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John Pearson

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About John Pearson

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  • Birthday 01/01/1961

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  1. "Donated" is not an accurate word!! I borrowed one from a diver in 1987 to act as a master for me to cast a copy from and my tank has been using this copy ever since. A different one of the recovered propellers was offered for sale recently by the son of the late diver who found it in the 1970s. My bank account balance confirms it was not "donated" but purchased. I did agonise somewhat about whether I should buy it (grave robbing etc) but finally decided that as it had already been recovered, it was better in my possession where the memories will be preserved rather than as a shiny object on someone's wall. 6 tanks were sunk at Studland and a 7th was abandoned when it became lodged on the training bank. This tank later floated off and was sunk by the Navy to prevent the secret getting out. All 7 were blown up in 1988 by the Royal Navy because live, fused 75mm HE rounds were being brought up and sold by divers. All DD Valentines are of riveted construction and the charges very largely blew most of them into individual plates although the last 2 received smaller charges and both only had their turrets blown off. One turret landed back in place (almost!) and one landed upside down alongside. Six men drowned, only one body was ever recovered and identified but human remains have never been found in any hulls so they are not technically war graves Due to the damage and corrosion, whole recovery would be almost impossible and any attempt at restoration would be almost akin to complete recreation with just a few original parts..
  2. There are four altogether. The rear two are the same (thin) ones on both the MkII and MkIII. Sorry, no idea about the MkI. The MkIi had thin front two and the MkIII used the weight saved by not having an armoured roof by just about doubling the thickness of the front two to increase mine protection for the crew. A bit later, MkII vehicles lost the armoured roof and at least some were then fitted with surplus/salvaged MkIII thicker ones. In any case, they are a pain in the ass getting in the way of maintence so I leave mine off all the time
  3. I have a couple. I think I have an aluminium and also a bronze one. Both are stamped with vehicle info on scrapped vehicles. PM me, mentioning how many "monies" may be on offer? Cheers.
  4. Anyone know who is running it? John Allison is listed but contact address seems to be Rex's old address............
  5. I am similarly in need of this item. I have even resorted to trying to make a case to go around broken Bakelite pieces recovered from a wreck. A complete one or any parts would be welcome. I have drawings and pics to help anyone else to make a copy but it is a nightmare, even with some internal parts. Cheers
  6. Hi. Good to see another RL saved! I have only just seen this thread so a bit late but in your first post you said you had 900 tyres on the truck but 1100 on the spares? If so, the 1100s will not be much use as they have a different number of stud holes to the 900s. Having 900s (particularly if you have twins on the back) shows it was a wrecker originally, strange that it lost its original crane?? I have a propshaft you can have, needs new bearings but at least it is straight! PM me if you are interested. I am in West Midlands.
  7. I thought it was invitation only and it was easier to get a hen's tooth than an invite? Would not like to go all that way and be refused entry at the gate! Museum is very very good though!
  8. I have a number of vehicles with the deactivated post war smoke dischargers and can confirm that a couple of years ago, the Association of Chief Officers of Police decided that they were pyrotechnic dischargers and NOT firearms so there was no need to have had them deactivated! I think that this decision was based on the fact that the tubes themselves have absolutely no mechanism being just a tube with a small hole at the back. They work by a small charge being placed in the barrel with wires going out of the hole in the back, these connect to terminals and when 24v is applied, the charge ignites. There is a tapered grommet on the wires to form a seal in the wiring hole.The charge throws out a smoke grenade which has been placed in the barrel with the handle inside the tube. You have to pull the pin after placing it in the barrel but the grenade does not set off because the handle is held in place until it leaves the barrel. Charges could be made up easily enough and live smoke grenades can be bought but I would consider that placing them together does make it into a dischargeable illegal firearm (like putting ammonia and a water pistol together) so risks 5 years in prison. The case with the 2" and the 4" weapons is different however. Both are sealed at the breech end when loaded and have firing mechanisms. As both have barrels less than 24" long, they are a banned type of weapon (similar to full calibre cartridge firing pistols) and if not deactivated, prison would be unavoidable, even if used only for blanks. I was told by an ex National Serviceman that any type of smoke discharger, loaded with bird shot, rock salt or gravel was wonderful at clearing riots, particularly in the Middle East while the UK was mandated to "keep the peace" there.
  9. I have been offline for some time and have just discovered this thread. As before, you are doing a magnificent job, I am so jealous! You actually have access to spares - wish I did! Any idea of the identity of the beast at all - NZ or UK numbers?? Cheers John
  10. The linked ark was also known as linked dog. It came about because the weight of conquerer was too much for all existing brige or ark vehicles so they developed this system where two churchill arks moved towards the obstacle at a slight angle to each other and male fittings on one side of one fitted into female fittings (OOOH matron!!!!) on the other, they linked and then drove together into the hole. They both released front and rear "drawbridges" and vehicles could then pass over, the heavy ones having one track on each churchill. There is no practical reason for using the earlier square door vehicles for this except that the round door Mk VII's were still in British service as bridgelayers, flails and AVRE's and a few were being sold to Ireland, India, Iraq Jordan etc and as the Ark system is semi disposal in use (the vehicles would be left in the bottom of the hole, perhaps for months depending upon the tactical situation) I suppose it made sense to use up the older, rivetted square door models for this. To the best of my knowledge there is only one linked dog left: a very battered range target in Germany (not sure exactly where but have seen photos) but this is due for removal and scrapping so will not be about for long. There used to be a complete one at Bovington until a few years back and there are some "drawbrige" parts still existing but the base vehicle was disposed of and the new owner cut off the Ark fittings and restored it as a Mk IV gun tank.
  11. I might be that man! I am working on restoring a Churchill VII and there is a space where the gunner's seat should be. I cant say it is missing as I know where it is: in Bovington's Churchill AVRE so no longer available. Would/could this seat be available - please? (If it is and I can afford it, I will try and persuade Bovington to swap so I can put the original one back where it belongs but if they won't agree, it will still be a great addition to the restoration in itself)
  12. Hi, sorry to have not replied earlier, I have been internet free! Thanks to Big Al for covering my lack of contact! As Al says, we have been working on the Churchill slowly amongst other things, freeing up and removing rust by the bucketfull, as it spent 51 years only a mile away from the Atlantic. I saw this tank in 1987 and I am pretty sure I could have driven it off its plinth, given a few hours of work but the intervening years since then have really done some damage. It will be done but slowly! Anyone in the English Midlands that wants to help - no skills needed!- only has to ask.
  13. I have a very rich fund of stories about John Gillman from the funny to the bizarre but just one: we were on a landing craft, just about to set off for the 60th anniversary of D Day in 2004. He had arranged a carrier, a Churchill, a Sherman and my dingo to go and in fact, as I was skint, he even paid to transport my dingo to Marchwood. Anyway, the soldiers were loading food by the ton and I turned to John and asked if he knew if the weather would be rough as I am certainly no sailor and we were facing at least 12 hours in a flat bottomed craft. He did not know but looking at the supplies going on board, I said never mind, they have plenty of oranges. He gave me a mystified look and I cracked the old joke about oranges being the only thing that tastes the same whichever way it is going. Blank look for about two seconds and then he laughed and laughed like a drain. Over the next few days he must have retold the joke about ten times to various high ranking officers including a US General from the Pentagon! One more: how about the time he needed cotton cloth to replace a blocked fuel filter on a Russian APC on Salisbury Plain? He donated his own underpants: the ones he was wearing! He was one of the best people I ever met and the world is a sadder place for his passing.
  14. If the brass plate is missing you may have serious problems with an ID. Engine number would be available if present which may be some clue but only if it has the original lump which may be unlikely. Unfortunately, Valentine components were marked with paint numbers only in the factories which relates to the factory build numbers so something may appear if you are careful with the sandblasting and you may even find the T number on each of the drivers doors under the paint. I believe that most if not all Valentines in OZ came from New Zealand in the 60's although there are rumours that some came from UK stocks for tractors in the early 50's. If it is ex NZ, you might find serial numbers stamped into the engine covers (air inlet louvres) which will be the NZ army number which may be possible to backtrack to the WD T number, original makers, chassis number etc Ignore any raised numbers in cast components, they are only the part number and will be the same on each Valentine. If the engine compartment is empty, take note of the gear positions on the gear lever gate if that is there as that will identify the gearbox and thereby the engine as the individual gears are in different positions for the Spicer (GMC) box and the Meadows (AEC)box.
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