A few days ago a relative rang me, telling me where there was a cent motor running in a frame on a trailer. He also mentioned a country town about 70 klicks away from my home, where he said there were "a few Cents, they used to run around the farm!
Well my blood started to boil, I had a phone number of the motor and rang him, but he was in bed his wife said, and to ring back the next day. I rang for the next four nights but there was no answer. So the motor is on the back burner, but the next day I proceeded to try and find the "Cents". I travelled to the town and started to ask a few cafe's and fuel stops, and soon had information that there was someone that knew something in another town up the road, about ten k's. I went straight there and started asking people in the area. The first place I entered. the owner said he knew a bloke that may help. He then rang him and obtained a phone number for me. As I was walking out he said, go down that road over there to the last place on the right, that's where he lives!
I proceeded to the property and drove up to the house, where I met the owner. I will jump ahead here to explain. The owner asked me to keep his name and address secret as he is a very private person, and this I agreed to do, so he has no name, lets call him Des. I was given a fairly friendly welcome, and invited inside, after telling Des I was looking for Centurions. He explained that he had no Cents but I could see a lot of army machinery around the farm, and so asked him about these. Des was petty crook with the flu but asked me to wait awhile and he would get dressed and show me around. He was back quite quickly and well rugged up, (It had been raining al night and only just stopped).
We proceeded towards a large shed, and on the way I inspected the first piece, an old chassis of a Bren gun carrier
There were two types of Brens, one has the motor in the middle like the one above which is a LP2 and the other has it in the front, a LP1. Another easy way to recognize them is that one has (LP1) steering tillers or levers and the other has a steering wheel (Lp2). Just a bit further up the yard was another one
This one is more complete
Here was another one the diff center has been removed from the diff housing.
They may look like wrecks, but once you have a hull you have a great starting point. A Bren gun carrier could be restored in a normal suburban shed, most parts can be quite easily handled, and they are a very simple construction.
These three are British Armoured Brens
Then it was up to the shed and off to the right were three more Turrets, from a Mitilda, M3 Grant and a Staghound
Outside the shed was a M3 Grant 75mm sponson gun
off to the left was an old Blitz
The first sight as the doors were opened was a Mitilda in the process of being restored
The rear view showing the twin motors that have just been fitted
Off to the right under a cover was a nice Stuart
Behind the Stuart was a Saladin
Then under a cover I discovered a fully reconditioned M3 Grant Radial Motor
Onto the other side of the shed and here was a very nice LP2 Bren Carrier
This is a shot of it from the other side: Note the gun barrel and shield above it.
Here is a close up of the gun and shield.
This gun is on the Bren shown below
There were box's and items stored all over the shed, and I could imagine many enjoyable hours would need to be spent inspecting them
This one is an LP1 fitted with a 2 lb Anti Tank Gun, shown from the rear, note the gun shield
this is the one with the gun showed above
This is an Inter 1962 Wrecker-- She served in the Vietnam War
A nice little Ferret Scout car
Then to another shed where this 1932 or 1934 Chrysler (I am not sure of the year) is being restored
Then into still another large shed where there is a very nice 1942 Jeep
Also a very nice LP1 Bren being restored. The detail is amazing, even the tarp on the back when unfolded has the Army writing stencilled on as exactly as the original
This id plate is mounted on the front right guard, note the number ---No5
There were 150 Lp1's built and I believe only three left
The LP2 had a run of 6500
I have collected a few ID Plates over the years, most are very rare!
This is the English Centurion ID Plate as fitted in United Kingdom showing the English War Department Serial Number. These were all removed from the Centurions before sale and to my knowledge only three are now in existence. As most of the brass plates have been removed I feel that they may have been sold for scrap
This was the early MK 5 Modification plate fitted at Bandiana and is the only one I have ever seen.
This is a Base Overhaul Mod Plate fitted at Bandiana 4 Base Workshops
showing two base overhauls to this particular vehicle --- 169097
This Gear Change Plate, is the only one I have seen but I feel that they were common and seem to remember them from my service but I am by no means sure, the memory has faded a bit over 50 odd years, but I am very sure This is the only one I have seen since I started this search.
Service plate on the 20 pounder main gun - servicing the buffers.
This is a Gearbox Mod Plate fitted to Matt Mc Mahon's Centurion 169129
Just a close up look at the plate
If you should have one of these laying around that you do not want, please let me know.
Finding the Scrap Centurion Numbers
When I photographed the centurions at Vince Ryan's property a couple of years ago, unknown to me, I put them into sections. Writing down the numbers of the ones in the shed, the ones behind the shed, the two being stripped, and the one out by itself near the old smokies and the old smokies themselves. Theses pages are still here in my notebook.
When they were sold to the scrap metal firm, I was informed that they had brought ten. The first three I saw at Gerogery being cut up were 169015, 169082 and 169024. I realised that they were the old smokies, and as I knew Brad Baker had brought 169109, and Matt McMahon told me two more in Sydney were 169019 and 169036, that left five more which seemed to fit the rest of the old smokies 169076, 169054, 169130, 169046, and the one off to the side 169040 (Well so much for the educated guess! 169040 is alive an well, it's featured later on the site, now owned by Stuart Buchanan)
The last five are an educated guess but I feel I am pretty close to being correct. Matt told be that they just cut them up into pieces, saving or selling no parts, which in my opinion is a shame, as more of our history is now gone forever!