FRIENDS OF DEBORAH D51 FRANCE & UK
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103rd ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF CAMBRAI
FRIDAY THE 23rd, SATURDAY THE 24th and SUNDAY THE 25th OF NOVEMBER 2020






2020 has been the year of COVID 19. It has impacted upon all of our lives in many different ways. We have not been able to travel, to visit friends, made us adapt to new rules and introduced new laws and regulations. Within this difficult period we have seen the cancellation of most of the major events including ceremonies and commemorations. In the U.K. our attendance on remembrance Sunday at our memorials to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice still had dignity and respect, but were not experienced alongside our companions, friends and families. However thanks to the internet and social media, many people have been able to participate via virtual experiences. For example The Royal Tank Regiment provided links to most of its members, associations and friends to partake virtually in the Cenotaph parade.

In France the celebration of Cambrai day has now had 20 years of ceremonies that use Deborah D51 as a focus remembrance, reflection and renewing friendships. The voluntary groups (UK&FR) Friends of Deborah D51 (the WW1 mark IV female tank discovered in 1998), who’s patron is Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Ridgway KBE CB DL and represented by Tim Heap for the UK side (grandson of the tank commander) together with Philippe Gorczynski for France ( who recovered the tank from its place in the battlefield). They were determined, with the permission of the authorities Cambrai & Flesquières, to pay homage to the soldiers who have fought at Cambrai in 1917 - 1918 and more particularly to those of the Tank Corps. On the 20th November the tanks’ crews wrote one of the first pages of their history and Glory, in letters of Blood and Gold.

With the support of those few members who were allowed to partake (Blanche & Jean Marc Elipot, Bernard Chopin, Bernard Bara, Pierre Duquennoy, Jean Luc Caudron, Jean Marie Belot, Pierre Pavy, Jack Roger, Jean Luc Caudron, Jean Marie Caudemont) the 3 traditional days of ceremonies were observed from the Monument of Nations on Friday to the Flare of Memories’ in Flesquieres Hill cemetery on Saturday to the 2 minutes silence at 11 am on the Sunday at Louverval. That most beautiful and evocative memorial to those who have no known grave. Thanks to those ‘Friends’ in France, photographs and videos were made as a record of those so important services of remembrance. We would like to share this labour of love to those who would have wished to be with them in the now ‘Green fields beyond’.