Deborah D51 joined her last homeWW1 Tank - Battle of Cambrai - November 20th - December 7th 1917
Nineteen years ago, the Mark IV British tank Deborah was unearthed close to the village of Flesquières in northern France. After being displayed for 17 years in a barn in the village, Deborah has now been moved to her new home as the centrepiece of the ‘Cambrai Tank Museum 1917’, due to be inaugurated on November 26, 2017.
The battlefield of Cambrai, village of Flesquières
The complicated transfer, which has involved months of planning, and the involvement of teams of experts, was a total success. On July 25, Philippe Gorczynski, the man whose long search lead to the discovery of the tank, paid homage to the 26-tonne female Mark IV British tank, as the team prepared to start the careful process of re-siting the famous tank.
In an emotional ceremony, Mr Gorczynski was joined by French and British members of the association ‘Tank de Flesquières’. Tim Heap, the grandson of Frank Gustav Heap, the tank’s commander during the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917, also attended the ceremony with his son and grandson.
Members of the association "Tank de Flesquières", Philippe Gorczynski by Tim Heap and John Taylor, author of "Deborah and the war of tanks"
Deborah is leaving the barn where she was displayed 17 years
The transfer of the delicate, 100-year-old Deborah was a highly technical operation involving hydraulic cranes, specialist transporters and a team of engineers. The next day, after being removed from the barn, Deborah was successfully transported to the Cambrai tank museum, sited close to the British Hill Cemetery, where four of the tank’s eight-man crew rest in peace.
The technical process with two huge cranes
Amongst them lies Frederick William Tipping. His granddaughter, Jenny Dodd, at the side of his grave, paid homage to the move of the tank in which her grandfather, aged 36, died in November 1917.