Deborah WWI tank

In 2012 I had an unusual request from my ex Sky News colleague and military historian Rob Kirk.  Would my husband and I like to accompany him, his wife Elaine and friends to the site of the first tank battle of WWI in Cambrai and paint Deborah.

Deborah WWWI tank photograph in Cambrai museum France

Deborah, it turned out, was a tank that had been involved in the tank battle of Cambrai. Sky News had reported its discovery by local historian Philippe Gorczynski in the Cambrai earth. Among Rob and Elaine's friends on the trip was John Taylor who subsequently wrote Deborah and the war of the tanks 1917, which tells of the tank and her crew and tracks down their descendants to uncover the human story and those of other soldiers from both sides.

Photograph of model of Deborah WWWI tank in French museum in Cambrai.

When I first saw Deborah I felt I was looking at a wounded animal, which is how I have portrayed the fighting machine.

Deborah WWWI tank oil on canvas by Stella Tooth

Rob Kirk and Philippe Gorczynski with Stella Tooth's oil painting Deborah WWI tank.

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