Cedars Park has a new (2019) War Memorial, named the Great War Centennial Corner, consisting of a replica First World War tank, a bronze Tommy statue and a commemorative centenary bench. The local community show their respect to the Fallen every Armistice Day with a Memorial Service.
In 1921, the National War Savings Committee donated a tank to Cheshunt, which was placed on a plinth in Cedars Park. This was one of 265 'presentation tanks' (235 'Females' and 30 'Males') given to communities across Britain to acknowledge their financial contributions to the war effort. The Cedars Park tank was 2740, a 'Female' Mark IV, built at Fosters of Lincoln. In May 1940, during a time of need, the tank was sold by Messrs Cox & Danks for 27 pounds, 16 shillings and 10 pence, which supported the Second World War effort. Sadly, most presentation tanks were poorly maintained and left to rust, subsequently being salvaged for scrap during the War, the only surviving original being another Female Mark IV located in St George's Square in Ashford, Kent.
2740 was in 'D' Battalion and first saw Action in the III Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele), supporting 18 Div of the Second Army on 12 August 1917 in the Advance on St. Julien, just NE of Ypres (the Hertfordshire Regiment being one of many following the tanks, in close support), becoming Ditched due to very soft ground following prolonged heavy rain. On 22 August 1917, 2740 was struck by a German shell, which shattered its track. After being repaired, it was transferred to the Army Service Corps in early September 1917 and was converted to a 'Top-Draw Sledge Hauler' — a vehicle designed to pull a supply sledge which carried food, water, fuel, and ammunition over the churned-up conditions of the Western Front — 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 First Line Action and reserved as backup tanks.
New Replica Tank
In 2004, Pinewood Film Studios commissioned the creation of a working replica 'Male' Mark IV tank for use in Kenneth Branagh's The Magic Flute (2006). This was produced by Dave Roberts, a special effects employee at the studios. The vehicle measures 13 feet wide and 21 feet long, slightly shorter than an original so as to make it easier to move around on film sets, however the height and main body width are correct. The frame is made of tubular steel, however some components are made of marine plywood, which significantly reduced the weight down to 7 tons, a quarter of the weight of an original 'Male' Mark IV. Originally, the tank was powered by an electric motor, however this was replaced by a 2.3L diesel engine from a 1990s Ford Transit. The gearbox and drivetrain from this van were also transferred to the tank. Otherwise, the weaponry and body shell have been accurately replicated.
Military vehicle hobbyists Tony Cooke and Kevin Jepson of Landships Community Interest Company acquired the tank in 2012, which they named "Frank", and carried out an extensive exterior and interior refurbishment in 2013. Under their ownership, it was involved in over 70 jobs, including being featured in Wonder Woman (2017), Transformers: The Last Knight (2017) and In Love and War (2018). It will also feature in the upcoming film Kingsman: The Great Game, which was filmed in 2019. Smaller appearances include the 2014 documentaries Our World War and Tony's Robinson's World War I, The Burying Party (2018), Tommy (an independent short film) and Russian, German and Danish television productions. Additionally, "Frank" attended several military history shows.
"Frank" was briefly placed on the Cedars Park tank plinth on 21 July 2018 to commemorate the Centenary of the Great War Armistice, however it was removed shortly after. At this time, it had the inaccurate markings '4086' and 'A1'. The engine and tracks were removed to be used in a 'Medium Mark A Whippet' replica, which reduced the final weight of the replica down to 6½ tons. Tracks made of wood with a plasticised top, resembling the original metal ones, were installed in place of those removed. Broxbourne Council purchased the external body for use as a presentation tank in Cedars Park, and in the first half of 2019, it was painted brown. The tank was brought into the park and placed on the original presentation plinth on 1 July 2019. Support chocks were later added by Jakant Research. This is the only known replica to be placed on an original tank plinth - all other plinths were dismantled or remain bare today after their presentation tanks were removed (most sold for scrap). Tony Cooke and Kevin Jepson are now contracted to carry out annual repair and restoration work on the tank.
"Frank" remembers all who served in the Tank Regiment and Corps 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 'Male' Mark IV of 'G' Battalion of 6th Section (part of HQ Section), 20 Company, listed as the 22nd Battalion Tank (i.e. G 22) - named "Grasshopper" by the Crew. 'G' Battalion fought alongside 'D' Battalion of '2740' towards St. Julien on 12 August 1917 (the Hertfordshire Regiment again being one of many following the tanks, in close support), and "Grasshopper" was 'Knocked Out of Action' with its right track broken. The tank was transferred to 12 Company of 'D' Battalion and in Action on 22/8/1917 'Broke Down and was Ditched'. It does not appear to have returned to 'G' Battalion or even survived, as a "Grasshopper II" existed later in the Battalion.
Recommendations for a new serial number to be painted onto the tank, in accordance with 2325 "Grasshopper", have not been approved by Broxbourne Council since proposed in August 2020. A new information board for the Great War Centennial Corner, researched by Tarant Hobbs, was installed by the council in late May 2022 to include information about the new 'Male' replica tank, since the previous board was written before the replica was added and only covered the original 'Female' tank.
Cedars Park's excellent bronze sculpture of a Rifleman from the Queen Victoria's Rifle Brigade of the London Regiment - all of eight feet tall - was created by Roger Andrews of Glamorgan, Wales, and donated to the community in November 2019 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 remaining after the War had concluded.
While this Tommy statue was erected in memory of all who died in the Great War, it is in special memory of Rifleman William Ernest Taylor Uglow, who lived in Cheshunt and was the youngest volunteer recruit from the Broxbourne District during the Great War. His face is not modelled after Uglow, but the buttons of his rifle brigade, Queen Victoria's Rifles, are accurately represented on the uniform.
A bench was installed in Cedars Park in 2018 to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War and to Remember the Fallen. It is made of steel, with imagery of poppies and soldiers walking to war. The bench was produced by David Ogilvie Engineering, and several with this design can be found across the country.