Restored M1917 Tank at CWM


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    Restored M1917 Tank at CWM

    Post by edstorey on Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:25 pm

    On 13 August the Canadian War Museum (CWM) unveiled its restored M1917 in a ceremony held for members of the press, members of the Friends of the Canadian War Museum (FCWM) and Canadian Armoured Corps military dignitaries including General Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff. It was in 1940 that 250 of these tanks were purchased from the then-neutral United States to be used as training vehicles for the newly formed Armoured Corps at Camp Borden, Ontario. At the time they were sold by the United States to Canada as scrap metal for approximately $20 a ton plus a 100% mark up which resulted in each tank being sold for $240 (roughly $3,800 in 2012 dollars).

    The M1917 6 Ton Tank is an American license built copy of the FT17 which had been designed by Louis Renault in 1916 and refined in 1917 with over 2600 being delivered before the November 1918 Armistice. As Americas first mass produced Tank, over 4400 were ordered for use in October 1918 with 64 being produced before the war ended and 950 were manufactured before the order was cancelled. No American manufactured tank reached Europe in time to participate in The Great War.

    This particular example was discovered rusting in an Alberta field and was bought by the museum in 1997 but restoration and reconstruction work was only begun four years ago. Financial support for the project was provided by a private donor Richard Iorweth Thorman with additional funds allocated by the charitable organization FCWM.

    When discovered by the CWM, the tank had been used a log skidder which meant that most of the upper hull and turret had been removed and discarded. With a set of M1917 tracks and runner gear that had been located behind the Canadian Forces Base Kingston, Ontario rifle ranges and the fabrication of the missing turret and missing hull sections by DEW Engineering in Ottawa; this important armoured fighting vehicle was restored to non-running condition and is currently one of only two examples in Canada (the other is in CFB Borden, Ontario).

    The M1917 Six Ton Tank is an important addition to the CWM collection as it is this vehicle that formed the basis of the modern Canadian Armoured Corps. It is this Corps that served throughout the Second World War, the Korean War, numerous UN missions and as well as recent NATO combat operations in Afghanistan.


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    Re: Restored M1917 Tank at CWM

    Post by Cameraguy on Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:03 pm

    Funny,I just interviewed a Veteran this past Monday and I have scanned many pics of him with this type of Tank at Borden.Very cool...

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    Re: Restored M1917 Tank at CWM

    Post by jholl72 on Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:54 pm

    Cameraguy wrote:Funny,I just interviewed a Veteran this past Monday and I have scanned many pics of him with this type of Tank at Borden.Very cool...
    Any chance you could post a couple of photos? I'd like to see some period photos of it.

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    Re: Restored M1917 Tank at CWM

    Post by Seaforth Highlander on Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:59 pm

    Some years ago one was salvaged and sold in Ontario I believe. I do not recall the details.

    Hayes Otoupalik in Missoula Montana USA has a restored one (not ex-Canadian as far as I know).

    Years ago, in the 1970s I believe, at an Organization of Military Museums of Canada meeting, then Curator (Barb ___) at the Fort Lewis Museum in Washington State mentioned that they had been offered one of these tanks. They declined. She could not remember where except that it was at the side of a road on an Indian Reserve in Western Washington State. Maybe it is still there.

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