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Stranded Mark 1 Tank

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Fact Becomes Fiction

Breaking the Bonds of Truth


Having worked hard (well, hard by my standards anyway) on the dramatised account of Fray Bentos that I mentioned in a previous post, I found myself increasingly frustrated by the constraints of historical accuracy. The more I researched, the more there was to know. Not only that, but I discovered that so much had been written about Captain Richardson and his crew that there was little that hadn't already been said. There's also considerable peril in writing about real people from relatively recent history. They weren't famous in their day, so little can be known about their real characters. Having no wish to offend living relatives, I've decided to move away from history and create a completely fictional account. This gives me the freedom to paint flawed characters; people we can identify with through their imperfections.

It also freed me to move from a Mark IV to a Mark I tank. I can't explain why this felt so important, I can only say that I felt more connected with this unreliable machine, little more than a prototype, that was pushed into action while still incomplete and untested.

My fictional machine is a Mark I female - equipped with machine guns rather than the six pounder cannons of the male. She's named Deafender due to a sign painter's mistake, left uncorrected because of its accuracy. Despite being the slowest tank in the squadron, it's easily the noisiest.

I've decided that each of the stories in the new collection should be preceded by an illustration. The picture here is the first of them. Look closely between the rear tracks and you'll see three Germans huddled next to the tail lifting gear. What they're doing there will become clear when the book is released.


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