My Mother’s a Centipede

The day after the unveiling of the mock up at Wembley in September 1915 work started at Fosters to make a prototype.

The now famous rhomboid shape was 10m long, 4m wide, 2.5m high and the length of each track was 18.5m.  The final design was completed in just 36 days and, as posted last month, it was first trialled on 3 Dec 15 in Burton Park, Lincoln.  The prototype tank was originally known as Big Willie although the tank’s name soon changed to His Majesty’s Land Ship (HMLS) Centipede.  The alternative name of Mother appeared at around the same time.

The very real issue of security reared its head again, this time in relation to the openness of the test grounds at Burton Park and Wembley and so a new test site was developed at Hatfield House near Welwyn Garden City.  Mother (aka Big Willie) was dispatched to Hatfield House by train on 26 Jan along with Little Willie and, having unloaded in the middle of the night, they both drove up to the testing ground.

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