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Tank was the headquarters of the subdivision and tahsil of the same name in Dera Ismail Khan District, North West Frontier Province.

There was a military garrison which was withdrawn (probably c 1908?) and the post was then held by the border military police.

In 1919, a young British army officer, Francis Stockdale, was deployed to Waziristan area. Capt Stockdale described Tank as being "the worst station in British India".

"It was known as 'Hell's door knocker' because in the summer the temperature would rise so high that a village nearby rejoiced in the highest temperature in the world - a modest 131 degrees in the shade. "But it was also an area where hostile tribesman waited, watched and pounced," he wrote. "My memories of Tank are characterised by sporadic outbreaks of rifle fire by night and spasmodic outbreaks of cholera during the day. The town fully deserved its poor reputation." [1]

There could also be other extreme weather events, such as the 14th August 1917 flood at Tank described by Lance Corporal Howgego of the 1/25st Battalion, The London Regiment, which damaged the railway line midway between Tank and Kalabagh.[2]

Spelling variants

Tank, Tonk


Battle of Tank 1860

External Links

Historical books online

  • Tank Tahsil Imperial Gazetteer of India, Volume 23, page 244.
  • Tank Town Imperial Gazetteer of India, Volume 23, page 245.
  • Tank is briefly described page 23 Beyond Khyber Pass by Lowell Thomas, first published 1925. Archive.org. The author was American writer and broadcaster.
    • Includes the statement that the name Tank was pronounced Tonk by the British.
  • "Waziristan District" by Lieutenant-Colonel B. B. Burke Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 1925;44:3 pages 204-207. "Every officer must carry a loaded revolver when travelling on account of the possibility of fanatical attacks".


  1. Why Britons walked warily in Waziristan by Alastair Lawson 21 April 2008 news.bbc.co.uk
  2. Papers of Sgt Reginald Mortimer Howgego at the British Library Mss Eur C340: letter to his mother transcribed in Indian/South-Asian Industrial Locos: Military Trains (irfca.com) by Simon Darvill (scroll down). Photographs of the Tank Floods 25thlondon.com