With a strong industrial base, Harland and Wolff was selected for the manufacture of war material that ranged from tanks to hand grenades and bullets. Tanks were built by Harland and Wolff between August 1939 and May 1943. At a time when there was an urgent demand for tanks the firm built about 550 Matildas, Churchills and Centaurs.
During the Belfast Blitz, Harland and Wolff moved its tank production facilities to the Woodburn Road, Carrickfergus. Today, the Co. Antrim coastal town proudly displays one of the Harland and Wolff built Churchill tanks belonging to the North Irish Horse Regiment.
The Tank Museum (Bovington, Bovington Camp)
The Tank Museum’s Cruiser Mark I, or A9. The A9 design originated in 1934, and after trials in 1937 the first production vehicles were delivered in 1939.
The A9 was armed with the 2 pounder gun, a very effective weapon for the time. The two auxiliary turrets each had a Vickers machine gun, but were hopelessly cramped and of little practical use.
Just 125 were built, and they saw service in France and the Middle East in 1940-41. This vehicle, T7230, was built in February 1940 by Harland and Wolff. It spent its service life at the School of Tank Technology.