NBL – home to steam locos and First World War tanks

The First World War military role of one of the UK’s most prolific and famous locomotive builders has come under the spotlight after the unearthing of rare photographs of the factory manufacturing tanks and munitions alongside steam engines.

War and peace: First World War Mk VIII tanks being built in the North British Locomotive works in Springburn, Glasgow, in 1918, alongside steam locomotives, just visible on the right. NBL PRESERVATION GROUP COLLECTION
War and peace: First World War Mk VIII tanks being built in the North British Locomotive works in Springburn, Glasgow, in 1918, alongside steam locomotives, just visible on the right. NBL PRESERVATION GROUP COLLECTION

This combined war and peace scenario was played out at the North British Locomotive Company’s Springburn site in Glasgow, and involved the construction of Mark VIII tanks, towards the end of the conflict, as well as land mines and shells.

The first tank used on a battlefield was the British-built Mark I during the Battle of the Somme in September 1916. A development of a prototype was constructed the year before by Lincoln agricultural machinery company William Foster & Co, and although they were mechanically unreliable and slow were capable of navigating obstacles such as trenches and barbed wire that foiled wheeled vehicles.

Read more in Issue 222 of Heritage Railway

Enjoy more Heritage Railway reading in the four-weekly magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Comments

comments