Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Sunday, April 9, 2017

At Arras: The Short Life of the Iron Duke

This week we will be featuring several articles on the the Centennial of the Battle of Arras.  We begin with a well-known photo from the battle.

This classic photo from the Imperial War Museum shows British Mark II Tank  #781,  aka the "Iron Duke," rolling through the city of Arras 100 years ago tomorrow, 10 April 1917 on its way to the battlefield.  Originally assigned to Tank Battalion C, the Iron Duke was temporarily  ditched for some reason prior to the start of of the Battle of Arras. Possibly this is why it was still in the city when the battle was raging just to the east. It was returned to action eventually but was destroyed by enemy fire on 20 April near the present day site of Feuchy Chapel Commonwealth Cemetery.  There is no record of its commander,  2Lt Street, or any of the crew killed or wounded that day.

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