‘Classified: Operation Clumber Park’ will look to tell the many stories of wartime Clumber Park through interpretation, recreation, events and activities throughout the summer.
It all began with the launch of ‘Nellie’ – part of a fascinating story from Clumber Park’s hidden past, on Sunday, May 26.
Winston Churchill was a firm believer in the importance of science and technology in warfare.
One of his brainwaves, originally dreamed up during the First World War, was a trench-digging tank codenamed Naval Land Equipment tractor, amusingly shortened to ‘Nellie’.
Five prototypes were built by Ruston Bucyrus in Lincoln and tested at Clumber Park.
In late 1941, Churchill travelled up to Clumber to see Nellie in action. After a train ride from London, Churchill completed his journey by car and then, for nearly a mile, on foot through the mud to the test site.
The huge machine, measuring 23 metres long (a whopping 75 feet), two metres wide and 2.5 metres high consisted of two parts.
At the rear came the tank, weighing 100 tons, pushing the 30-ton front section which was capable of digging a trench 1.5m deep and two metres wide.
The trenches Nellie dug shaped the landscape at Clumber Park, particularly on South Lawns; effects that can still be seen today.
Clumber Park are proud to have recreated a full size version of Winston Churchill’s ‘Nellie’, using original specifications and built almost completely in house.
The tank is situated near the main visitor facilities, and also features a nearby obstacle course made using reconditioned Clumber Park timber.
Visitors can enter the tank itself, hear the low growl of the engines, smell the engine oil and learn more about Nellie and the visit of Winston Churchill as well as finding out more about Clumber Park’s role in World War Two when she opens to the public on Sunday 26th May 2019.