War Office (A6) wagon 50, built by the Metropolitan Wagon & Finance Co Ltd at their Ashbury Works in Manchester.
Wagons 50 up to 74 were built to order number B3850.
This petrol tank wagon was ordered by the British War Office on behalf of the French Ministry of War. It was built by the Midland Railway Carriage & Wagon Co Ltd, Birmingham, in 1918. The wheelbase was 3540 mm.
French Prime Minister M. Clemenceau sent a telegram to British Prime Minister Mr Lloyd George urging the loan of 200 British tank wagons to assist the French war effort. But as few suitable wagons were available it was instead decided to build 200 new ones for France. A letter dated October 1918 from the Ministry of Munitions to Sir Charles Ellis mentions the French were to purchase the wagons under construction because fabrication had advanced too far for them to be converted to work in Britain.
A telegram dated October 1918 stated that 140 of the fleet were to be sent to France, and the remainder to Italy. A letter dated 14th November 1918 from the Ministry of Munitions to the British Armaments Mission in Paris stated that 34 wagons had been delivered, and the remainder were expected at the rate of 5 per week.
The French Ministry of War appears to have sold the wagon in the photograph before it was completed. It is painted as French private owner tank wagon 323251 of the chemical company Drouard Freres.