Movie star tank rumbles into town to mark centenary of end of World War I

Organiser Ingrid Pope [pictured] launched Tunbridge Wells Yard Sale last year after seeing a similar event in the US.

A MAJOR exhibition will be held on Castle Lawn on August 18-19 to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.

The centrepiece will be a replica WWI tank which featured in the Hollywood movies Wonder Woman and Transformers: The Last Knight.

There will be re-enactments, vehicles, equipment and horses on display, and information about local regiments such as Kent Fortress Royal Engineers and the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent.

The event has been funded a grant of £8,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to the Tonbridge Historical Society.

The display is also being supported by Kent County Council’s Engagement Fund and by local solicitors Warners. Tonbridge Lions and Clarke Williams Insurance have made contributions towards hosting the massive 21-foot machine.

The centenary begins with a free talk on Sunday (April 29), when local historian Pam Mills will tell the stories behind the town’s WWI gravestones.

The event will begin at the chapel in Tonbridge cemetery on Shipbourne Road at 2pm.

The graves include that of Louis Marx, a Belgian soldier who came to Tonbridge after the Siege of Antwerp in October 1914 and died in the Voluntary Aid Detachment hospital on Quarry Hill.

Mrs Mills said: ‘The project will enable local residents to come together to preserve the memories and heritage of the people who lived through the Great War.

‘Volunteers will collect photographs, newspaper clippings, documents, letters and photos, as well as family tales passed down, to help them build a clear picture of what life was really like.

‘Stands will show facts about the part schools played, how we helped the Belgian refugees and the parts key people played during the war.’

On the weekend of the exhibition there will be another walk taking in 100 shops and buildings along the High Street from St Stephens Church to the Ivy House pub.

They will be displaying images of what they looked like 100 years ago to enable the community to step back in time.

The funding was collected from HLF’s First World War Then and Now programme.

Mrs Mills said: ‘We are thrilled to have received the support of the National Lottery and this money – along with contributions from other sponsors – have enabled us to execute this historical and poignant project.’

PICTURE: FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS: The replica tank, known as Frank, still has the capacity to shoot

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