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CORPORAL DE MOLE:
EARLY ARRIVAL EXPECTED.
Corporal L. E. De Mole, who was officially credited in .England with being the inventor of a tank "which anticipated and in some respects sur- passed that actually put into use in the year 1916," but who receivedno monetary rewan! for his invention, returned to Australia by the steamer -Megantic. Corporal de Mole was a
resident of Adelaide when he enlisted, but his home is now at "Rhodesüy*
The detailed finding of the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors, to hand by the latest English files, gives every credit to the Australian. Refer- ring to his claim, the commission stttes: "We consider that he is entitled to the gieatest credit for having made and reduced to practical shape as far back as the year 1912 a very brilliant invention which anticipated and in some respects surpassed that actually put into use in the year 1916. It was this claimant's misfortune and not his fault that his invention was in advance of his time, and failed to be appreciat- ed, and was put aside because the oc- casion for its use had not then arisen. We regret exceedingly Jhat we are un- able to recommend any award to him. But t we are bound to adhere to> the general rule in such cases as these, that a claimant must show à casual connection between the making of his invention and the use of any similar invention by the Government"
Rewards totalling £18,000 were paid to other claimants in connection with the invention of the tank, all that Corporal Mole received being his ex« penses, amounting to £985.
I The disclosures before the Royal
Commission and the failure of Cor- poral Mole's claim were the subject of candid comment on the part of a num- ber _ of English newspapers. The "Daily'Chronicle" succinctly remark- ed, in a leader, that "because some- body at the War Office pigeon-holed the design for a-tank submitted in 1912 the army had to wait until 1916 to get an article which the authorities admit was not as good." '
The history of Corporal de Mole's
attempts to have his invention ac- 1 cepted is a record of departmental in-
eptitude, both on the part of the Bri- '
tish authorities and the Australian authorities who dealt with inventions during the war. It was in 1911 that he conceived the idea of the tanks. He made a small model, and in 1912 sent plans and specifications to the British War Office, offering then/the design as a gift.*' After a good deal of correspondence had been exchanged, he was finally notified in June, 1913. by the War Office that they did not propose to proceed with the matter as "they were not then* experimenting with chain rails." Disheartened, ' he put his model aside, refusing a sug l gestion that lie should submit his in i vention to a foreign power. When j the war broke out, however, he com
? menced an improvement upon his pre-,
uous mofle' pud this de i U «
nutted to the \\ ar Office m igi The repl> wi» io the effect tint u t ut a working mod-1 the \\ i O t t e tld not consiacr his design« \\ ithojt the nccessir\ means de Mik was unable to go to London
When the Australnn It en nn> Board sat m adelaide earK in the follov\ing >ear he subimiu 1 t ti
! his des'gns Here at,am lie met with failure because 1 e a serud tilt official detailed to go mt t e ¡'in
with him obnoush was not capable of understanding them Subsequently he was able tj build a model with the financial aid ot a friend and altho lgh
hejiad been preuousli reacted for
active service he managed n pass and Ieft_with the forces for England taking- his model with him
Arrived in England Corporal i° Mole at first had some diffieult) be fore he conld get his model \ie \cd \\ anyone of importance E\ entuall) lie got a promise from the Direetor <n the Tank Experiment Station to «iib mit it to a test He was intorn e I bv the chairman of the first committee of investigation that the tank was to be examined by a second committee before it was finally adopted He was told that he would be sent for a» <oon as the second committee was readv to sit At the end of six weeks rece un?
no word, he made mi estiva ions and discovered his model m the basement of one of the Goiernment offices The letter from the first committee to the second, advising that the model was being sent for examination had 1 een written, bat ne\er sent' ImTe1
ately after he was despatched to France and remained there until tue armistice with no opportune ot keep ng his invention betöre the au thortties. When he subsequently made I is claim betöre ti e Imcntion, Commission he was unible to go w the expense o' legal coi nsel and ap peared betöre the tr b mai in person
Corporal de Mole comes ot eng neenng stocV-h s father « a c « engineer at Renmark South Austral«. and his great great grandfather io» Henry Maudsley one ot *<= s»3 " engineers of the early P*rt °\,'*e cental} Some j ears ago de JWe
invented an automatic telephone siT lar to the one now used but ww«»
able to persuade the Postal öepa« ment to even test the >ment.on Since the armistice he has imwted an« patented throughout the «*«« ï^ style of motor lorr> chassis for heavy