The Centurion Tank in Leyland is one of a series of “Welcome to Leyland” gateway monuments celebrating the town’s industrial heritage.
Others include ‘William The Tractor’, ‘Norma The Fire Engine‘ and ‘Bobby the Iron Horse‘. The Centurion tank was moved to its present position in 2016 to facilitate road improvements to the A582 Flensburg way. In fact, it sits on a mound 20m back from the current roundabout.
There is an information plaque in front of the tank: Made in Leyland. It proclaims that “This Centurion tank commemorates the servicemen and women who have served our country.” Evidently, it is a gateway to Leyland and proudly represents the town and the workers who built it.
The Centurion was developed during World War II as a cruiser tank. Mark 2 models entered service after the end of the war. Over the years, continuous development produced numerous modifications culminating in the Mark 13 design. The Centurion is widely regarded as one of the best British tank designs of all time. It has served the British Army and many others for over 60 years and seen action in diverse places such as Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf.
Centurion Tanks were made at the Spurrier Works in Leyland. The “tank factory” was opened on 23 October 1953, during the Korean crisis.