Updated:- 17/10/15

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Lincoln Tank Diary-1 DIARY

Written for the Lincolnshire Echo May 2013

It’s always great when people take the time and effort to get in touch and help me out with further information regarding something I’ve written.

I often get letters from readers asking me if I can go into more detail on a certain subject or sending me a photograph relating to one of my articles. I was very excited to receive just such a letter recently form a Lincoln lady by the name of Irene Crosby.

She had read my article on the proposed Tank Memorial planned to be erected in Lincoln in 2014. The monument will commemorate the work done by the men and women of Lincoln who were employed by William Foster and Co Ltd and created a new weapon which would break the deadlock of the trenches and eventually end the Great War.

Mrs. Crosby found this particularly interesting as she has a very strong family link to Fosters and the story of the early tanks. She sent me a copy of a photograph of her Mother, Florence Annie Bonnett.

Florence was born in 1900 and lived in Monson Street in Lincoln where her parents had their own business trading as fishmongers.  When she was around 13 years of age, Florence left school and went into the family business, but her life would soon take a very different turn when she signed up for ‘War Work’ at William Fosters. She had no need to sign up and could have stayed in the family business, but she wanted to do her bit for the war and soon she was involved in the very different world of heavy engineering.

Florence Bonnetts Story by Richard Pullen


These postcards were sold in huge quantities and were very cheap at the time, but were often printed on very poor quality paper and didn't last well. They were never intended to be kept and surprisingly a few have survived today, and are greatly sought after by collectors. A rare card that originally sold for a penny in 1918 could now be worth £50-£80.

Cards like the one above were produced and sold locally to raise money for the war effort. During the war there were literally thousands of different charities, societies and funds who collected money so that they could send all sorts of things out to the troops. These include items like cigarettes, chocolate and even socks or balaclava's. All sorts of objects were produced for sale to the public, usually costing just a few pence and comprised of things like money-boxes, badges, toys and postcards like the ones shown on this page. Most items were sold during Tank Bank weeks, when many towns and cities were visited by a tank selling war bonds.

Charity Postcards.

Who wrote the “Tank Anthem” on this card is unknown. It is known that there were a few poets amongst the staff at Fosters including Sir William Tritton (Chairman of William Foster  Co), who wrote a poem comparing the humble caterpillar to the tank.

Who is G.T., Do you know?