Original Female (2740)
Mabel Ettridge and her Father
Replica Male in 2018
(Photo: Michael Iszatt)
Replica Male in 2020
The tank (1917) that stood in Cedars Park from 1921 to 1940 was one of 265 Presentation Tanks given to communities across Britain as they raised Funds for the War Effort. These consisted of 235 'Females' and 30 'Males'. The only remaining original tank on a presentation plinth is the 'Female' Mark IV in St George's Square in Ashford, Kent, however the current tank in Cedars Park is the only known replica to be placed on an original tank plinth - after their tanks were removed, all other plinths were destroyed or remain bare today.
The original Presentation Tank was a 'Female' Mark IV (machine guns only) with number '2740', built at Fosters of Lincoln. It was donated by the National War Savings Committee after Cheshunt raised a considerable amount of money to support the Great War Effort, and was sold for scrap in May 1940 to Messrs Cox & Danks for 27 pounds, 16 shillings and 10 pence, which helped fund WWII. '2740' of 'D' Battalion first saw Action in the Battle of III Ypres - Passchendaele, supporting 18 Div of the Second Army on 12/8/1917 in the Advance on St. Julien, just NE of Ypres, becoming Ditched as very soft wet ground following prolonged heavy rain. On 22/8/1917 it received a direct hit from a German shell, which resulted in it being transferred to the Army Service Corps in early 9/1917 and converted to a 'Top-Draw Sledge Hauler' (a vehicle designed to pull a supply sledge which carried food, fuel and ammunition to the Front, over the churned-up conditions of war), only retaining its machine gun armament in a defensive role. About a year later, production of its successor - the Mark V - began, and slowly the remaining Mark IVs were taken out of War First Line Action and reserved as backup tanks.
Mabel Ettridge can be seen standing on the tank with her father in the 1922 photo on the information plaque in front of the tank plinth. Her daughter, Alison, shared the photo with the Council, from the family's archives.
The plinth remained bare until 21/7/2018, when a replica Male Mark IV (with the markings '4086' and 'A1') was temporarily placed on it, to commemorate the Centenary of the Great War Armistice.
Our War Memorial Tank is the same one that briefly stood on the tank plinth in 2018. It is representative of all in the Tank Regiment during the Great War, and an identity has been heavily researched with the help of many experts and museums to be contemporary with the Active Service of the original Cedars Tank - our replica is based on '2325', a British 'Male' Mark IV (Cannons and Machine Guns) of 'G' Battalion of 6th Section (part of HQ Section), 20 Company, and listed as the 22nd Battalion Tank (i.e. G 22) - named "Grasshopper" by the Crew.
'G' Battalion fought alongside 'D' Battalion of '2740' on 12/8/1917 and was commanded by New Zealander Second Lieutenant George Ranald MacDonald - the Tank was 'Knocked Out of Action' with right track broken, and MacDonald was wounded twice whilst still retaining command. By 8/1918, having been wounded again, he was promoted to Acting Captain, being awarded the Military Cross for 'Conspicuous Bravery' (surviving the Great War). On 22/8/1917, '2325' was transferred to 12 Company of 'D' Battalion and in Action 'Broke Down and was Ditched'. It does not appear to have returned to 'G' Battalion or even survived, as "Grasshopper II" existed later in the Battalion. All Tank names started with the first letter of the Battalion, and in 1918 became interchangeable as either '7' or 'G'. Tank Trials were held at Hatfield Park in 1916 with ground obstacle work provided by 3 (Mid Herts) Battalion of the Hertfordshire Regiment. The development of the Tank was a means of breaking Trench Warfare stalemate to minimise the severe losses being experienced by the BEF and only became possible through the strong support of Winston Churchill, the First Sea Lord, in 1915 (originally called 'Landships' but 'Tank' evolved as a cover, suggesting that they were water carriers). In battle, the Tanks worked in Sections of three - 'Male' centred with 'Females' flanking. Further information is available at our page about early tanks.
Producers at Pinewood Film Studios commissioned the creation of a replica 'Male' Mark IV tank in 2004, named "Frank", which was used for the films The Magic Flute, Wonder Woman and Transformers 5. Military vehicle hobbyists Tony Cooke and Kevin Jepson later acquired the tank and carried out an extensive refurbishment. The guns and machinery have been accurately replicated, although wooden plasticised tracks replace the metal ones of the original. The tank is 13 feet wide and 21 feet long, and weighs 6½ tonnes, much less than an original, which weighs around 18 tonnes. It is slightly shorter than an original, so as to make it easier to move around on film sets. The tank's tracks and Ford Transit engine were removed in 2018 to be used in the construction of a working replica of a 'Medium Mark A Whippet'. Broxbourne Council purchased the external body for use as a presentation tank in Cedars Park, and in the first half of 2019, the body was painted in Valspar "Wagon Train", a brown colour, rather than the common 'muddy green' that was widely used during the Great War. The tank was brought into the park on 1/7/2019, being placed on the original presentation plinth. Support chocks were later added by Jakant Research.
Cedars Park's excellent bronze sculpture of a Rifleman from the Queen Victoria's Rifle Brigade of the London Regiment - all of eight foot tall - was created by Roger Andrews of Glamorgan, Wales, and donated to the community to Remember all those who were lost in the Great War. This amounted to some 1 million from the British Empire, with the addition of over 2 million wounded, many of whom succumbed to their injuries or were left permanently disabled. We should also not forget the military personnel and civilians who died while clearing the battlefields, especially in Flanders and the Somme, due to detritus and munitions found after the War had ended.
There is also a Centennial Bench made of steel, Remembering the Fallen in the Great War, with imagery of poppies and soldiers walking to war. The bench was produced by David Ogilvie Engineering, and several benches with this design can be found across the country.
A remembrance service is held at this war memorial every Armistice Day. Photographs of past services have been compiled here.
While Cedars Park's Tommy statue is dedicated to all Great War soldiers, it is particularly remembering Rifleman 1687 William Ernest Taylor Uglow, who grew up in Cheshunt and is thought to have been the youngest volunteer recruit from the Broxbourne District during the Great War. He served in 1st/9th Battalion of the Queen Victoria's Rifles, a First Line Territorial Force of the London Regiment, who were part of the initial British Expeditionary Force of 100,000 sent to support France and Belgium against the invasion by the Imperial German Army according to Treaty. Rifleman Uglow joined the Territorial Brigade just prior to the Great War and disembarked in France on 4/11/1914, during the First Battle of Ypres.
In the early hours of 1/1/1915, while sleeping in a barn used as a temporary overnight bivouac, Uglow and over 40 others of his battalion were killed by an incendiary bombardment from Hooge heights - the shell was either from a Trench Mortar or Light Field Artillery. Many others were seriously injured.
W.E.T. was the son of William Ernest and Florence Uglow. He has 'No Known Grave' and is therefore Commemorated on Panel 54 of the Menin Gate Memorial Arch (remembering nearly 55,000) in Ypres (Ieper), Belgium, annotated as a Private. He is also remembered on the Cenotaph at Cheshunt Almshouses. In 2015, he was post-humously given the award of Broxbourne Borough's "Young Citizen of the Year", and a copy of the certificate was placed on his wreath at the Menin Gate.
The statue in Cedars Park is not based on Rifleman Uglow's face, however his uniform includes the badge of his rifle brigade.