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Page 10

169003

 Found at last

Remember these photos of 169003 in Vietnam as shown in an early page.

 

They sure managed to get her stuck--but they also got her out!

Now even further back were these photos of cents stripped of their turrets and converted to use for a mining company

  

These appear to be two tanks. Note the different front idler wheels. The left one appears to still have the guard bins

 

I think this is the left hand one before the rig was fitted. If there were only two made then this one is 169003 as when she is shown down the page she also has this type of front idler wheels

  

These are two of the turrets from the stripped tanks which are now at the Dubbo Military Museum in NSW

 

 Rusty Dyson who you will all know as my mate in Qld has been so helpful in tracing items in Qld and as well in assisting me when ever I go up that neck of the woods, which is often. Rusty and I have done a few miles in Centurions over the last few years. Rusty was a driver in Vietnam of 169069. Today he phoned me telling me he had found 169003 and he also sent the photos below. We are now hoping to locate either the other tank or information about her. So another one is clicked off the list

 

The photos above were from an old album and were taken years ago

The item on the back is a large winch, the hoist is evident

 

The photos below were taken yesterday 20-09-05

 

 

The front ripper blade is from a CAT Dozer                       That sure looks like a drivers seat

Top view of the winch

The above photos were supplied by Robert Salter

There is a story within a story here. My Good friend Rusty Dyson purchased some old brass 20 pounder cases on EBay

He brought three of the four offered. He contacted the other buyer who was Robert Salter

In the process he found that he had gone to school with the sellers father and uncle, small world. Then when asked why he brought them he mentioned Steel Thunder. Robert Salter then explained that there was a Centurion Mine conversion on the property next door, and so another cent has been found. You just never know when or from where one will turn up

 

20 Pounder Smoke Shells

    

I have never seen one of these but Bruce Cameron MM told me a bit about them

20 Pounder Cases

I am looking for a few cases for the Vietnam Veterans Museum, hopefully to have a full set of rounds and if I could be so lucky, some projectiles. So if you have any of these items in the shed how about donating them to the Museum, where they will be safe and preserved for many years to come.

Any donations will have a donators name on them

 

169116

 

 

This tank was a bit of a wreck at the School of Military Engineering in NSW

It has been restarted and is now a runner and donated to the Army Museum of Western Australia

    Steven Dietmann fires her up  

  

The Cadets give her the once over

 

            

                        Loading her up                                                                   Onboard at last

 

              

           That hard work is at last finished                                             Time to chain her down

  

            

                                                                                   Time to exit

       

The Centurion can no longer be carried on standard low loaders, so a dolly setup is used going from the turntable back to a set of dual axles and the trailer is then hooked to the dolly. This spreads the weight a lot more. The trailer also needs extensions over the side to take the extra width. Extensions are also fitted to the loading ramps and they are removable. The rig can only move in set daylight hours and must pull over every night. The trip from N.S.W. to W.A. took five and a half days.

    

Ready to move out. 

If you ever watched a Cent being loaded and unloaded, you will be amazed at the amount of people required, the amount of trouble you can encounter and the time it can take. Then add the areas that the tank may need to be driven into, small lanes and so forth and then add the cost per mile to deliver it and of course return the transport rig. This may make you reconsider the purchase! add to this the purchase price, Restoration and parts prices. Then the maintenance required to keep one going and you relies that you have undertaken a massive project

 

 

I was told that when Gordon Muddle drove her onto the low loader they could not get him to climb out---so they threw in a slab and a pack of food in and put a sticker on the tank asking he be posted back on arrival

Gordon Muddle --- another chap I have only spoken to on the phone but I can never repay him for his help and assistance

Gordon has spent about 40 years working on Centurions and is without doubt an expert on them-- and always willing to help

A great guy!

 

The Army Museum of Western Australia

at Burt St

 Fremantle

The future home of 169116

 

They will in time also have a leopard and hopefully an APC as well

The Museum is in Burt St Fremantle  at the old Artillery Barracks.

These barracks were built about 1910 and it has been a Museum for about 25 years

 

169116 was due at the W.A. Army Museum at 10.00 hours on Monday 26-09-05

The bad news is the low loader snapped a uni joint four hours out from Perth. They are working on it at the moment but the arrival time will be late which no doubt will throw out the arrival plans somewhat.

She arrived about 1300 hrs and the Police, Council people , Military Police, helpers and visitors were still there

The photos below were supplied courtesy of Jeff Gregory from 

                                                                    

              

The crowd wait

            

                                                                            Removing the rug rats to safety

 

                       She is looking good                                         A very tight fit through the gate

 

 

                    Removing the tie down chains                                           Firing her up

 

                            Opening the lid was a big job                                           Starting down

 

                                    On the deck                                    After all these years , yeah she will blow some smoke

 

                       Having a quick look                                                          Mick backs her into place

   

                          That will do her                                                         Another nice display

                                                                  The old girl looks good as well

 Norm Wells sent me this information the next day

      Centurion ARN 169116 was offloaded at The Army Museum of W.A. Fremantle at 1400hrs today Monday after a 5.5 day haul across the nation from Casula
NSW. Hauled on board a RACT S Liner Inter double articulated transporter which had a major drive shaft failure 70km from anywhere in the marginal country approx 330km from PERTH.  National recovery support arranged civvy recovery and they deployed a country town civvy field service man who fitted a new uni joint yoke, 2 uni joints and a new trunnion carrier bearing assy on the roadside in under two hours with all parts available in the back of his service van --- an amazing pit stop repair that stunned the RACT drivers and resulted in an arrival delay of two hrs which could have meant a few days wait on the roadside.

 Brilliant driving by the truckies saw the complete truck squeeze in the Fremantle Barracks gate with a coat of paint clearance either side  (the tank turret had to be traversed to gain clearance half way thru the gate) After a quick prime of fuel the Meteor burst into life the first time it was asked blowing a little smoke and the monster was driven off  the truck like a dream by Mick Rainey M.M. the only tank crewman to be decorated in SVN and a great Cent driver in his day who reported it as  steering very well and felt  to be in pretty fair nick.

 Please pass to all involved in the preparation for dispatch west of the cent the appreciation of all at AMWA. It received extensive publicity on TV
news and press and will attract throngs to the museum for a look-see. Whilst there are a couple of Centurions privately owned in W.A this is the first
one to that the Dept of Defence has brought to W.A


I have noticed over the last few years that there seems to be some people upset over the name of the Centurion motor. I did my driving course in 1954 and the cent had only been here for a short time. But I am aware of what we were taught. The motor was the same as the Spitfire , detuned and governed. The Spitfire motor was called a Merlin and we were of the opinion {Told} {Instructed} that the tank motor was a Rolls Royce Merlin V12. This has now been shown to be incorrect. In fact the tank motor was named a Meteor V12. Today many people still believe it was a Rolls Royce. While in fact the design was Rolls Royce,  it was built by Rover.

For interest an early test for the Merlin Spitfire motor is shown below

Early Merlins were considered to be rather unreliable, but their importance was too great for this to be left alone. Rolls soon introduced a superb quality control program to address this. The program consisted of taking random engines right off the end of assembly line and running them continuously at full power until they broke. They were then disassembled to find out which part had failed, and that part was redesigned to be stronger. After two years of this the Merlin matured into one of the most reliable aero engines in the world, and could be run at full power for entire eight hour bombing missions without complaint.