Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mole, Lancelot de

Mole, Lancelot de
He was born in 13th March 1880 in Adelaide, Australia. De Mole’s father was an architect and surveyor and he himself followed a similar avenue as a draughtsman working on mining, surveying and engineering projects in Australia.

It was in 1911, while surveying in a particular rough terrain in Western Australia, that he first received the idea of the tank as a tracked, armored vehicle capable of traversing the most difficult ground.

He drew up detailed plans and submitted them to the war office in London the following year, but although they were rejected, not all the plans were returned to him.

When war broke out in 1914 he tried without success to interest the Australian authorities, even after he had constructed a model at their request.

A further blow came in 196, when the first tanks, built by British, appeared on the battlefields of France and looked remarkably similar in design to his own.

Believing that he could play a significant role in further tank development, but lacking the funds to travel to Britain, de Mole eventually succeeded, after an initial rejection by a medical board, in electing in the Australian Army, which got him to England at the beginning of 1918.

He immediately took his model to the British Inventions Committee, who were sufficiently impressed to pass it to the Tank Board, who promptly mislaid it for six weeks.

Meanwhile, in March 1918, Private de Mole was ordered to France and was unable to take matters further.

On his returned to England in early 1919 he made formal claim for a reward for his invention, but this was turned down on the grounds that not direct link could be established between his design and the first tanks that were built.

Even so, the Inventions Committee did authorize sum of money to cover his expenses, and in 1920 de Mole was a made a Commandeer of the Order of the British Empire.

Returning to Australia, de Mole worked as an engineer in the design branch of the Sydney Water Board.

He continued to invent, but none of his design, covered a wide range of times, were ever taken up. He died on 6th of May 1950 in Sydney.
Mole, Lancelot de

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