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Visit from Rusty Dyson

Rusty was to come down for a visit to Melbourne, where arrangements had been made for him to spend four days with me and visit the tank he drove in Vietnam 169069. This tank was out past Bendigo and it had been quite hard to find the owner who did want his privacy protected. So in fact it was a four year project, first finding the Centurion and then through the owner of the second Centurion on the property locating the owners name but his address was not available. Then both tanks were moved and a lot more time taken to make contact with the owner. The fact that Rusty had driven the tank in Vietnam was a big help and finally permission to visit was obtained. Arrangements for Rusty to fly to Melbourne were setup, remember this guy got lost in Qld. his home state and 12 hours later we ended up seeing most of northern NSW. I later became aware that he could get lost on a freeway, But somehow he managed to find his way to Tullamarine, where I picked him up and transported him quickly and safely to Kilmore, which in itself was a mystery to Rusty of how I managed it.

169069 when first found about 4 years ago

Next day it was up and away to Bendigo where we picked up John Loughman and proceeded to Maryborough. Here we met up with Demetrius Parker who now owned 169069 and we followed him out to his property.

Myself and Demetrius

169069 today

The side bins have been taken off to make it easier to move around the tank

That was all the smoke at start up, it disappeared in seconds and even high revs could not produce any more, the nicest engine I have seen and it ran like a dream

 Rusty had an experience in Vietnam that troubled him over the years. They were going to assist some grunts that were in trouble, and the water temperature went sky high. This in turn stopped the tank (a safety device) Rusty told Mick Butler the crew commander and Mick said "Use the over ride switch". The motor then was restarted and they only went a few hundred yards and the motor seized. This resulted in the first motor change in the field  in Vietnam


LAD and crew refit the new motor

What Rusty could not remember was if he or Mick threw  the over ride cut out? He could not remember what it looked like or where it was. Over the years we have looked at many Centurions but could not find this cut out switch. I have seen something simular, but it had a couple of buttons and a push in cut out, in my opinion it was a magneto tester. Anyway when Rusty climbed into the drivers seat he yelled out, "here is the switch!" I climbed up and sure enough , it was simular to the magneto cut out but had only one button, and the press inn button was not there, but a turn switch was. Also it had a printed description sign on it stating it was a water temp over ride. I have never seen one before. Rusty also recalls a unit fitted to his tank only that was some sort of GPS, they could tell where they had been and where they were. Again it was thought to be a test unit and I have also never seen one. Then today looking for another photo I did find three more




The owners father, Ian Parker, loaned me an album with some photos of captured weapons which I have copied below

As the tank did not have any brakes, Rusty was limited to driving it backwards and forwards but manage a gear change up to third in about 15 feet

The next day it was off to the Tank Museum at Puckapunyal


Rusty inspects Bewildered at the Puckapunyal main gate

The Centurion Radio set, The left unit is the power supply (SUV) the one on the right is the C42 set (A & B net) and the one below is the B47 (C net) set with instruction books

A Seven Cylinder Radial motor

Next day it was down to the Vietnam Veterans Museum

A shot inside

Rusty and I assembled the display and plugged in the turntable -- it will go into a glass case as soon as one can be obtained

The First Armoured Regiment which will be placed at the rear with a picture of Jock Browning and crew underneath

Rusty and I had a great week and he was all to soon on his way home --- hope he managed to get onto the correct plane


A week later Brad Baker -- owner of 169109 arrived for a four day stay

Day one was out to see Stu Buchanan 169040

Stu's driving area which is mostly to wet or a fire risk, he has a very limited driving window with the weather

But she is a good looking tank and does run well

Back to Seymour and we called into see Robert Parkers 169038

Then it was lunch at the local R.S.L without doubt the worst meal I have had for years and a place I will stay away from in the future, a piece of boot leather for the main course was bad enough, but $1 for gravy and $2 for some sauce (Christ I could but a bottle of it for that price)


Brad beside 169106 at the Sgt's Mess Puckapunyal

This .30 cal flex took a hit from an RPG into the main body of the gun





The next day it was up to the Bandiana Museum

Bandiana Museum

When they obtained the FX Holden for the army, the first three were sent to the 1st Armoured Regiment and used for patrol inside the Olympic Village for the 1956 games.

We had a good day and also visited Tim Vibert's place at Wangaratta so as Brad could pick up a couple of items for 169109

We were to call in and see Brendon Shevlin a trooper at the 1st Armoured Regiment at Puckapunyal, but we ran out of time which was a pity as Brenton has just purchased a Saladin from Adelaide

Picking up the Saladin in Adelaide

She looks nice

On the way back to Seymour

A couple of blown tyres on the way back -- close to home

So the axle was just chained up and driven carefully to the property in the early hours of the morning


Ready for a run

All went well and she preformed well


A round for the main gun

A grant -- one of many on the property

 On the third day Brad and I went down to the Vietnam Veterans museum to take down the M16 display. On the way we called in to see Rod Visser owner of 169077 and then went over to visit Keith Dudley, who makes the .30 and .50 cal replicas. I gave him a Centurion and an APC .30 cal mount to copy, which I hope will get the museum a .30 cal flex mount for their tank

The Sqn moving on "THE GHAN" Photo Courtesy Tpr. Steven Davis B Sqn SHQ


B Sqn on convoy to Townsville

Brenton driving a Leopard, waiting in ambush -- Brenton now drives an Abrams


Below are items Brenton donated to the V V Museum

Brenton donated this M16

I made up the display after Bob Herron, a mate, donated some drill rounds-- which finished off the display nicely

A full first aid kit

A radio spare parts kit

A second set

A radio set which also had a backpack with it

Close up of the radio set

A captured genuine Viet Cong Flag

Brenton donated a heap of uniforms and other items  -- to many to list

169012 Darwin

169017 Darwin

169041 the Atomic Tank Darwin

The above three tanks at Darwin , these updated photos from Jared Archibald, just arrived