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PAGE 13

 

169055 or maybe 196055

This Centurion resides on a property outside Horsham in Western Victoria

I located this tank about two years ago and the visit to the property and the meeting with Ian Puls was a great day indeed. Ian has been a collector of motors and items of interest for most of his life. The property has about 4-5 very large farm sheds which house his collection. This includes a Centurion Main Battle tank. When they were put up for sale by the Army I would imagine the chap painting the numbers onto the Cents went for a liquid lunch just before he did 169055 and so the number that appeared was 196055. I pointed out this mistake to Ian but do not feel I convinced him but I never the less forwarded some photos to enforce my description. 

The incorrect number painted on by the Army

Ian has solved the dirty fuel tank worry and the problem of the fuel going off when being left for a long period. Just put in what you need and its then gravity fed to the motor

169055 being unloaded at Ian's property. Note the shed off to the right. There are a few of these on the place all holding collected items.

Ian opens up his property every year to display his collections and gives 169055 a run. Last year I was not able to attend but I will be doing all I can this year. Unfortunately I go to hospital on the 10th November and the display is on the 12th, so hopefully I will still be able to make it. I have to get my priorities right so maybe I will cancel the hospital trip!!

 

Oberon  2005

The Daffy Parade is held in Oberon every September and is one of the few places you will ever see a Centurion driving up the main street. 

Matt McMahon and 169129 plus his Matilda and two Bren Gun Carriers make a regular attendance

Also this year John Swain from Lithgow and his jeep Club and a few Ferrets from the Lancers Museum also attended as well in all putting on a great display

Lined up outside the Royal Hotel for public inspection

 

This is an excellent time for the public to have a close look

Matt's Centurion and Matilda on display

And from another angle

And have a look they did

 

Waiting for the Parade to start

 

169129 looking pretty good this tank has just about been rebuilt by Matt and must come close to being the Best in Australia. Maybe just beaten buy 169126 owned by the Royal NSW Lancers Museum which still has an operating main gun

She is on the way

169129 driving down the main street of Oberon

Matt's Matilda being unloaded

The Matilda being driven in the parade

There were quite a few vehicles in the parade

2118 one of Matt's Bren Gun Carriers

169129 at home getting ready for the drive into Oberon

Some more of the group who I would think camped at Matt's property

Now if you think its just a matter of jumping in and driving to a relaxed day in the parade,----- think again

The Daffy parade is on every year in September, I've been going on and off for about ten years...The cost of running so many vehicles now makes it almost impossible, although this year the council provided transport and fuel...I used 1380 liters!

I don't go unless invited, This doesn't worry me much as I don't need the harassment, this year the request  came on the Tuesday before when the council mechanic came to see me about transport, the official request arrived in the Monday after the event, two days later.

I have been having Cent track problems....I bought a set in Victoria.....Not good. when installed they override the sprockets, that is the sprocket turns inside the track. I had a new set of hubs and sprockets, however when installed it was worse...After investigation it was decided that the road wheels were worn and allowing the new stiffer track to run out of alignment to the sprocket....Back to Tim's and got a new set of wheels....These were installed on the Thursday before the event..

Two weeks prior to the daffy parade I had two vehicles at the Burraga sheep show, while going to this event WE smashed a diff centre and this required towing home...This had to be rebuilt after a new centre was found this was carried out between the 11th and 15th Sept.

On the Tuesday night prior to the event after working on the diff we ploughed into a mob of kangaroos, so after a swift walk back to the shed to get another vehicle to tow us onto our wheels we were off again.

On the Thursday before the event the cent was backed out of the shed for the first time with the new road wheels, for some time now I've been having trouble with second gear....Some time back the pins in the clevis under the fighting compartment floor came loose and locked the selectors....I wasn't to concerned as I thought the problem was an adjustment issue following the selector problem. We have to drive the cent out to the main road (approx 5km) as the low loader wont travel the road....about half way out while I was driving, it locked in gear...Upon investigation it was found the bell crank pivot pin had sheared off in the gearbox....as it was going to require some machining to get running, I had to go and tell the truck that the show was over....

By the time I got back Pete and Tony had the broken part out and I took it to town to get anew one machined...3 hours later we were going again....Still had a track problem....But at least we were mobile....Now the gears select very easy, at least that's something.. on Friday afternoon Pete loaded the cent while I took the Matilda to town...

Saturday.....The parade, the lancers arrived with their ferrets, John Swane from Lithgow and his WW2 jeep club mates and us....Saturday afternoon we trucked the Matilda home and drove the rest home.

It would be great to say, "lets just hop in and drive the Centurion home". (About 25 miles)

2118 with the diff centre removed

Well it does not look all that bad!

Yeahhhhhh ---well maybe I was wrong about that!

Matt at this time had to chase around for another diff, and that could mean obtaining one from interstate, if he can find one!

But in time its all done

Then the gear box blows in 169129 on the way to town. The bell crank pin was the same trouble Rusty and I experienced at Dorrigo when driving Brad Bakers cent so it looks like it not that uncommon, Matt had it running again in about three hours, a great effort.

So here she sat till the repairs were finished

But at last the parade was on its way

The Jeeps looked good

Pity we could not get this many Centurions together at one time!

They all look different

Matt's other Bren Gun Carrier

Matt's second Bren Gun carrier

Another Bren on the way to being restored

The Ferrets make a great display

Again they all look different

The Jeeps still keep coming

The Mitilda still looks great

A Jeep with a hard top

But there is just nothing as impressive as a Centurion Main Battle Tank

In the 1950's when I served we were very short on any sort of equipment

Tank boots were so short that only about ten people in the regiment had them (They had sewn canvas sole about half an inch thick) and climbing around on a Cent in issued boots was a dangerous exercise. We also never had tank suits but a lot managed to acquire a set from other areas, often Armoured School clothes lines. When I did my gunnery course 20 pounder ammo was just about non existent. I remember a .22 cal barrel fitted onto the 20 pounder barrel and the tank was then parked at a mini range with little wooden tanks placed in front on a sand base. When sitting in the gun seat and looking at them 20 feet away in your scope they appeared like a tank at a long distance. The .22 cal was wired in and so when the fire order came and it was to all intents and purposes like firing the big gun everything worked the same, except for the noise and blast as the empty case was ejected. Instead we heard a very small "Ping" The .22 cal was a tracer so you could see it go and hit. When we were classed as fully qualified and then went out to the range for our shoot, everyone got to fire one 20 pounder. Great.

The ammo L to R

1 and 3 are both HE. The usual colour was Olive Drab with a yellow band as per No 3. I can not remember the reason for the light colour of No 1 but can remember them.

2 is of course the much loved CANISTER.

4 is an ARMOURED PIERCING CAPPED BALISTIC CAP. (APCBC) Also called SHOT in fire orders. This was a great solid round of high tensile steel ( I think) but being so hard it tended to deflect when hitting anything that was not at right angles so a copper cap was fitted to help it stick (capped). It still the ballistics of a house brick so was fitted with an aluminum cap to help flight ( ballistic cap). This is as told during gunnery training and I have not heard anything to contradict it.

5 is the ARMOURED PIERCING DISCARDING SOBOT) (APDS). In fire orders it simply became SABOT. This was a sub caliber tungsten steel bolt fitted with alloy blocks to make it up to the barrel caliber and held together with a plastic driving band. When fired the driving band would break away allowing the blocks to drop away leaving only the steel bolt to reach the target.

Both the SHOT and the SABOT shown here are service ammo as denoted by the black and red colouring. Practice rounds were made of mild steel and were light blue with white markings.

6 is a SMOKE round...Prior to loading the operator would use a key with a range scale on it to turn the fuse cone. This would create a powder trail fuse. When fired and the fuse burnt for the required distance a charge would fire three smoke generating canisters out the base of the round which fell to ground creating a curtain of smoke.

The last I would saw is only an empty case possibly added to the photo to indicate a BLANK.

The above information was supplied by Graeme Potts,

 

I have been asked how many I have found and which ones are still missing of the 142 Australian Centurions

000-001-002-003-004-005-006-007-008-009-010-011-012-013-014-015-016-017-018-019-020-021-

022-023-024-025-026-027-028-029-030-031-032-033-034-035-036-037-038-039-040-041-042-043-

044-045-046-047-048-049-050-051-052-053-054-055-056-057-058-059-060-061-062-063-064-065-

066-067-068-069-070-071-072-073-074-075-076-077-078-079-080-080-081-082-083-084-085-086-

087-088-089-090-091-092-093-094-095-096-097-098-099-100-101-102-103-104-105-106-107-108-

109-110-111-112-113-114-115-116-117-118-119-120-121-122-123-124-125-126-127-128-129-130-

131-132-133-134-135-136-137-138----115541-115542-115543-115544

 

Black = Located

Blue = Located Bridge layers

Green = two tanks, same number, both located

Red = Yet to be located. 002-013-022-045-057-065-066-068-085-087-091-093-096-104-118-121-128-136

Total of 18 to be found as yet. Remember there are two 169080's so the total is 143 not the 142 purchased

138 Gun Tanks and 4 Bridge layers plus the second rebuilt 169080 = 143