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Hi All.

Pre- lockdown I blundered across a wrecked Valentine on open access moorland in Teesdale west of Barnard Castle. As well as being famous for it’s eyesight curing qualities, the town was host to 3 training regiments of RAC during the war and this area was widely used. The army camps are long gone with only a small MOD rifle range left nearby run by Catterick but rarely used. Does anyone know anything about this tank? Its existence is barely known even locally due to its isolated and almost hidden location. More photos in Gallery.

Cheers

Dave 

83CA106A-5F19-4A91-9974-0BD60236DAA5.jpeg

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https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/18979978.wrecked-second-world-war-tank-lie-teesdale-moors/

All I can add is one of my mothers sisters married a soldier in training at Barny ,  his brother was also a tanker based there.    My cousin and I used to roam  get told off for rowking where we should not 1960's.   One place was Snaisgill (where my wife originated), the hillsides were covered with rusted 'practice shells'  - these were  approx. 3" dia  x  10" (every few yards) ,  quite a few perforated corrugated sheets as targets , they work down the beck.   Even presently the police occasionally are notified when one is found.   I should have quizzed my uncle more when he was alive.      My cousin (also now deceased)  once said tanks fired from Battle Hill with the projectiles arcing over  Middleton-in Teesdale towards Snaisgill  -   hardly possible  ?  even during WW2.   IMHO  Snaisgill must have been used for a anti-tank gun range  ?.

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Thanks for that Ruxy. I have done a bit of digging about general tank training in the area. The only actual live firing by tanks was across at Warcop but thats not to say smoke shells werent used in Teesdale. Creeping artllery barrages ahead of infantry advances also occurred here together with some ground attack practice from RAF Catterick - but only near Battle Hill which is where this tank lies. The Hude Valley (ie Snaisgill) was certainly used by RAC regiments for training. Cromwell tanks were kept at Coldberry lead mine here under guard in the later war years and there were machine gun ranges high up here on the fell sides for tanks and infantry. Inert shells have been found regularly in this valley - as recently as 2018 so there must have been some drills taking place here also. 
You obviously know the area and im really surprised that it has lain here for so long without anyone apparently knowing or bothering about it (or remembering it!). My mate - an ex cop - vaguely recalled stumbling across it about 40 years ago while recovering the body of a murder victim!!

And yes that is my article in the Echo! (albeit much shortened). The paper calls it a ‘Mk3 Valentine’ - but these are not my words. All I know is that it is an ‘Infantry Tank Mk3’ in War Dept terms and a Valentine in Vickers/Armstrong terms. What actual model/mk it is - I have no idea.

Cheers. Dave

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QUOTE.   You obviously know the area and im really surprised that it has lain here for so long without anyone apparently knowing or bothering about it (or remembering it!).

True,   I had another cousin I used to go to on a farm at Flitholme ,  @ Warcop .    I have asked my wife to phone her brother and ask the question(s) , he married a girl at the Baldersdale (Yorkshire side) , in fact they probably stint graze sheep on the moor where the tank wreck is.   The problem is very little WW2 was locally recorded much of what I supposedly know is hearsay.   My old man only ever said he was a sapper lifting mines for 6 years.   My old man originated from Cockfield ,  you will appreciate that researching for the location of Luftwaffe several bomb holes on Cockfield Fell would be an impossible task without assistance, extracting this was a difficult task - but I am probably the only living person who knows.   A aunt was the 'station master'  @ Cotherstone during WW2 - she would have been good to know.   My mother trained as a nurse @ Hammersmith pre-WW2  and was then a theatre  sister far east & Egypt ,  a Captain taking her tented hospital ashore at Normandy and into Belgium - I suppose from her I gained my WW2 history interests - that would not extend to thumbing through the archives of the Teesdale Mercury.  The main problem as I see it ,  now my M-in-T cousin is deceased , I can only think of two born and bred local historians and that is general , not military specific.  Most of my relations are upper Teesdale and in the main sheep farmers,  tractors - yes,  tanks - no. 

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4 minutes ago, ruxy said:

QUOTE.   You obviously know the area and im really surprised that it has lain here for so long without anyone apparently knowing or bothering about it (or remembering it!).

True,   I had another cousin I used to go to on a farm at Flitholme ,  @ Warcop .    I have asked my wife to phone her brother and ask the question(s) , he married a girl at the Baldersdale (Yorkshire side) , in fact they probably stint graze sheep on the moor where the tank wreck is.   The problem is very little WW2 was locally recorded much of what I supposedly know is hearsay.   My old man only ever said he was a sapper lifting mines for 6 years.   My old man originated from Cockfield ,  you will appreciate that researching for the location of Luftwaffe several bomb holes on Cockfield Fell would be an impossible task without assistance, extracting this was a difficult task - but I am probably the only living person who knows.   A aunt was the 'station master'  @ Cotherstone during WW2 - she would have been good to know.   My mother trained as a nurse @ Hammersmith pre-WW2  and was then a theatre  sister far east & Egypt ,  a Captain taking her tented hospital ashore at Normandy and into Belgium - I suppose from her I gained my WW2 history interests - that would not extend to thumbing through the archives of the Teesdale Mercury.  The main problem as I see it ,  now my M-in-T cousin is deceased , I can only think of two born and bred local historians and that is general , not military specific.  Most of my relations are upper Teesdale and in the main sheep farmers,  tractors - yes,  tanks - no. 

 

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Thanks again Ruxy. Yes ive found the same problem in that despite the huge amount of training and the many thousands who attended, there is so little actually recorded about RAC at Barney. In comparison there is a load more stuff available about the infantry battle school including many record office online photos and even films. There are some good recollections recorded on the StaintonGrove website and also on the BBC Forgotten Voices site - but those that allude to tank training are rather vague or non specific in terms of details. There’s no substitute for speaking to those who were around at the time but unfortunately they are sadly getting thin on the ground. Shame no one sought to document it all 20 years ago when more people remembered. Theres probably no story to this particular relic really - its probably been just dumped, shot up, blown up and forgotten about 60 years ago!!

Dave

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Dave .  I will PM you with details of two people who may be able to help.

ISTR , that 'talk' said - damage to the County Bridge  ,  the Army did offer to put up a bridge over the Tees ,  I assume a Bailey Bridge.   However the west would have been in North Yorkshire and East in Co. Durham - hence unresolved.

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Probably your best bet would be to contact  Lorne Tallentire  (the Ford garage on Alston Road family) ,  he will be approx.  73 yrs and always been a bit of an academic.

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Also  DCC  councillor  Richard Bell (teacher I think)  , I think his mother would be my mothers cousin,  of the Sanderson  (Vallance Lodge) branch.

About 4 years ago , apparently he purchased a block of property in central M-in-T , that was in hands of John Toulson's bankers.  He may live in a house there  ?

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My brother in law married a girl from Clove Lodge ,  near Hanna Hauxwell's place.   This is more or less nearest habitation to the tank wreck.

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The  Battle Hill  grazing probably belongs , to a man called Coverdale  (specialist building restoration  etc.  etc. etc.   (I think he must own the Bowes  RAF site & will still be well compensated).  It may be the tank is actually on property he owns.   ISTR  he also owns a  BIG  farm shop place at  3 Lane Ends  -  Startford to A666  , near crossing towards The Stang.

Tony

 

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Thats great. When i can  i’ll cycle up and speak to them. I know all the places to which you refer as I used to work up the dale myself for a while and i still get up there (in the normal world) regularly. I had planned to speak to the landowner but for some strange reason i find myself spending all my time at home these days!! Was the family at Clove Lodge called Purvis?

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2 minutes ago, Dave 892 said:

Thats great. When i can  i’ll cycle up and speak to them. I know all the places to which you refer as I used to work up the dale myself for a while and i still get up there (in the normal world) regularly. I had planned to speak to the landowner but for some strange reason i find myself spending all my time at home these days!! Was the family at Clove Lodge called Purvis?

No  -  Atkinson  ,  my  bro-in-law  is  -  Bill Parmley at Snaisgill Farm ,  the amount of stone walling he has done as a hobby - he would be a good bet to quiz.  Spent lots of time since before 1970 @ Clove Lodge & since.

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And my mates dad who died recently always used to tell the tale about the Germans bombing Cockfield on a bright sunny day. Everyone initially came out in the streets to jeer as the RAF engaged the bombers - then the bombs started to fall!!!!!

We always used to joke that Hitler specified neutralising the threat of Cockfield before taking on Russia!!

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15 hours ago, Dave 892 said:

And my mates dad who died recently always used to tell the tale about the Germans bombing Cockfield on a bright sunny day. Everyone initially came out in the streets to jeer as the RAF engaged the bombers - then the bombs started to fall!!!!!

We always used to joke that Hitler specified neutralising the threat of Cockfield before taking on Russia!!

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I know the Cockfield area better than any on the planet probably.  I bit of glass was broken but the bulk of the bombs were dropped at  Peathrow - approx. 1 mile from village.   https://www.google.com/maps/@54.6155616,-1.8280293,394m/data=!3m1!1e3

Take the road to Hollymoor (road ends)  , take road to Butterknowle,  after 100 yards - track to East Pethrow Farm,  you will notice the first cultivated field, in the corner adj. the fell a few small trees & some stonework , you can see line of a old tub track , New Copley Pit to New Copley Brickworks  (no trace at all)  .  There were sidings long before my time from Cockfield Station to the brickworks (that were directly below Peathrow).   The field I mentioned earlier was  O.C.C. mined  1958-1960 , most of the bombs dropped here , no sign as land restored after opencasting.  Back to where you left the tarmac road & in direction of towards Cockfield Station - you will see quite clearly (if you know the signs) the two remaining bomb holes (on Cockfield Fell).     I suspect they were at a height , on bombing run for Lands Viaduct.                   Near  Toronto Lodge P.H.   road from Bp. Auckland to Crook ,  over road entrance to farm (you can't see the pond  - bomb hole for trees now) ,    this was a real lucky shot because just across is the electricity sub-station  (one grid branch H.T. to Barnard Castle).  However - I think they were aiming for Newton Cap Viaduct  (converted ex-rail to highway  1994). 

 

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