New Tank Museum to open in Cambrai northern France

Written by on April 28, 2017 in Battlefields and War Memorials

Cambrai Tank 1917 Museum welcomes “Deborah”.

In June 2017, the famous World War One tank known as ‘Deborah’ will begin her final journey to a purpose-built new home at the soon-to-be completed Cambrai Tank 1917 museum.

Deborah, a 26-ton female Mark IV British tank, is the star exhibit at the new museum dedicated to the Battle of Cambrai, which will open on November 26, 2017, one hundred years after the battle in which Deborah and 475 other British tanks fought.

The Cambrai Tank 1917 museum is located close to the Flesquières Hill British Cemetery, approximately five kilometres south-west of Cambrai, where five of Deborah’s crew have their final resting place.

Historically important, Deborah – more properly known as D51 Deborah, is the only surviving tank from the 476 that fought during the Battle of Cambrai, the first time in history tanks were used en masse. And one of only seven Mark IV’s that survive from a production of over 1,200.

First discovered in 1998, for some years Deborah has been on display in a barn in the village of Flesquières.

With the near completion of the new museum, it is now time to move the 100-year-old tank to her new home; a complex operation that will take place over a week in June.

The operation to re-locate Deborah has involved months of careful planning and is a highly technical process that will involve two specialist cranes, a hydraulic, ‘floating’ path and a special transporter.

Deborah will initially be placed onto a new base – using a 130-tonne crane – and then carefully moved from the barn to a transporter on a specially constructed path. After arriving outside the Cambrai Tank 1917 museum, a specially-installed 500-tonne crane will be on site to life the delicate, near 30-tonne, tank into her new home, a sunken enclosure some 6-metres below ground. Every stage of the operation will be carefully monitored by the technical crew, as any unusual forces on the rusted iron tank could spell disaster and risk her breaking up.

This exceptional and unique operation marks the first stage towards the opening of the new museum dedicated to the Battle of Cambrai.

Read how the Deborah Tank was discovered by a local man – an incredible story of determination.

Find out what’s on in the region at: www.tourisme-nordpasdecalais.fr

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