At this point of time it was great to find 169026
The information was past on to me by Steven Dietmann 1 / 15 Royal New South Wales Lancers Museum
I contacted the owner, Colin Brown from NSW and he told me his tank was a goer but at the moment it was having pre oilers fitted to the rocker gear to save wear to the tappets, some thing that causes a lot of wear with Centurions that are not started daily.
Colin offered me a look, but as his tank is in Rylstone in NSW on Colin's property, and he lives in Sydney, it presented a problem to me. Colin would have to drive to Rylstone from Sydney and I would have to drive from Kilmore in Victoria. I was contemplating a trip to Northern NSW, but could not give Colin a time that I would be there as calling into quite a few places made a time table impossible. I do hope to arrange a meeting later.
Colin was very helpful and sent me some his photos of 169026. A bonus was a photo of 169028 which has been destroyed as a hard target at Singleton Gunnery range, and was one I did not have a photo of. He also sent some o f 169117 that was at the Nabiac N.S.W. ARN 169117 now belongs to Jeff Morgan in the Pinnaroo area of S.A. and has the name "Blood Sweat and Tears" with the C/S 3A.
I sort of have the feeling this tank is in excellent condition, will be interesting to find out if my guess is correct.
It does look very straight and sports very nice roadwheels.
Is it going to do a knife edge climb for the spectators?
Looks like they opened it to the public, note the two rounds on either guards and the ( mock?) .30 cal on the cupola
Now we know what the pile of earth (Knife Edge Climb) was really for!!
Again at the Air Show
Loaded up for the trip to its new home at Rylstone
169026 being unloaded at Rylstone
Below is the information passed on by Colin Brown, which was supplied by Mike Cecil ,Senior Curator of Military Technology for the Australian War Memorial
Senior Curator of Military
Australian War Memorial
The ensuing operation into the Long Hai Hills is well covered in Hopkins’ ‘Australian Armour’, pages 281 to 283 and 169026, as c/s 22B, was deeply involved.
169028. As stated above it was destroyed as a hard target and this is the only photo I have of her.
ARN 169117 owned at the time by Mal French, Note the (Dummy?) .30 cal on the commanders cupola
This tank was also crewed in 1970 by
Sgt. Eddie Lancaster as Troop Sgt. with Call sign 22A
Tpr Imiach was Gunner
Trp Soutar was Loader / Operator
Tpr Kappler was the Driver
There are a few items that took my attention, so I lightened up the photo a bit for a clearer view. Ed told me that there were no road wheels on the glacis plate as they were in very short supply. ( Short supply??? These guys were at war!) The round object where the spare track links were held had me thinking. Again Ed came to the rescue stating it was the link from the end of the tow cable. The boot scraper on the guard was easy but the items from the lifting points on the turret, on the right hand side looking at the tank front on was another matter. It looked for all the world like a cut down shotgun, standing on its butt, and a bag of some sort,. Ed explained it was a couple of water bags hanging there. My next question was the items in front of the .30 Flex and these turned out to be smoke grenades. There were some items between the operators hands which could be claymores, some thing I will check when I go up to see Ed. The smoke grenade launchers are missing, they were either ripped off by the jungle or removed by the LAD.
These photos were taken in Vietnam 1970 on the Firestone Trail showing CS 2B and C/S 2C
The other tank could be 2A
Note the drums which carried water and a good shot of one way the .30 and .50 cal liners were carried
C/S 2C also has a soldiers box for extra storage while C/S 2B appears to have a petrol hose folded on the rear fuel tank
These photos arrived today in the mail and I breathed a sigh of relief. Eddie Lancaster had kindly posted them to me but by mistake put the wrong postcode on the envelope and they took about three weeks to come from Wodonga to Kilmore (250 Kls) I will be calling in to meet Ed and hopefully obtain some more info in the New Year
2A being refuelled
Lt. Bruce Cameron's tank -- after action where Bruce and Peter Cadge were wounded.
169052 and 169091
Well its now December the 21st and tomorrow I fly to Perth with Val to spend Christmas with my eldest son Mark and his wife Kirstein. I also will see my twelfth grandchild, Maddy for the first time.
Whilst over there I will be calling in to see John Langley who just happens to have two running Centurions. John gave me directions saying there will be two centurions at the property. Hey! sounds like a great day. The 35mm camera and the Video will be going along and John has some video and photos waiting for me. So I hope everyone has a great Christmas and come back early January to see how the day went !
I was to arrive at John's property about 11.30 am and leave around 2pm. My son was to drive me up and then take his wife Kristen and my wife Val onto the winery's. I was a bit worried at to the fact that I may not have enough time so I hired a car at the Perth Airport and drove myself up. and they went shopping in Perth. Why any sane person would miss a nice dusty day watching me playing with Centurion MBT I will never understand, but they did. Just as well as the day rolled on to 6.30pm when I took my leave.
But I am getting ahead of myself. I rang John from about 20 kl away and was given my final directions. Made the road ok but could not see the property, and I was also not sure of the number. The properties were mostly set back from the road. To cut a long story short and no doubt give a large amount of pleasure to one Rusty Dyson, I was lost. I then found there was no network for my phone so started back slowly and managed to find John. Was not hard as he had seen me go by and as in the middle of the road waving his arms. We proceeded to his property and there were two Cents sitting beside his house.
I started taking photos and a bit of Video
169052 with new paint job and looking very nice - She drove nice as well
169091 will have that terrible paint job replaced and a little bit of welding and panel beating to finish her off
She was also a pleasure to drive
In one garage was a 1942 LHD Army jeep . There were heaps of Centurion spares still in box's
John removing a .30 cal for me to take some photos of it.
John has had four .30 cal "Cock & Click" guns made at a cost of $1300 each plus two .50 cal cost $1800 each
These guns will not fire but in every respect they are exactly like the real thing
I had carried a pair of gym boots from Victoria as a tank can be quite slippery, an I also has a new set of goggles as my originals were becoming a bit the worse for wear and did in fact let some dust in.
Then John said, "why don't we have a drive, which one do you want?"
I replied," I don't care", so John said "lets take them both"
My Donald Duck sandals came off and I was in the seat. Away we went, no commander and no one on the guard, just me in a Cent in the bush.
It was a bit of an experience but I had a great cloud of dust in front of me to follow. Trying to wipe the dust from my eyes, flick the sticks to miss various objects like trees and blackboys and we were off. Had a great drive and then decided that I wanted some shots of the Cent coming towards me in the dust at a fair rate of knots. So I swapped tanks and drove 169052 back and parked her beside the house. I walked back with the Video camera and took a few shots of 169091 coming towards me at a fair speed
169091 in a turn throwing up a bit of dust
169091 at speed in some more dust. There was plenty of dust around and as I had no goggles it was a bit of a trial
But it was all good fun and we finally took 169091 back and parked her as she was becoming a bit hot due to a water leak in the Aux Gen water pump. Both tanks are in excellent mechanical conditio with new motors, transmissions and Aux Gens.
They started very well and no sign of smoke. Both suffered from poor left stick as has everyone I have driven and it appears the steering brakes need centralizing, which s not a big job if you know how to do it
Back for a nice cooked meal that John dished up that went down very well as did a cold beer. At this time I finished my second film and when I opened my third one it had no tag which showed that it had been fully used. I was surprised as I thought I had one left. When I arrived home it proved to be blank (Straight from the shop!) That was the end of the 35MM camera and I had to rely on the Video. You can take stills from the video but the quality suffers as can be seen in the two pictures above.
It was about this time when we started to swap stories and information, an dit was not long until the 2 pm time frame became 6.30 pm and I had to be on my way. It had been a great day and another really nice person had joined my list of new friends, which through the Centurion MBT had grown out of all proportions. So I started back towards Perth running about 4 hours late. At Midvale I took a wrong turn and ended up on a mountain where two young ladies were waiting to take a photo of the sunset which was due in about 2 minutes, they had some great camera equipment and there was no doubt they knew what they were doing. They also knew where they were, and gave me directions of how to find Perth. I made it to the airport and then found I had passed the last petrol station and the cost of Budget refuelling me was $1-76 a lt. So I drove out again and found a servo which in itself was no mean effort. Fuelled up I then returned the keys and noticed a shuttle bus. Thought Here I will save a quid and approached him. Cost was $11 but he was not leaving until 9pm. At this stage I became aware I had lost my reading glasses. Back to the Budget counter and picked up my keys, while the girls looked after my cameras and bag. Back to the car and found my glasses and also my new goggles as well which had dropped under the seat. By this time it was approaching 9pm so I used the shuttle to be dropped off at my hotel. Val had been on the phone letting me know that I had been expected back about 8 hours ago and she was a bit hungry. I walked up to the counter to pick up my card so as I could work the lifts, and then realised just what a dirty looking fellow I was complete with half of the W.A. dirt on my body and clothes. Anyway as I was about twice the size f the chap behind the counter I had no trouble. At last I was back in my loving wife's presence who stated, "bathroom" and pointed me in the correct direction. So ended the W.A. tank drive.
John would like to buy two more Centurions so if you know of any for sale please get in touch with me, as well there are a couple of other people as well looking for Centurions.