FEEDING THE GUN ON BROMLEY’S BATTLEFIELD
“No Man’s Land” from the Trenches £70,000 raised: How the Money Came in
In an effort to raise money to pay for the war, the Government sold War Bonds. Bromley supported this in great patriotic spirit. In 1917, a tank – ‘Tank Drake’ had toured the country and came to Bromley to the Market Square. When members of the public bought war bonds they could have their bonds and certificates stamped at the tank. There were displays of aircraft dropping leaflets and the band played. It was a few days of excitement.
In 1918 there was a new effort to raise more money, the Council set up this battlefield scene. As far as I can make out, it was prepared behind the old Council buildings by Tweedy Road. Investors entered from the Tweedy Road entrance and passed through a display of war relics, bought their bonds and certificates:
“Having obtained their bonds or certificates, the purchasers passed out of the building, across the lawn to the gun. Here their pieces of paper were stamped with the special “Gun” stamp, either with the stamp fitted into the breach of the gun itself and operated by a wounded soldier, or by one of the post-office officials. The stamp was the same in each case, though, of course, sentiment favoured the document being “fed” to the stamp in the gun. That proceeding over, investors were directed to the trenches where they saw “Tommy’s home” and looked “over the top” at “no-man’s land.”’
Children came from the local schools with their war savings books, to view the trenches, but those without the money to save, were denied the spectacle.