Deborah and the War of the Tanks 1917 (Hardback)
‘A great achievement. One of the most remarkable treasures of First World War archaeology receives the treatment it deserves in this hugely detailed yet highly readable new history.’ - Dan Snow
As featured in The Telegraph: How WW1 PoWs betrayed details of the first mass tank attack in history
As featured in BBC History Magazine
Forces War Records ‘Book of the Month’ – September 2016
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Tank centenary marked by WW1 Ancestors, featured on Forces TV
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'A great achievement. One of the most remarkable treasures of First World War archaeology receives the treatment it deserves in this hugely detailed yet highly readable new history.' Dan Snow
Deborah is a British First World War tank that rose from the grave after taking part in one of the most momentous battles in history. In November 1917 she played a leading role in the first successful massed tank attack at Cambrai. Eighty years later, in a remarkable feat of archaeology, the tank’s buried remains were rediscovered and excavated, and are now preserved as a memorial to the battle and to the men who fought in it. John Taylor’s book tells the tale of the tank and her crew and tracks down their descendants to uncover a human story every bit as compelling as the military one.
Suggested as further reading for article 'WWI Flesquieres tank moved to new site'Vintage Spirit, January 2019 - words by Ken Rimell
Verdict: A compelling read. Bringing the stories of the men and machines to life with a page turning quality to it.Classic Military Vehicle, July 2018
A very compelling read, combining narrative flow with excellent research. It is well annotated, well illustrated and indexed and weaves a constant thread between history and the tales of Deborah's recovery.Society of Friends of the National Army Museum
Mr Taylor's offering is thoroughly well researched, filled with personal experiences and quotes that paint a vivid picture of the part Deborah played during the war and of its personalities. Its story is indeed a unique one. The writing style reads like a documentary, with occasional flashbacks, telling more than the story of a tank but of WW1 tank warfare and tactics. It gives a view from both sides of the trench and the reality surrounding the "first great tank battle"...OCAD Militaria Collectors Resources
Despite the book's size, do not be fooled into thinking that it'll be a quick and easy read. It is literally bursting at its covers and needs time to be fully read and appreciated. However, the result should be well worth your patience. Whether you are a tank nut or merely interested in military history of the First World War, now, a exactly a century on, would be the ideal time to learn about Deborah.
Read the full review here.
As featured inStand To! Western Front Assc No.109
Deborah's story is a fascinating one, both her wartime service and eventual recovery. This book covers the tank's crew and the battalion to which it belonged. Just as interesting is the attention paid to the research used to find the tank and tell its story to the world. It is a fitting tribute to both veterans of the war and the modern enthusiast who toil to commemorate their service and sacrifice.Military Heritage, July 2017 – reviewed by Christopher Miskimon
Deep background for modelers of World War I tanks.FineScale Modeler, November 29, 2016
Deborah was a British First World War tank that played a leading role in the first successful massed tank attack at Cambrai. Eighty years later, the buried remains of the tank were excavated; they are now displayed as a memorial to the battle. This book tells the story of the tank and its crew, going so far as to track down their descendants, to tell a compelling story.Militray History Monthly, April 2017
This book is emotive in the many quotes of sights, sounds and experiences of the soldiers in 1917. The emotion is also reflected in the dedication of the members of the project and residents of Flesquieres, Plans have been made to house Deborah in a dedicated museum 'on a site adjacent to the cemetery in where her crewmen lie buried'.Friends of the National Archives
The best book to come my way this year was Deborah and the War of the Tanks 1917. This is an impressive debut by John Taylor. A single British tank, buried after the battle of Cambrai in 1917 and later rediscovered, as a treasure of First World War archaeology. Taylor skilfully and readably ties the tale of the tank and its crew to the wider birth of armoured warfare. He makes startling historical discoveries en route.BBC History, Christmas 2016 - Nigel Jones
This a very human story, as much about the tank crews as the tanks themselves. It is as much a book of archaeology as it is of military history, and one told in a most engaging style, indeed this book would make the basis for a great documentary.Steve Earles, Destructive Music
An engaging book and one that would appeal to a wide audience.
As a tank warfare book it stands out as a future classic. The effect is to draw me in to the history of tank warfare from 1916-18. Britain’s tanks were not invulnerable, but they had something others mimicked but could not beat on the battlefield. They were crewed by some of the bravest men the war produced. Equally courageous men would give all to stop them. Mr Taylor honours them all, friend and foe alike. At war’s end many of the rhomboid monsters became monuments in British towns until they faded away. Rust never sleeps. You can see some in museums but they are few and far between. Happily Deborah survived as a force for good and she is destined to move into a new home adjacent to where her crew are buried just yards from where they died in 1917.War History Online, Mark Barnes
Right now all you can see is a hole in the ground but a visitor’s attraction based on the muddy tomb where Deborah lay will retain the spirit and memories of how she was found back in 1998. The lovely Suzanne and I cannot wait to see her there. This wonderful book will take you to the Cambrai battlefield of 1917 and give you much more besides. So much so you may find the book gives you enough. But I suggest you make plans to visit Deborah. Once seen, never forgotten.
Read the fantastic full review here.
A remarkable account of the excavation and preservation of an iconic piece of achinery, a tank that took part in the attack at Cambrai.Books Monthly, November 2016 – reviewed by Paul Norman
Lots to read in here, and it makes up a fascinating story, well timed for the 100th anniversary of the first tank action.Military Modelling, Robin Buckland
Read the full review here.
Deborah is a British tank from World War One that rose from the grave after taking part in one of the most momentous battles in history. In November 1917 she played a leading role in the first successful massed tank attack at Cambrai. Eighty years later, in a remarkable feat of archaeology, the tank's buried remains were rediscovered and excavated, and are now preserved as a memorial to the battle and to the men who fought in it. John Taylor's book tells the tale of the tank and her crew and tracks down their descendants to uncover a human story every bit as compelling as the military one.Armourer, November – December 2016
As featured in.The Daily Mail 6/10/16
This book is everything that military history should be. Diligently researched, factual, objective and at times achingly poignant. The prose is engaging, the narrative is clear and it flows well. It is a fitting tribute to the remarkable men who fought in these early tanks. I urge you to read it and have no hesitation whatsoever in awarding it five out of five. I would give it six were that possible.ARRSE
Read the full review here.
A great achievement. One of the most remarkable treasures of First World War archaeology receives the treatment it deserves in this hugely detailed yet highly readable new history.Dan Snow, British television presenter
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As featured in.Irish Independent 14/9/16
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As featured in.The International Business Times 14/9/16
As featured in.The Irish Telegraph 8/9/16
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As feature in.The Daily Mail 8/9/16
As featured on.Forces TV
Basis of feature article: Aggrieved PoWs betrayed plans for the Cambrai attackBBC History magazine - October 2016 - Rob Attar
As featured in.The Daily Telegraph 8/9/16
John Taylor's book tells the tale of the tank and her crew and tracks down their descendants to uncover a human story every bit as compelling as the military one.Forces War Records
Anyone interested in the First World War, especially the Tank Corps, should read this book. It is one of the best books I have read, and I have read many books about World War 1. It is very factual about the hardships the tank crews suffered. 10 out of 10.Norman Wilkins
On 15 September 1916 during the Battle of the Somme, tanks - one of the decisive weapons of twentieth-century warfare - were sent into action for the first time. In his previous books Trevor Pidgeon, one of the leading authorities on the early tanks, has told the story of that memorable day, but only now has his account of later tank operations during the Somme battle become available. In this, his last work which was completed shortly before he died, he reconstructs the tank actions that took place between late September and November when the Somme offensive was closed down. His account gives…By Trevor Pidgeon
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