Brechin Tank Bank

Brechin Tank Bank

A dismally wet Tuesday in Brechin saw the visit of Julian. The tank had arrived in the city by rail from Forfar in the early morning of 24 September 1918, moving out of Brechin station at 9:00 am. Undeterred by the weather, a large crowd had gathered and watched with great interest as he left the station for his stance at St Ninian’s Square. It was only a short journey to the tank’s stance and many onlookers felt disappointed to not have seen more of the tank in action, hinting that several of the old buildings in the city may have benefitted from being demolished by Julian. Because of the tank’s bulk, the Town Council had decided that the streets of the ancient city were too deep and narrow to allow the tank to travel safely into the centre.

A detachment of local 1/5th Black Watch Volunteers, along with the burgh police force bolstered by special constable volunteers formed the tank’s guard of honour, escorting Julian to his resting place for the remainder of his stay.

Lord Strathclyde had been invited to Brechin to deliver the opening address, having been attending a gathering of farmers at the Mart that noon. By 2:30 pm a crowd had gathered at St Ninian’s Square, the weather having improved enough for start of the opening ceremony. Lord Strathclyde was accompanied on the roof of Julian by Provost George Henderson, Bailie James Addison and Bailie Alexander Stewart; the Reverend Dr. Walter William Coats; Miss McNab of Keithock, Lady Commandant of the Red Cross; and Mr Shaw Adamson of Careston.

Following Lord Strathclyde’s address, singing commenced with "God Save the King" being called for. Despite the local School Board running singing classes and the city’s band’s efforts to further Brechin’s interest in music, it was noted that the response was feeble, with one local commentator adding:

"They cannot sing for nuts".

In addition to Brechin’s savings banks and the Tank Office, the Local Food Control Office at the corner of St Ninian’s Square had been placed at the disposal of the War Savings Committee, where Mr J C Robertson, postmaster, and his staff had opened a branch Post Office for the duration of the day. From 9:45 am War Bonds and War Savings Certificates were issued to the public, which were later stamped by staff at the tank. Purchasers were then presented with a voucher entering them into the day’s prize draw.

As a result of Julian’s visit to Brechin, investments totalling £47,334.19s were accumulated, for the most part through trade at the banks. Collections made at the Tank Office in the square raised over £3,000 coming mainly from small cash contributions. Including the sums raised since Tank Week in February, Brechin’s sales of War Bonds reached £136,882.10s. and War Savings Certificates totalled £33,343.18s.6d. This equated to approximately £20 per head of the population for the city.

Tank 113 "Julian" on tour at St Ninian’s Square, Brechin, 24 September 1918.