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Fact and Fiction - The tank on Lincoln High Street

Published: 07/03/2018

City of Lincoln Council banned Guy Martin from driving a tank on Lincoln High Street during the city’s 2017 remembrance day parade

The city council thought it was a great idea for Guy to create a replica First World War tank and have that tank form the centre piece to the remembrance day parade on the 100 year anniversary of the Battle of Cambrai in the tank’s home town of Lincoln. This would have given Lincoln residents the opportunity to honour the war dead and take pride in their history.

For this to happen, we obviously needed to ensure it was done safely. The tank is four metres wide and because of street furniture (benches, flower beds etc) on the High Street this would have made manoeuvring the 30 ton tank quite difficult. When an event takes place in Lincoln a Safety Advisory Group advises how the event can be undertaken in a safe manner. Members of the group include ourselves, the county council, police, fire and rescue and more.

The group requested a small number of alterations to Guy’s plans in order to make the event safer. Unfortunately, as some of these steps has a cost attached the television production company decided not to go ahead with the event. The city council then proposed alternative sites in the city where, given the extra space, the safety measures were not as intensive. These locations included both commons and the Grandstand on Carholme Road.

Unfortunately, the production company decided to take the tank to France instead. The city council was incredibly disappointed with this decision as it had already put in a lot of work to make the event happen in Lincoln. However, ultimately, the safety of the thousands of people expected to attend was essential and Guy’s production company were unable to guarantee this.

The production company which made the programme, North One Television, said at the time: “The tank is 8 metres long, weighs almost 30 tonnes and is a challenge to drive, to put it mildly. It is a very close replica of a machine designed and built 100 years ago and as such doesn’t have the precise handling of a modern vehicle.

“We spent three months planning how we would be able to drive it safely along Lincoln High Street and, even though it was clear this would be a massive undertaking, everyone on the production team and City of Lincoln Council were confident of making this happen.

“However, it did eventually become apparent that we could not absolutely guarantee public safety and so, much to the disappointment of all involved, we had to pull out of the Lincoln parade and find a location of similar significance for Guy to drive his tank.”