The Ghost Grant
This hull was the first Grant delivered to the English Army
The only other Grant with more significance would be the one commanded by Monty. Which explains why they went to the trouble entailed to restore this hull.
The finished item on the right -- what an enormous amount of work it must have involved!
These two photos supplied by Doug Greville
Danger encountered in Vietnam
The tank on fire has just hit a mine, the driver has made it back to the other Centurion The three white dots show the rest of the crew running back to cover. The top right dot shows the Crew Commander (I think it was Knobby Clark) who was last off the tank as he stayed to undo the .30 flex from the turret
Now that is training, staying to save the weapon after a mine explosion and a petrol motored Centurion is on fire, with maybe around 200 gallons of fuel waiting to explode!
VISIT TO BANDIANNA
I had been in contact with Ian Pullen a WO11 at the Bandianna Army Museum up on the Vic--NSW Border and Ian suggested I call in when next in the area. So at 8 am I was away for the boring drive up the Hume Freeway, that I have done dozens of times--maybe hundreds. But in two and a half hours I was parking at the Museum.
I immediately notice that the area had changed since my last visit. The two Bofors out the front plus the Artillery pieces had all been repainted, and very nice indeed they looked.
There were also some boxed sections out to the right where the bridge layer was, it appears that some more slabs were being constructed. There are some more displays being setup out there. I made my way across to the workshop area to meet Ian and noticed a large RAEME sign--it was in fact a bit hard to miss.
Outside sat an old Saracen waiting to be restored
Inside was another Saracen -- this one had been fitted out as a fitters vehicle and so was quite rare.
Sorry about the quality of the photo's, I am playing around with a digital camera. My 35mm takes excellent photos but it becomes quite expensive.
The digital costs nothing but, I am still learning about flash --light--glare, with the digital its very different, compared to my 35mm and of course remembering to switch the bloody flash on. But my success rate is improving and I am a firm believer that poor is better than none, so please bear with me.
Ian gave me free range to wander around and take photos of everything, unfortunately the inside of the workshop left a bit to be desired for taking photos, some areas very dark and here there were windows the reflected glare did not help either, but we got some good shots anyway.
A Blitz under restoration
A couple of Bren Gun Carriers under full rebuild
Bren motor and transmission
Bren axle and diff housings
A nice ferret ---this photo was black with a white glare on it before cleaning it up ---it came back fairly good, except for the glare through the door, yeah ,forgot the bloody flash again!
Another shot of the Ferret
Some more items, a Motorbike - Jeep - Truck
Note the shells a 20 pounder and also a Canister round. This shot was taken through the wire cage as this room is under lock and key -- understandable
I had visited the museum many years ago after a contact had mentioned that a friend of his had compiled a list of the engine numbers of the old Austin Champs that had been imported back to Australia by the Bill Patterson Motors at Ringwood. He knew the location of all of them and I was told mine was at the Bandianna Museum. I went up to have a look and found her inside. She had been repainted and was now fitted with AMF number plates. When I had her it had Victorian Civilian plates and the British Unit emblem and serial number came up when I cut and polished the Bonnet and rear section, they were as good as new. I was speaking to a WO11 and mentioned to him that they had my Champ on display. He immediately said, no it was not mine, they had obtained it from a chap at Tallangatta. I sold it to the guy that brought my farm at Dixon Creek and he later sold it to people unknown. I insisted it was mine and said I broke the drivers side screen when replacing it and the broken screen was still in place! He was not convinced and also did not agree with the fact that I brought it as I had driven one in the Army. He went on to explain that a few were brought in to test and the diffs did not stand up to testing so they were never released to general use. I mentioned that in fact they had been issued to the 1st Armoured Regiment at Puckapunyal where I had driven them. At this point of time things became heated as he still insisted they had never been issued and I did not know what I was talking about. I suggested he should learn what he was talking about as far as his exhibits were concerned or keep his mouth shut. It was on this happy note we parted company, which was maybe just as well. I mentioned this story to Ian and he said, "Come and have a look at this". And took me down to the rear of the shed where sat my old Champ.
She is still a runner and goes well, Ian informed me!
Complete with the broken screen still in place!
I had at that time a holiday house at Gough's Bay at Eildon Lake. The kids loved it when I drove it down to the boat loading ramp, with the snorkel extended and drove into the water with only the snorkel showing, motor still running. Put on the hand brake and step out and proceed to wash the vehicle. Then reverse her out and drive off with water going everywhere.
A quick slip back in time to around 1974
A mate , well and truly stuck. They handled mud well but this guy always had to go the hardest way -- often to his regret
A slow drive up the Goulburn River, yeah, up not across -- everything in those days was do it the hard way, but she did keep going!
Ian has a few manuals --also many more set out in a room on shelves.
I was told a few years ago, a story of semi trailer loads of manuals being dropped off at the Albury tip, including Centurion workshop manuals
A Haflinger and trailer.
A second Haflinger being restored
A pallet of parts waiting to be restored
A restoration with some of the items restored and painted
A big restoration job in the process
Another job being worked on
An ambulance rebuild
Part of the radio room
And another one is discovered --- ARN 169121
During my search I was aware of 4 ARV that I was able to locate, but then the Army brought the Hong Kong tanks which were all used for spare parts, but the ARV was put into service at Puckapunyal and now resides in the Puckapunyal Tank Museum. I also knew that six moretanks were purchased from the UK and 169121 was one of these but was never able to locate it. On the way home something kept niggling me and I could not put my finger on it. When copying the pictures the serial number stood out. Here was my missing ARV. Apparently it had been out the back in storage and not on display and this was the first time I had access to this area . So another one is crossed off my list, giving me hope that I will find them all.
I know of one located that belonged to the Grollo group who had three, one is at the Vietnam Veterans Museum 169016 and another is at the Grollo property at Mansfield and the third was given to one of the Grollo managers. I have the three ARN's but cannot get access to the one at Mansfield and the third one I am not able to be given the location (Fair enough, people are entitled to their privacy ) but I cannot understand why I cannot be given the ARN --- this would then allow me to id the one at Mansfield, again without invading on the owners privacy.
She is looking excellent and is now a runner
Ian has now got her running
A 1942 Staghound
Carrier, 2 Pdr. Tank Attack
Various great motor bikes used by the Army
FX Holden Ute --- I can remember these being introduced -- The first three went to the 1st Armoured Regiment for use at the 1956 Olympic Games. They patrolled the inside of the Olympic Village and we thought they were marvellous.
Tracked Rapier -- This unit was used in the Gulf War 1990-1991
Pair of search lights and artillery gun
World War 1 tray truck
A really nice Jeep
A Bren LP2 with Vickers gun. This Bren is in exception restored condition with new ammo box's and all equipment
Close up view of the front of the Vickers
Interior view of the Vickers
A tripod mounted Vickers -- The replica's are that good I cannot tell if this is one or a real gun??
The Museum is now a great display and you can spend hours there - its well worth a drive up from Melbourne