Selected by Lianne Smith, Archives Services Manager

The following items come from the papers of Lt Col Sir Albert Gerald Stern, whose roles during World War One included service with the Armoured Car Division of the Royal Naval Air Service, Secretary of the Landships Committee and head of the Tank Supply Department (later the Mechanical Warfare Supply Department).

His papers include many photographs of early tracked and armoured vehicles, tested and developed during the First World War. A selection can be seen here, including the American Killen-Strait tractor which inspired the design of early tanks with their caterpillar tracks; an armoured Rolls Royce; Tritton’s Trench Crosser; and the Mark I tank, otherwise known as ‘Mother’.

Although I know very little about tanks and armoured vehicles, I do like these photographs – probably as a result of childhood trips to the Bovington Tank Museum! I’m particularly fond of the chaps riding on the Killen-Strait tractors – they look like they’re having rather a lot of fun testing them out!

Ref: Stern 4/2-4/3

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