is this – you have ONE opportunity to voice your concerns to the council. Please attend the Full Council meeting on Tuesday March 18th, 7pm at the Civic Centre. You will be free to speak for 3 minutes and will be made very welcome.

Kind regards

Cllr Andrew Bryant
(I am more than happy to discuss this issue if anyone requires further clarification. Contact details on Town Council website).
Ah… freedom of speech married to the wonders of the Internet. Not always a positive relationship. Perhaps Mike Hawkins could have met for a cup of tea and a chat rather than alluding to spurious remarks in a public forum. To the best of my knowledge I have never, as a town or district cllr, made any remark about Europe in a public setting. May I ask what kind of crystal ball you have employed? To make things absolutely clear: 1. I am not against anyone building a tank. 2. I am wholly against a tank being sited in the proposed location as it means appropriating public land and ripping out mature trees. A much better location, as I raised at the meeting, is to place it in the grounds of the new museum site at Courtfield house. 3. I believe the Town Council has a duty to manage the park in a responsible and sensitive manner for the benefit of all our residents. 4. I seek in no way to be disrespectful. I appreciate the efforts of the troops during the war and wish to see the anniversary of the 1st World War marked with reverence and respect. As a professional teacher with a history specialism I believe I have a pretty solid grasp of social, political and military history. 5. Many readers may not be aware that a large number of towns scrapped or sold off their presentation tanks within a few short years of receiving them as they caused undue stress and embarrassment and were a painful reminder of their loss. This is in addition to the fact that the tanks had been used as a jingoistic tool to raise money to fund the war effort (they were originally known as ‘tank banks’). Other Town Councils were grateful that the scrap drive of 39-45 was a convenient way to dispose of their painful relics (many of which had not seen active service but were UK based training tanks, contrary to what the government had suggested). 6. On a personal note, I do believe there is better use of tax payers’ money. Yes, whichever pot the money comes from, it’s still from YOU, the tax payer. 7. Lastly – keep Trowbridge parkland open. Let the true appreciation of our freedom be demonstrated by people of all ages being able to walk/run/play/relax freely across our park. Anyone wanting to read what I said at the Direct Services meeting (in context) can see the minutes of the meeting where a reasonably complete account has been recorded. However, my message to everyone with an interest in preserving our beautiful park is this – you have ONE opportunity to voice your concerns to the council. Please attend the Full Council meeting on Tuesday March 18th, 7pm at the Civic Centre. You will be free to speak for 3 minutes and will be made very welcome. Kind regards Cllr Andrew Bryant (I am more than happy to discuss this issue if anyone requires further clarification. Contact details on Town Council website). Cllr Andrew Bryant
  • Score: 12

1:54pm Mon 3 Mar 14

Redmist says...

Having second thoughts on this tank issue, just how far is its range? Might be a good idea and enable us Trowbridgeites to keep the surrounding villages in check. Hilperton, Staverton, Steeple Ashton, West Ashton, North Bradley and Southwick you have been warned!
Having second thoughts on this tank issue, just how far is its range? Might be a good idea and enable us Trowbridgeites to keep the surrounding villages in check. Hilperton, Staverton, Steeple Ashton, West Ashton, North Bradley and Southwick you have been warned! Redmist
  • Score: 2

7:55pm Mon 3 Mar 14

brandx says...

Nice one, Redmist.
Nice one, Redmist. brandx
  • Score: 1

10:16am Tue 4 Mar 14

Mrs Donnyfly says...

Cllr Andrew Bryant, what a shame then that the Wiltshire Times chose to quote you as being against this tank on grounds of progressiveness and tolerance, and not on the reasons you give in your post.
Cllr Andrew Bryant, what a shame then that the Wiltshire Times chose to quote you as being against this tank on grounds of progressiveness and tolerance, and not on the reasons you give in your post. Mrs Donnyfly
  • Score: 4

8:59am Wed 5 Mar 14

Grumpyoldgit99 says...

Yes. I had also assumed that councillor Bryant was against the proposal because it is crass, in bad taste and a complete waste of public money.
Yes. I had also assumed that councillor Bryant was against the proposal because it is crass, in bad taste and a complete waste of public money. Grumpyoldgit99
  • Score: 0

9:41am Wed 5 Mar 14

Redmist says...

You know, if there's one thing I've learnt from being in the Army, it's never ignore a pooh-pooh. I knew a Major, who got pooh-poohed, made the mistake of ignoring the pooh-pooh. He pooh-poohed it! Fatal error! 'Cos it turned out all along that the soldier who pooh-poohed him had been pooh-poohing a lot of other officers who pooh-poohed their pooh-poohs. In the end, we had to disband the regiment. Morale totally destroyed... by pooh-pooh!
You know, if there's one thing I've learnt from being in the Army, it's never ignore a pooh-pooh. I knew a Major, who got pooh-poohed, made the mistake of ignoring the pooh-pooh. He pooh-poohed it! Fatal error! 'Cos it turned out all along that the soldier who pooh-poohed him had been pooh-poohing a lot of other officers who pooh-poohed their pooh-poohs. In the end, we had to disband the regiment. Morale totally destroyed... by pooh-pooh! Redmist
  • Score: 0

10:25am Wed 5 Mar 14

Redmist says...

The point I was making is did Cllr Bryant pooh-pooh the idea of a tank in the park or did he pooh-pooh the idea of a tank altogether. Alternatively he could have pooh-poohed both the location and the provision. Its time Cllr Bryant was clear on what he was actually pooh-poohing. Lions led by Donkeys!!!
The point I was making is did Cllr Bryant pooh-pooh the idea of a tank in the park or did he pooh-pooh the idea of a tank altogether. Alternatively he could have pooh-poohed both the location and the provision. Its time Cllr Bryant was clear on what he was actually pooh-poohing. Lions led by Donkeys!!! Redmist
  • Score: -2

9:51pm Wed 5 Mar 14

brandx says...

I have just seen an artist's impression of this "tank in the park". It is planned to put it on a plinth and turned into some sort of monument. To tell the truth it reminded me of a grandiose Soviet war memorial placed outside what used to be called Stalingrad. Certainly not in keeping with an English market town. A memorial garden would be much more appropriate - and cost a liot less.
I have just seen an artist's impression of this "tank in the park". It is planned to put it on a plinth and turned into some sort of monument. To tell the truth it reminded me of a grandiose Soviet war memorial placed outside what used to be called Stalingrad. Certainly not in keeping with an English market town. A memorial garden would be much more appropriate - and cost a liot less. brandx
  • Score: 5

12:57am Thu 6 Mar 14

Mrs Donnyfly says...

There's a perfectly adequate war memorial in the park already.
There's a perfectly adequate war memorial in the park already. Mrs Donnyfly
  • Score: 6

7:20pm Thu 6 Mar 14

Redmist says...

It is my belief that the ill advised tank project stands a good chance of being approved
The heitage lottery fund has recently supported the following bids

Project title: Restoration of the Nicholson War Memorial
Applicant: Leek Town Council
Grant: £183,000
To restore the interior and exterior of the Nicholson War Memorial, and undertake associated activities such as oral history interviews and an exhibition.

Project title: Chorley Remembers
Applicant: Chorley PALS Memorial
Grant: £323,000
To conserve the Memorial Arch, enhance the PALS Memorial Statue and create a new exhibition and interpretation space in Astley Hall.

Project title: Preston Remembers
Applicant: Preston City Council
Grant: £867,700
To enable communities to explore the history of Preston's War Memorial, and the Roll of Honour in the nearby Harris Museum, as well as the collections and archives held there.

Project title: B-type Battle Buses - the civilian story of the First World War
Applicant: London Transport Museum
Grant: £785,700
To explore First World War heritage in London using a restored B-type Battle Bus as a focus for all activity beginning first with the civilian story of London bus drivers and buses on the Western Front.

It seems that the Heritage Lottery Fund have more money than sense.

A couple of questions come to mind
Who are the Armed Forces Day Comittee Mrs Wardle fronts up for?
What public support is there for this project?
It is my belief that the ill advised tank project stands a good chance of being approved The heitage lottery fund has recently supported the following bids Project title: Restoration of the Nicholson War Memorial Applicant: Leek Town Council Grant: £183,000 To restore the interior and exterior of the Nicholson War Memorial, and undertake associated activities such as oral history interviews and an exhibition. Project title: Chorley Remembers Applicant: Chorley PALS Memorial Grant: £323,000 To conserve the Memorial Arch, enhance the PALS Memorial Statue and create a new exhibition and interpretation space in Astley Hall. Project title: Preston Remembers Applicant: Preston City Council Grant: £867,700 To enable communities to explore the history of Preston's War Memorial, and the Roll of Honour in the nearby Harris Museum, as well as the collections and archives held there. Project title: B-type Battle Buses - the civilian story of the First World War Applicant: London Transport Museum Grant: £785,700 To explore First World War heritage in London using a restored B-type Battle Bus as a focus for all activity beginning first with the civilian story of London bus drivers and buses on the Western Front. It seems that the Heritage Lottery Fund have more money than sense. A couple of questions come to mind Who are the Armed Forces Day Comittee Mrs Wardle fronts up for? What public support is there for this project? Redmist
  • Score: 0

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