dinsdag 9 juni 2009

Brief aan de Royal Tank Regiment Associations

Brief van Chris Lock aan de Royal Tank Regiment Associations in het Engels.

Toelichting over het hoe en waarom van het Tank Memorial te Poelkapelle en het verloop van de plechtigheden het week-end van 10 oktober 2009.

Poelkapelle, Belgium.
Mr Chris Lock
Coordinator Tank Memorial Ypres Salient
Lille Gate Guest House
Neerstraat 14
8900 Ypres (Ieper)
Tel 003257400857
Belgium Representative. Johan Vanbeselaere
**** Please see www.tankmemorial.vpweb.co.uk ****
For all information regarding construction details and Inauguration Ceremony weekend.

The Secretary.
The Royal Tank Regiment Associations.

Dear Sir/Madam.

My name is Chris Lock and I served with the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment. Today I am an active member of the Royal Tank Regiment Association and I live and work in Ieper (Ypres) I am writing to give your Branch notice of a brand new Tank Memorial to be constructed this summer in the Village of Poelkapelle, Belgium.
France has two Tank Memorials representing the Great War tank actions whilst there is not one in Belgium, let alone in the infamous Ypres Salient battlefields.
The Tank Memorial Ypres Salient has already been paid for in its entirety. However; I do understand that if RTR HQ, the Regiments themselves and our Associations wish to offer some financial assistance for the upkeep and maintenance of the Memorial once built, then that offer will be most welcome. The proposed Tank Memorial itself is simply stunning and is badly needed. The tank crews that fought here in such tragic and hopeless circumstances yet at the same time with so much bravery and determination deserve it! I believe the Tank Memorial Ypres Salient Inauguration Ceremony could also become one of the RTR Association calendar highlights and I also believe that the proposed accompanying annual ceremonies will be likewise.

The Tank Memorial Ypres Salient will be built of black brick and black cement. Brick represents the robustness of this hard working Regiment. Black represents the singular colour of the Royal Tank Regiment today.
The enclosed Brick column is the same height as a MK 4 tank. The frontage is wide enough to carry the Memorial black granite text plate. The width of the column represents the dimensions of a MK4 tank track complete with mud spuds.
The Memorial Register Book will contain the names, the CWGC or Missing Memorial for every fallen tank soldier buried or commemorated in the Ypres Salient.
It will contain all relevant information on the Tank Memorial itself and a section will also list the details of all personnel and associations who donate to the Tank Memorial or who were involved in making this much needed Tank Memorial become a reality in perpetuity.
A Memorial Visitors Book will also be available for your comments upon visiting.
A Garden of Remembrance will be prepared at the Inauguration Ceremony and at the annual Ceremony. This will be situated inside the Memorial enclosure. The garden will contain a personalised Poppy Cross for every single Tank Crewman buried or commemorated in the Salient today. They will sit in planters containing Flanders field’s mud.
The Memorial Enclosure will also contain - to scale walk in silhouette - all crew members’ positions inside the fighting compartment of a MK 4 Tank.
Three flags will be flown. The UK and Belgium flag throughout the tourist season with the RTR flag of today at the various annual ceremonies.
An information board with photographs will reveal D 29 DAMON II knocked out and bogged down not 30 yards from where this Tank Memorial is to stand. That tank was hauled from the mud after the War and stood on the very spot where this Tank Memorial is to stand today to commemorate all tank actions throughout the entire Ypres Salient. The Germans took it away in WW2 and it was never returned.
This will be a most special symbolic Tank Memorial indeed!
* The Tank Memorial Ypres Salient black granite text plate reveals all! Please see attached Memorial text sheet.

Saturday 10th October

Location. The Village of Reutel near Polygon Wood.
VC & DCM tank action battlefield tour. We will walk in the footsteps of Capt Robertson & Pte Cyril Allen which would lead to the 1st VC to be awarded to the Tank Corps during the Great War and Pte Allen’s much deserved DCM. He will also fall in battle several weeks later at Cambrai! This battlefield tour is very easy to follow and only involves a short walk of approximately 500 yards on tarmac. This walk is tremendous and you will not fail to be left overawed by the actions of these two very brave tank men.

11.00 hrs.
Location. Oxford Road CWGC.
Graveside Ceremony for Captain Clement Robertson VC with special Ceremony for Pte Cyril Allen DCM.
14.00 hrs.
Location. Guynemereplein, Poelkapelle.
* A full order of service will be listed on the Tank Memorial web site prior to the Inauguration Ceremony weekend. Amongst those confirmed attending already:
Several families of tank crewmen who fought in the Salient including:
Capt Robertson VC.
Capt Richardson MC, CdG.
Lt Coghlan MC
*The families will also be bringing their relatives actual medals to these Ceremonies.
20.00 hrs.
Location. Menin Gate Memorial. Ieper ( Ypres )
Please go www.lastpost.be and look up ceremonies, calendars and you will see the above Ceremony listed.

SUNDAY 11TH October.
10.00 am.
Location. Guynemereplein Poelkapelle.
There will be two tank action tours, one immediately following the other:
The 1st tour will involve a short drive to the actual location of one of the Great War’s most heroic tank actions.
Tank F41 FRAY BENTOS was knocked out in "No Man’s Land" and withstood almost 3 full days of constant enemy infantry assaults, shelling and machine gun barrages. The tank was penetrated many times by shot and shell and all crew members were either killed or wounded. They were also attacked by their own side who believed the Germans had captured the tank. 2 MC’s, 1 DCM & 6 MM’s later and a Tank Corps legend was born!
The second tour will start and finish at the Tank Memorial and reveals the magnificent and then tragic story of D Battalion Tank Corps assault into the fortified Village of Poelcapelle on October 4th & 9th 1917. This tour will be given by Johan Vanbeselaere of the P1917A group. He is also the Belgium Representative to the Tank Memorial Ypres Salient and has been heavily involved since the beginning. Johan is a living encyclopaedia on the Salient tank actions. His tank action photograph collection is unique and many of these photos can be matched to the battlefields of then to the landscape of today. For tank men everywhere, these tank tours are not to be missed!
Mid day onwards. ( After completion of tank tours )
Meet at the Tank Memorial Ypres Salient. Guynemereplein, Poelkapelle.
A guided visit of the P1917A "D29 DAMON II" MK 4 TANK Reconstruction project.
Please go www.p1917a.blogspot.com
We look forward to seeing you all on the weekend!

Best wishes.

Chris Lock.
Coordinator. Tank Memorial Ypres Salient.

Johan Vanbeselaere.
Belgium Representative. Tank Memorial Ypres Salient.

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