Australian Tank Corps 1930's
Photo supplied by Michael Martin.
The War Memorial Centurion
I have just received some photos from Matt McMahon. The photos were taken by Matt's friend Tracey. Matt and his crew from Oberon spent three days on the Cent removing internals and cleaning the interior.
Day one had the engine bay and transmission bay stripped and most of the turret as well..
Day 2 finished stripping the fighting compartment and cleaned the engine bay and transmission bay..
Day three they fitted the tracks, stripped the drivers compartment, and were on their way home by 3pm.
What an amazing effort and it can only be appreciated by anyone that has worked on a Centurion.
Day one, mid afternoon and the internal parts are stacking up !
Gearbox, air cleaners, Auxgen out and the main engine is ready to lift, They look like hobos, but this tank crew is well trained !
Peter, Liam, Jim, Peter and Andrew discuss the plan as the project starts, Peter & Liam have the Aux Gen ready to go
Auxgen ready to come out
Motor is out !, with less that 40 miles on the drive line from full base overhaul the engines were subjected to almost 20 years of exposure, been on outside display at Puckapunyal. With all the preservative sprayed around inside the fighting compartment You would think that a sheet of plastic over the engines would have been the go !.
Stripping the Drivers Compartment.
A very clean interior
Matt supplied a full set of tracks, dismantled into about 6ft sections, sandblasted and painted. The reinstallation of the walking gear, the vehicle was lifted using jacks and the base section dragged under, we then made up the top run and towed it over from the rear, We had both tracks back on by midday !
The team watch as Jim Young drives another track pin home.
The last job was fitting the replica .30 and .50 cal machine guns
Now an update from Bruce Cameron
Moving 169065 from the repair / stripping yard
Placing 169056 onto the display slab
Looking very nice indeed, a credit to all who worked on her. It's hard to see in the photo, but there is a .30 cal flex machine gun mounted on the cupola lid. This was hand made by AWM staff from sheet metal and I am told looks great. Yes it is welded in position and also covered by 24 hour camera surveillance and floodlights.
Photos supplied by Bruce Cameron
169056 as she looked before the restoration work.
Now its back to 169096 at Andrews Cheshire's property at Wangaratta
The fallen roof has been removed
Frank and Chris Nicholls have now purchased this tank and I went up yesterday with them to see if we could start her up. I had to leave at 3pm to return to Melbourne and at that point of time we had not had any luck.
The basic reason a petrol motor will not start is either fuel or spark. Even bad compression while it will cause a lot of trouble will still allow the engine to start. So the first thing to do is check if there is either spark or fuel that is the cause. With the fuel, removing a couple of plugs would show if they were wet or dry. Wet fuel is getting through dry its not. Then its the spark. With the Centurion it first needs very good batteries, then the Magnetos must be in good condition and finally the booster coil must be working well. All or any of these will stop her from starting. There is a little unit on the right of the driver in the driving compartment. It has a two way switch and a rubber covered button and in some cases a flick switch, but not in all. I am not real sure on the purpose of this switch as its not in all centurions and was not there in my time. Rusty Dyson said it was a over ride for the overheating alarm, another suggestion was it was a cutout for the left or right magneto allowing the driver to test each bank like the one in the fighting compartment. I saw a tank that stopped dead one day and we thought it had run out of fuel. We tried everything with no luck and then the chap driving said he may have flicked the switch with his arm! I reset the switch and she started immediately. So there is more to be done today. There is no sign of it firing or a backfire, so I do feel its electrical. Hope they have more luck today. Well again no luck and my thoughts on the cutout switch becomes stronger. This switch cuts out the low tension earth wire to the magneto's, and its my thoughts this could be the trouble. Anyway its now a couple of weeks before we can go back up for another go.
Everyone was busy except the dog ---- he slept all day.
After 30 odd years there is a lot of rubbish inside.
There will be a lot of cleaning when she gets home.
Underneath to remove all the drain plates
Ready to start
The sliding bins out for more room
A very nice bonus. A Bandiana Modifying plates (black) and underneath a Bandiana Base Overhaul plate. I have one of these and so does Rod Vissor who was lucky enough to buy the one for his tank on Ebay. This is the third one I have seen in my search so they are rather rare. Wonder how many are laying in boxes in sheds still?
The id plate in the engine compartment. Sorry about the quality of the picture but the white strip has the Tank ARN stamped on it. Not many people know of this plate.
Fume extractor and counter weights on the B Barrel
The large white circle is an RPG strike that penetrated the turret. But on arriving home I noticed what appears to be another hit beside it, see smaller circle. I doubt it took two hits this close together but will check it out when I am next up there.
Photo supplied by Bruce Cameron
This is the original picture of the RPG strike and it does show two holes. I doubt two guys firing at the same time would aim at the same point so am at this point in time at a loss. There are two outside holes and repairs but I am not aware if there are one or two inside repairs, will check it out next trip. Note the fire damage from the strike.
A big storm is heading our way.
They had thought ahead and had a large tarp with them
When fully installed, it covered the complete tank, even over the drivers compartment