Marshal Liman von Sanders Mercades

OBJECTS OF ENGINEERING-WWI car model

Marshal Liman von Sanders MercadesMarshal Liman von Sanders Mercades

In a way this object is something of a curiosity, at first it looks like a fairly regualr model of a car, with nice additions such as a hinged working door. It has been photographed in 3D* so that you can properly see these features. But when you look into its history it reveals itself to be anything but ordinary.

Made by German Prisoner’s of War held in Palestine during the First World War, as a gift to their the British Major Pinder Commander 347 MT Coy RASC. RASC is of course the The Royal Army Service Corps and 347 was a Mechanical Transport Company (Supply Column). RACS had an out post in the region but it seems curious that someone dealing with transport would receive a present from prisoners as a link is not obvious or known, perhaps they were working with the unit?

Sanders was Commander in Chief of German and Turkish forces in the Palestine region. He was appointed the head of a German military mission to the Ottoman Empire in 191, tasked with attempting to modernise their army. At the outbreak of war the Ottoman’s allied with the Central Powers (Germany, Austro-Hungry, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire). During late November 1914 proposals were put forward by Winston Churchill to strike the Ottoman’s: leading to a failed naval attack on the Dardanelles; then the now infamous amphibious operations which led to the Battle of Gallipoli. Liman was directly involved and had to organise the Ottoman troops to repeal the assault, partly the campaign was so disastrous because of erroneous reports about these troops. Liman was to spend the next year fighting off the Allies, he was then sent to fight the British in Mesopotamia (October 1915). In 1918 he took over command of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign. Given that the car was made in Palestine in 1918 it seems highly probable that the prisoners were troops who had been under Liman during this campaign.

As for Pinder though, apart from knowing that he donated the car to us we have been able to find out hardly anything about him. Please do contact us if you know anything more.

* Not got flash, access from here.

Archives, Institution of Mechanical Engineering

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