One hundred soldiers from the Wiltshire based Royal Tank Regiment (RTR) took part in a moving ceremony marking the end of a week of centenary commemorations at the Tank Museum in Bovington Dorset, on Saturday 17 September 2016.
At 0530, 15 September 1916, the British Army sent tanks into action for the first time at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette; part of the Somme offensive, changing the nature of warfare forever and the commemoration held on Saturday was the culmination of two days of reflection in both London’s Trafalgar Square and Flers in France.
Throughout the day, the unbroken thread of history was plain to see as the museum staged displays of military vehicles, both past and present, including the British Army’s current main battle tank, the Challenger 2 and with re-enactors mingling with present day troops, the impression was that time had stood still.
Pictured: Challenger 2 and Tankies of the RTR take part in 'Tank100' commemorations at the Tank Museum.
Clouds gathered over the arena as thousands watched as personnel from AJAX Squadron took part in a ceremony held in the main arena to commemorate those momentous events 100 years ago and to honour those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. A ‘burst’ of poppy petals fluttered away in the wind bringing the short service to an end.
Taking part in the ceremony, Major Rob Moseley, Officer Commanding AJAX Squadron, said: "It is most appropriate that we mark this occasion here at the museum for the Royal Tank Regiment. We are so very proud to be involved in the commemoration of 100 years of the tank and to remember our forebears who served in them."
The original First World War tank went from concept to combat in less than two years. That spirit and dedication to innovation remains strong in the military today. The MOD continues to invest in keeping our tank fleet world class; the Challenger 2 will undergo a significant life extension programme keeping it at the forefront of the British Army’s war fighting capability well into the future.
Pictured: WWI re-enactors and Tankies of the RTR take part in Tank100 commemorations at the Tank Museum.