Most people park a CAR on their driveway so residents were stunned to see a rare WW1 TANK in front of their neighbour’s house.
Military enthusiast Anthony Cooke, 57, has been keeping the huge 21ft long army tank on his driveway on a residential estate while he refurbishes it in time for next year’s centenary of the start of the Great War.
The massive vehicle, which is 13ft wide and weighs 6 ½ tonnes, is one of just two working replica Mark IV tanks in Europe.
It has taken Anthony seven months to finish the outside of the tank, which has cost around £40,000 to buy and re-build. He has now started work on the interior.
“People do get a shock when they first see the tank in the middle of a residential estate,” said Anthony. But I’m very lucky as my neighbours love it and one little boy even says good night to it each evening. It takes up my entire drive and I now have to park my car down the road, but it’s worth it as it will look great when it is finished.”
Anthony, who works for a bio tech company, has taken the tank to a number of shows and hopes it will form part of a Great War living history museum he is planning to open in nearby Dry Drayton, Cambs, next year.
“My grandfather was in the Great War and I started to research his past and became besotted with it,” he said. “Now the last WW1 soldier has died it has passed from memory to history and we need a way to pass on that knowledge. I hope the centre will be somewhere school parties can visit to see how soldiers fought and lived on the Western Front.”
The replica tank was originally built for Kenneth Branagh’s film The Magic Flute, which was set during World War 1. The only other replica working WW1 tank was built for Steven Spielberg’s film War Horse.
Mark IV army tanks were introduced in 1917 and only 1,220 were ever built. They cost around £5,000 to make and could go at a top speed of 4mph.