Richmond WW1 Diary 15 September 1916

First use of tanks at the Somme

The war influenced the development of a range of new military technologies. This included the use of poison gas as a weapon for the first time, the use of aeroplanes in battle for the first time, and the first use of tanks. Armoured motorcars were conceived as the ideal weapon against the machines guns, which were being used on a scale never before experienced.

Tanks were first used during the Battle of The Somme on 15 September 1916. Armed with heavy guns to take out the machine gun posts, they moved slowly across the battlefield, followed by ranks of soldiers sheltering behind.

As the tanks rolled at the Somme, The Herald of 16 September 1916 recorded the success of the riverboat trips on the Thames for 200 wounded soldiers from nearby Richmond-area hospitals.

This footage from the British Pathé shows convalescent ANZAC soldiers taking part in a canoe drill on the river at Richmond.

 

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