George’s Square : Tank Bank : March 1918

< Back to Digital Heritage Trails

George Square is where the ‘Tank Bank’ set up its stall. The key attraction was ‘Egbert’ the tank, a real battle tank which had been withdrawn from active service to tour the country as a kind of road show. It was delivered by rail at Slead Syke goods yard and trundled its way up the hill and into Halifax. Its purpose was to sell government war bonds and certificates to help finance the war.

The tanks attracted massive crowds curious to see what they must have regarded as one of the ‘wonders of the age’.

The audio re-enactment here follows the reaction of two fictional children, Freddie and his younger sister Millie as they first watch the tank arrive in Halifax and then listen to the Mayor of Halifax deliver a speech to open the week’s investment drive. In the final scene their mother, the fictional Mrs Middleton, buys some war bonds from the attendant inside the tank.
The characters deliver fictional dialogue which represent what it might have been like, but the Mayor of Halifax uses his actual words as reported in the Halifax Courier.

Below we can see HGWTA members pointing to where the tank was positioned in George Square.

Replica Tank at Bovington Museum
click for video (sound)


Video : Pathe News site for actual footage of Tank Banks in UK Towns and Cities. Click on images below

Tank travels down road to take up position in town/ City centre. Location unknown

Egbert’s visit to Halifax could well have looked like this. The road resembles Skircoat Road where Egbert travelled after its demonstration on the Shay Field. The Town Centre has a passing resemblance to George Square where Egbert stopped.

Joy rides on Tanks after the war (1920)
Tank visit to Liverpool (Winter 1917)
‘Julian’, the record breaking Tank Bank (1917-18) Tank Bank rally in the snow
Selling War Bonds from Tank (1917)