…War Bond. Reader [Howmuch?] has been ferreting around in his copious stock of interesting newspaper clippings with an eye to the tank testing quandary and found out the promotional advertisement for what was probably the first tank ever to visit Walsall. We’re not sure of the date or the route the machine took, but it must be during the First World War – the advert does mention war bonds, after all. The design in the sketch is commensurate with early tanks.
This kind of thing wasn’t uncommon; the military in both wars had to scrape around for funding, and as I mentioned initially, many towns and cities funded planes in the Second World War. I’d be fascinated to know if there was a photographic record of the parade – somehow I doubt that. Wonder if any other records of the visit exist?
I’m reminded of the excellent quote found by Ronal D. Fuchs, which appears to have been accurate in a period before his expectation:
It’ll be a great day when education gets all the money it wants and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy bombers. ~Author unknown, quoted in You Said a Mouthful edited by Ronald D. Fuchs
Sadly, we only have a poor quality, partial scan of the article, which originally appeared in the Walsall Observer.