While I was not able to have photos of Anzac Day in Melbourne, a friend in Vietnam, Glenn Nolan, was contacted and asked to take some photos of the Dawn Service at Long Tan. Postage from Vietnam is not good--in fact its very bad. So Glenn asked a lady at Long Tan if she would take some and pass them on to me. It's a small world, and a group of Vets were travelling to Vietnam from Australia and attending the Dawn Service at Long Tan. The lady Glenn approached was Leigh Hay, the wife of David Hay who helped me with photos and the making of the Centurion MBT Workshop Manual on to a CD. David unfortunately had emergency surgery two days before the trip and had to pass, but insisted Leigh attend in his place. And today Leigh was kind enough to pass on the photos which are displayed below.
The Long Tan Memorial --Vietnam
Some of the people attending the Dawn Service
L-R David Smith, Graeme Munsell, Bob Ferrari, Bill Morris, Leigh Hay (representing David Hay), Warren Grant and Jim Hull
Two shots of the Group from the 1st Armoured Regiment Tour
Close up of the Long Tan Cross
Walter Pearson & Jim Hull
Arrival of 169120
Everyone knows that when you have to do something to a time table -- especially interstate-- that things can go wrong ---and will go wrong. First Brad Baker who had 169120 in his care had to go to Perth with work commitments. And so he was not available on the delivery day. But he had done all he could before he left. The Tank was ready to go. Michael contacted Ian Holm who's property the tank was stored on. Ian without being asked moved the tank to a better loading area, cut a track to the tank and supplied equipment to push the tank onto the low loader. Michael in the mean time had to drive from Tongala to Melbourne for the Melbourne Tank Museum Auction about three hours, and then home again that night. Leaving the next morning at 4 am to drive to Newcastle for Anzac Day with his Father. Then fly to Brisbane where he had arranged to pick up a hire car . The travel agent told him to be sure he had $350 cash for a deposit. He did, but unfortunately he did not have a credit card. And so no one would hire him a car. Mad rush to catch a train from Brisbane to the Gold Coast. A phone call to Ian Holm (Ian had nothing to do with the sale, he was just a nice guy and a fellow Centurion owner) and his father came down to pick Michael up. The Tank was loaded and set off to cross the border before dark, all was now well, Michael just had to catch a train to Brisbane, wait till his flight was ready, fly to Newcastle and then drive back to Tongala---he sure did a few miles in seven days.
I was all set to drive up at 6 am Monday morning, until I received a phone call from Michael on Sunday afternoon, the truck had blown five tyres on the low loader out from West Wyalong. He was able to obtain two new ones but as the only other tyres available, belonged to another company who he did not have an account with, it was then a matter of waiting till Monday to access cash, for these tyres. So the delivery has been held up, hopefully it will arrive late on Monday.
The Police blocked off both ends of the road
Here she comes!
The end of a long trip
The trip for the most part was max 70 Km per hour and it still cost 5 tyres. Trailers delivering Centurions do not like high speed and its recommended that they travel at 70 clicks or less. The weight and heat build up from speed, wrecks tyres rather quickly.
And back she goes--I would not like to try backing this rig with a dolly in the middle, but he seemed to have no trouble
Just have to drop the ramps
The signage that made the trip from Qld to Tongala
The tractor that will pull her off the trailer
Just hooking up the tow ropes
Ready to roll off
All rigged up and ready to go. Was not that easy as the tracks were very stiff, having not been run for years. It tested the tractor but she persisted and in time managed to move the Centurion
Ready to come off, but she does not want to move The tractor was digging in
But move she did, in time. The worry was, would she chase the tractor, he did not have a lot of running space
She is off
The road wheels look pretty good for a display tank
On both side, that was a bonus as they cost $250 each and there are 24 of them---these will do the job
Its time to check her out
Michael looks satisfied--its in his back yard at last---you can not begin to imagine the worry of what could go wrong with an exercise like this or for that matter what did go wrong, but that's all over now.
The lady said, "Well I don't know what you are worried about, I only drive it to Church on Sunday's!!"
But still Snr. Const. Gary Atkins thought they should check it out.
I think I have found the trouble there is no transmission! For that matter there is no motor!
Mick Baxter a Vietnam Vet was in Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) in Vietnam but also has fond memories of the Centurion
Most old APC drivers had trained on Centurions. Mick is on the engine decks taking a few photos
Mick mentioned that today a lot of memories came flooding back--I can well imagine--I have on many occasions seen the emotions displayed by Vets when they come into contact with a Centurion MBT again.
There were press people from four Newspapers present, these two were rather nice
Mick Baxter being interviewed by the girls from the Kyneton Newspaper
A BIG MEMORIAL FOR FALLEN SOLDIERS
The report in the Kyabram Free Press
These photos curtesy of Kyabram Free Press
It was a great day and I met some really nice people there---that is one part of this job that make it all worth while
Now all that has to be done is strip her --sandblast--weld and panel beat and then spray paint the lot.
The above photo and article are courtesy of THE SHEPPARTON NEWS
Yeah I noticed they call her a Mk3 --- to late now to alter that. But she is a Mk 5/1 Aust.
TRIP TO VIETNAM VETERANS MUSEUM
Its now a week later, and today Michael drove from Tongala to Kilmore, and we then proceeded down to the Vietnam Vets Museum at San Remo.
The Museum had two Centurion Tow Ropes and only needed one. I had a Radiator Headertank for a Centurion. I had obtained this one donated by Brad Baker who sent it down in the empty engine compartment of 169120. So an exchange was arranged.
The Museum badly needed a Headertank, as theirs was rusted out completely---without one the tank could not be started or run. So we drove down to pick up the tow rope, but unfortunately Michael could not by himself, traverse the turret, open the engine compartment, or lift the very heavy Headertank out. (This trip was set up late last night) So I will have to do another trip down later to deliver the Headertank. But we attended the Museum and picked up the tow rope anyway