Heritage

A Bob Semple tank crosses the Bridge of Remembrance during a defence parade through Christchurch

A Bob Semple tank crosses the Bridge of Remembrance during a defence parade through Christchurch

A Bob Semple tank crosses the Bridge of Remembrance during a defence parade through Christchurch
[26 Apr. 1941]

The Semple tank project was the idea of the Rt Hon. Robert Semple (1873-1955), Minister of Public Works and also National Service in 1941. He suggested that tank superstructures be constructed and fitted to Caterpillar tractors to help defend New Zealand from enemy invasion. Three tanks were built at the New Zealand Railways workshop at Addington. Two of the tanks were attached to 11 Heavy Regiment, New Zealand Artillery for a defence parade through Christchurch. Semple was one of those taking the salute in Cathedral Square. However, the tanks were only used by the army for training and experimentation and otherwise proved of little value. They were eventually reconverted to tractors. See Defending New Zealand : ramparts on the sea 1840-1950s / Peter Cooke, v. 1, p. 352 Thousands of troops, headed by the Mounted Brigade, with hundreds of Home Guards and Emergency Precautions volunteers and women war workers took part in the largest parade the city had ever seen, which was designed to show New Zealand's military and civil preparedness. The parade took more than an hour to pass the saluting base in Cathedral Square.

View more information

File Reference CCL PhotoCD 5, IMG0034

Previous Photo ~ Next Photo