Forfar Tank Bank

Forfar Tank Bank

Monday 23 September 1918 was Forfar’s chance to welcome the Tank Bank. Julian had arrived in the burgh early that morning and at around 9:00 am departed Forfar Station headed by Captain McIntosh and accompanied by the Forfar Instrumental Band who performed during the procession. A guard of honour was provided by the local Volunteer Battalion as Julian made his way along crowd-lined streets by way of North Street and East High Street to his stance opposite the Town Hall at the Cross.

The crowds of enthusiastic bystanders lining Forfar’s streets and occupying the overlooking windows revelled in the opportunity to witness a demonstration of Julian’s destructive capabilities. Shortly after 9:15 at the widest point of East High Street, between the east gate of the Parish Church and Couttie’s Wynd, a formidable barrier had been constructed of stone and earth. Surrounded by tangles of fearsome wire, it was followed by a shallow trench which separated a second mound. Upon approaching the barricade, Julian stopped, "as though taking a breath", snorted, and reared up over the obstacle, crushing the barbed wire and supports beneath him. After a moment’s pause in the trench, he hurdled the second barrier, crossing it and leisurely made his way to the Cross where the spectacle aroused cheering from the gathered onlookers. Following in Julian’s wake, a miniature army of boys clambered over the destroyed barricade, trailing the tank as he journeyed to his enclosure for the remainder of the day.

As an aside to the main event Julian had provided the Forfar townsfolk, two or three aeroplanes flew overhead providing a sense of realism, and an airship hovered above the Town Hall for a short period of the afternoon.

The opening ceremony was commenced at around 11:00 am by Lord Strathclyde, who was joined on the roof of Julian by Provost Moffat; John B Don of Maulesden; Mr Baxter of Kingoldrum; Colonel McHardy of Newbarns; Bailie Lamb; Mr R Freer Myles, County Clerk; John S Gordon, Town Clerk Depute; the Reverend W G Donaldson; Gavin Ralson, Glamis; Councillor John A Grant; Mr W G Laird; and Mr G J Roe, Postmaster. Before Provost Moffat declared Julian open for business Lord Strathclyde addressed the Forfarians gathered in at the Cross.

"They had their eyes on Kirriemuir, he knew (laughter), and was sure that Forfar was to do better."

Soon after opening, a steady stream of investors made their way up to the first floor of Forfar Town Hall, which had been provided to function as the Committee’s Tank Office. There, Postmaster Roe along with a small army of willing assistants, which had been provided by various employers in the town, carried out the day’s clerical work.

The total invested in War Bonds and certificates through Forfar’s banks, Post Office and the tank amounted to £58,903 with an additional £2,000 collected after the close of business. Along with serving the national interest, the people of Forfar also had a private score to settle, in outdoing the efforts of Kirriemuir, which the town accomplished. In February 1918 Forfar had raised £92,161 during the Dundee Tank Week, and a further £40,816 in April’s War Weapons Week. Combined, the town’s contributions amounted to £191,880.

The tank 113 "Julian" on tour at the Cross, Forfar, 23 September 1918.