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Letter asking for remuneration from the British Munitions Inventions Department
Title : Letter asking for remuneration from the British Munitions Inventions Department Letter asking for remuneration from the British Munitions Inventions Department View More Images
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Creator : de Mole, Lancelot Eldin, 1880-1950
Source : PRG 1319/1/30
Date of creation : 1919
Format : Letter
Catalogue record
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Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of Mrs Jenny de Mole. It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from Mrs Jenny de Mole and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

Letter written on 19 June 1919 by Lance de Mole, the South Australian-born inventor of the armoured tank, to the British Munitions Inventions Department, asking for remuneration for his expenses incurred in submitting his invention to the Department for use during the war. He notes that the request was denied.

Lance de Mole was born in Kent Town, South Australia, on 13 March 1880, son of William F. de Mole, civil engineer and surveyor, and Emily, nee Moulden. In 1885 family moved to Melbourne. In 1897 he went to Western Australia to do survey work with his father.

Interested in inventions, by 1900 and in 1912 Lance de Mole had designed an armoured vehicle with a chain-track tractor movement which he submitted to British War Office. It went unnoticed, as did another attempt in 1915. He enlisted in 10th Battalion in 1917 and took a model of tank to London where it was ignored. He was unsuccessful in obtaining official recognition for his design, although he was paid 987 by the British Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors to cover his expenses.

De Mole was appointed Commander of the British Empire in 1920. In 1921 he joined the Sydney Water Board as an engineer. He died in Sydney in 1950.

Period : 1919-1927
Further reading :

Kirby, John 'Adelaide inventor was on the track to victory' Sunday mail, 10 August 1980, p. 42-43, 45

Fatchen, Max 'S.A. inventor of first tank was unlucky' Advertiser, 7 November 1964, p. 25

Chris Coulthard-Clark 'Corporal L. E. de Mole: Australian inventor' Sabretache: the journal of the Military Collectors Society of Australia February 1979, pp 54 -57

Wright, Ken Wartime: official magazine of the Australian War Memorial, issue 19, October 2002, pp. 28-31

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