Guy Martin teams up with Letchworth engineers to recreate WW1 tank

Guy Martin using Chasestead's five axis laser to cut steel tank tracks. Picture: Richard Wilson

Guy Martin using Chasestead's five axis laser to cut steel tank tracks. Picture: Richard Wilson - Credit: Archant

A Letchworth engineering company has helped motorbike racer-turned-TV personality Guy Martin in constructing a replica of a World War One tank.

Working with North One Television, the building of the tank build is for the dare devil’s one-off documentary to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Cambrai and the first use of tanks in modern warfare.

Guy’s involvement in the reconstruction of the Mark IV tank – first introduced in 1917 – comes from a desire to ensure that British engineering brilliance is remembered alongside the brave men who served in the line of duty.

And with only four months to complete the task, Guy enlisted the services of Letchworth-based engineers Chasestead Limited and construction machiney giants JCB.

Chasestead Limited manufactured more than 360 components – from gun mounts to periscopes – with many of them being rapid prototypes made with technology that the original manufacturers would not have had the luxury of using.

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Richard Wilson, managing director of Chasestead Limited, said: “We were delighted to be asked to get involved with this project. It has been a fascinating process from start to finish, from laser scanning original parts to the manufacturing of the press tools.

“Completion of all of the components on time with short notice was very rewarding, and we are all really proud of the results.

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“Guy was extremely enthusiastic about the project. As anyone who has seen him on TV will expect, he rolled up his sleeves and got stuck into all the processes – he was fascinated by all the technology we have at Chasestead, he didn’t leave until 7pm.”

To create the replica, Guy used equipment usually involved in the manufacture of a prototype vehicle chassis for companies like Aston Martin and Jaguar.

The documentary will offer an insight into the history of tanks, including a visit to the Cambrai battlefield where Guy sees one of only seven remaining original Mark IV tanks. He also joins the Royal Tank Regiment on manoeuvres at Salisbury Plain and learns about modern Challenger 2 tanks.

Guy Martin’s WWI Tank will air on Channel 4 at 8pm this Sunday.

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