Captured German tank paraded in Spalding market place

A German tank paraded in Spalding market place in 1916 ANL-160324-113515001
A German tank paraded in Spalding market place in 1916 ANL-160324-113515001

This German field gun took pride of place in Spalding market place 100 years ago today.

Spalding had been lent the 77mm gun for a month from the military authorities after it had been captured at Loos by the 15th Division of the British Army in September 1915.

The gun was drawn from the railway station to the market place on Thursday, March 23 by members of Spalding Fire Brigade, and positioned in front of the Corn Exchange.

Spalding’s Girl Guides and Scouts and the town’s St John Ambulance joined in the procession. The Free Press of the day reported it was a real “red letter day” for the town.

Hundreds of youngsters from the town’s schools were reported to have excitedly joined in the procession.

Spalding Police and special constables were drafted in to “keep the crowd in place”.

The gun had been manufactured by Krupp in 1915 and its parallel in British artillery was said to be the 18-pounder.

It weighed a tonne and was one of thousands used by the enemy for bombarding the Allied lines with shrapnel, lyddite and high explosive shells.

Attached to the gun were German handcuffs, so it was believed that artillerymen may have been chained to it when in action.

Someone in the crowd was heard to say: “I wonder how many of our poor chaps it has sent under?”