THIS historic gun tractor will form the centrepiece of a 72-tonne First World War convoy, set to travel through the county tomorrow en-route to the Great Dorset Steam Fair.

The 1914 WW1 Holt 75 Gun Tractor will be moved from Bovington’s Tank Museum to the Tarrant Hinton site, under escort, on a trailer hauled by two authentic steam road locomotives.

A steam lorry, a Daimler lorry and a traction engine will also form part of the convoy.

Tractor owners Ron and Keith Harris, from Gillingham, and Roger Dibnah, son of the late celebrity steeplejack Fred Dibnah, will be accompanying the convoy – and everyone will be dressed in uniform.

Great Dorset Steam Fair managing director Martin Oliver said: “Everyone today is affected by the First World War and it will be a breathtakingly moving sight to see such a colossal road run arriving on site in British Army colours with everyone in uniform.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the organisation and preparation of the journey, without whom this would not be possible.”

American Benjamin Holt first fitted tracks to a steam tractor in 1904. Over the next decade large numbers of his steam tractors were produced, predominantly for agricultural and haulage purposes.

However, following the outbreak of the First World War, the British military found itself in need of suitable transport for its heavy guns – and the Holt Gun Tractor fitted the bill.

Around 1,600 were shipped to the UK, 400 to other European countries and a large number to the US military. Only one or two of these tanks have survived.

  • ANYONE wishing to see the road run in action is invited to welcome the convoy at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, or to watch it leave from The Tank Museum, Bovington.

Timings are subject to change. Visit the website for details or DorsetSteamFair for real-time updates.