NO MEDAL NO GLORY JUST A 12 HOUR SHIFT

INSIDE THE TANK FACTORY

Richard Pullen gives credit where it’s due to those unsung heroes who worked on the first-ever tanks

The erecting shop in Lincoln, full of half-finished Mark IV tanks
ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR

Lincoln is one of those out-of-the-way places that is perhaps neglected by tourists… even though, granted city status in 1072, it has much to admire – including Roman ruins, a medieval cathedral and a 21st century university. However, at one time, Lincoln was a very different place indeed. In the late 19th century, its skyline was dominated by tall industrial chimneys, each belching black smoke 24 hours a day. Lincoln was home to forges, factories and foundries, producing traction engines, threshing machines and a thousand other items for markets in Britain and abroad.

When World War One broke out in 1914, engineers and factories around the world began to retool for producing weapons, vehicles and equipment for military markets. Lincoln was no different, and valuable War Office contracts began to be placed there. Suddenly, local firms that had previously made items solely for agriculture found themselves building aircraft, munitions and gun mountings.

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