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andy brown

Somebody out there knows all about this !!

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I have decided to air a subject matter that I have been toiling with for a very long time despite the likelyhood of being seen as a train spotter ,in fact it was (eddy8men )back in mid 2014 who with his question regarding the whereabouts of buried tanks that made me think that it was time to unvail what I have known about this subject for over sixty years more because I am at an age when one is begining to run out of road , one major problem with this is that seventy years ago was a different world in just about every aspect of life ,speak when spoken to,should be seen and not heard ,respect your elders, you may not be guilty but you will be caned as a deterent to others , so like your parents you knew that it was wise to keep your mouth shut and forget what you had seen or heard .

Out of this convieniant atmosphere well suited to a government who might have things to hide came a misuse of information things that were considered not in the public interest and so it became accepted that in some hidden inner sanctum within whitehall some little man would decide on behalf of the nation what you got to know about and what you didn't.

My father was by the time war was declared in 39 a long serving soldier in fact less that a month to go of his reserve not that it cut any ice he was back in for another six years at thirty six he was on the D/D landings six a.m.swam ashore landing craft swamped and he was at that time in the REME ..Latter months of the war he was part of a small team who's brief it was to locate and assess german armour and if found to be of use remove said item a soon as possible making sure the Americans were not aware of their activity this was carried out under a direct orders of one Mr. W. Churchill the whole thing died a death when the Americans refused to engage with or support Winstons life long wish to crush th Russians in june 1945 .

Now if you are going to fight a war youi need someone in charge that has more than one string to his bow and more than enough arrows to this end we were lucky enough to have Winston Churchill in reality a sort of Del boy who knew how to duck and dive when needed an opportunist able to make the most of a bad hand ,a slight of hand would be an advantage and Winston had mad the most of that ability long before the second world war having aquired an arsenal that was cared for and maintained out of sight of even the governments of the day and as he said nobody ever asked him where they came from when he pulled them out of the bag in 1940 .

Aged ten I remember my father now a civilian but working in the REME being visited one Saturday by a couple of top brass they sat in the garden a poured over a lot of maps and papers for most of the afternoon until I was called to bring the dustbin lid where upon the bulk of the papers and maps were burned I recall watching as the thin yellow paper turned toa pale gray but the writing stayed the same colour , some four months later my father disappeared for just over two months he had gone somewhere in the uk to bury tanks a lot of tanks once again it was he and a small team given the job of what appeared to be a cover up from the first operation back in 45 my part in all of this was revived around 2002 when i stumbled across hundreds of tank ident; plates that arrived in a scrap yard in west london from whitehall for destruction on the very day i was paying a visit to the yard I bought some forty of them and promptly sold them at Sotherbys before it dawned on me where these had come from so started a ten year search which came down to six acres of concrete in the easten counties so yes they are still out there but unfortunately the Government has refused to allow me to pursue this matter further..

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That IS very interesting. You say the Government has refused to allow you to pursue the matter further, can you elaborate on this please ?

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Hmmm! 6 acres of concrete would stand out somewhat, and be rather obvious unless it was on government property with restricted access. Maybe a USAF base? Weren't there a few in 'the eastern counties?

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Just as I expected it was bound to find the people who knew they knew everything ! I will admit to a slip up in the Sotherby sale date though was looking at the wrong catalogue in fact the ident plates were sold on the 13 april 1999 at sotherbys summers place sale room in sussex..Lot no;148..in their Arms, Armour, Militaria and Aeronnautica sale..

It wil be a hard story for some to get their head round which is why in the past I have been reluctant to give it an airing but this is only half the story god knows how the rest of it would go down ..there are a few out there that are privvy to this package and have had no problem with its content but then they are professionals ..

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Would the disposal coincide with the building of the Bedford factory on the site of the 1930 Rootes factory in Dunstable where I believe they used to repair Churchill tanks?

Quote from Wiki

GM invested in two new 800,000 square feet (74,000 m2) double story factories, built between 1955 and 1957, which covered an area of 46 acres (19 ha).

They would have poured a lot of concrete there.

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I'll confess I'm struggling a bit with some of this Andy, but that's probably my failure to grasp the gist of what you've written, more than anything else.

 

I think I'm correct in my understanding that you're saying that in early 1945, your dad & his REME team were tasked with collecting German armour, presumably so that it could be looked at by the 'boffins' to see if anything could be learned from the designs? I think this is fairly well documented, even to the extent of the British building Panthers & Jagdpanthers after the war to evaluate them (several of which still exist in various museums/collections). I wasn't aware there was any particular 'competition' or secrecy over this between us & the Americans, however, so that's interesting to read.

 

When you talk about the post-war meeting your dad had, and the subsequent mission to bury "a lot of tanks", though, you say it "appeared to be a cover up from the first operation back in 45", so are you saying that the tanks that were buried were actually German? Also the tank ID plates you mention - are they from the collected German tanks or from something else?

 

Finally, when you mention that Churchill had amassed a secret private arsenal of weapons in the years running up to the start of the war, and that "nobody ever asked him where they came from when he pulled them out of the bag in 1940" - what weapons are we talking about here? I believe the army in particular was still in the process of (legitimate government-sponsored) rearming at the time of the invasion of France & the Low Countries, and after Dunkirk was quite frankly 'on the bones of its a*se'! Apart from Winston probably having a hand in securing arms supplies from the US & Canada, etc., I wasn't aware that anything was 'pulled out of the bag' in those dark days, so any light you can shed on the matter would be much appreciated.

 

 

All the best,

Kevin

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Hello kevin

 

Sorry for the confusion 45 he was searching out german armour along with a team that conscripted german tank crews to bolster Winstons anticipated push against the Russians as in Operation Unthinkable this never got off the ground through the Americans not supporting the idea but at the time only they new about their atomic bomb which may have had something to do with there unwillingness to partake in his venture . around 1947 /8 the fear was that the russians were coming and the Labour party were forced to go onto a war footing opening up munition factories and ordering aircraft such as 500 venoms that they couldnt afford. russians didnt cone Winston in opposition tore into the labour party asking what had happened to the equipment he had put by in 45 Quote "all of the tanks that I had parked in the fields of northen France" "you gave them away to any Tom Dick or Harry who couldnt believe their luck" what happened to the 6 million rifles in 45 you through them into the north sea because you convinced yourselves there wasn't going to be any more Wars but winston in saying that had painted himself into a corner having to explain how he came by his hoard in the case of the german equipment it was down to slight of hand and clever documentation none of these were buried ..fast foward to 49 labour party has unravelled most of what winston had been up to with his hep it was the same M/O here he nicked them .

Back to 1919 Liberal party couldnt organise P in brewery some million soldiers and sailors still overseas give job to Winston who does this on a very personal basis making sure that as he put it "I bought back every weapon that was made and put them in grease and oil and carefully stored them away from prying eyes with the help of the very people i went to rescue " in his dressing down of the labour party he added " nobody even bothered or wondered where the ack ack guns came from when the enemy turned their attention to London in 41""" trouble was he had been stock piling WW2 equipment as he was well aware that if America came of worst with an invasion of Japan and Germany was undefeated he might need a secret back up plan just like the ack ack guns of 1919 as I said lucky for us he was Del boy long before Del boy existed ...so no all of the buried were British ..had to be buried otherwise we would have had to pay for them and the Americans had given the British government a slaughtering that would bring us to our kneesas it was which is what they had intended if any one was to have all the Pink bits it wasnt going to be us .

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Andy this makes interesting reading but I'm not sure how it all fits together.

 

It is no secrete that there was a strong feeling among some senior members of the British armed forces and some members of the war cabinet that from the end of 1944 the Russians represented a considerable threat to Allied plans for post war Germany and potentially the rest of Europe. From the American perspective Patton reputably was of a mind that there was a wasted resource in the form of German elite units locked up in PoW cages.

However if I have understood your narrative correctly I don't understand the rational of bringing captured armoured vehicles back across the channel. To make this worth while in terms of numbers it would require a major logistical operation which would not have been possible to keep from the Americans. As others have already said there were a few type examples brought back for evaluation possibly the the most well known being the Tiger at the tank museum and and another example at Shrivenham military collage along with at least one Panther and several half tracks that were passed onto Vauxhall for evaluation.

Is it possible your Father was involved in the recovery and transport of vehicles for evaluation perhaps ?

 

One point I must correct you on regarding the atom bomb project, Britain was involved in the Tube Alloys project at both Los Alimos and Chalk River. My first Division Head was recruited from Cambridge in 1944 and shipped out to join the US team along with a number of other leading British chemists and physicists.

 

As I said at the start this is an interesting story and perhaps a little more detail would make things clearer, I look forward to hearing more about this

regards

 

Pete

Edited by Pete Ashby

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On a lighter note isn't there 6 acers of concrete at East Kirkby put in in the late 40's to be used by USAF? If you wanted to hide something from the US put it right under there noses!

Peter.

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andy you know there is only one way to go and that is dig under the concrete from the side and see what can be found. remember. forgiveness is always better than permission :D

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hi pete

 

It wasnt intended that German armour be bought to the UK just moved back out of harms way into Belgium and France ..none of this is relevant to the issue of the uk burials it was only to show that there was a conserted effort to amass sufficient armour to match the russian build up both in Germany and the UK ..the UKs stock also included the tanks that were eventually buried ...there never would have been a problem had Winston won the 45 election ..

 

HI Rick ..eddy8men .. as you can see making heavy weather of this HaHaHa ..Answer is they wont even speak to me let alone let me out there ..but then if they find i am right how many millions to clear up the pollution ..Did try diging under but needed bigger machine ..figured in the end easier to go through the top as am pretty sure of the co-ordinates now..

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hi pete

 

It wasn’t intended that German armour be bought to the UK just moved back out of harms way into Belgium and France ..none of this is relevant to the issue of the uk burials it was only to show that there was a concerted effort to amass sufficient armour to match the Russian build up both in Germany and the UK ..the UKs stock also included the tanks that were eventually buried ...there never would have been a problem had Winston won the 45 election ..

 

Thank you for the clarification Andy and apologizes for misinterpreting your previous post.

 

I am aware of certain elements of 'Operation Unthinkable' which the US was also very much aware of. Under the Truman administration the US refused point blank to become involved in another European conflict. The British Chiefs of Staff made it very plain to Churchill even if the US was involved and with up to 100,000 German troops rearmed the odds in terms of material and men were still very much against the Allies. The Russians obtained some knowledge of ‘Unthinkable’ in late 1945 and as a result some commentators are of the opinion that from that point the ‘stand off’ became very much the Cold War.

Given the above it would seem an odd decision on the part of the Atlee government to bury tanks that may have been needed to defend against the real and powerful threat of the Soviets particularly when they could have been put into long or short term storage. It would be a mistake to see the Atlee period as one of appeasement , rather it saw huge sums of money being alocated to the development of Britain’s nuclear capability and the research and development of the next generation of FV’s and AFV’s.

I wish you well with your search but I think the chances of there being anything under the concrete is slim

Pete

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I don't know one way or the other whether there are tanks buried or not, it is really more like the Gold Train here in Poland - sometimes it is more interesting to ponder and investigate than to be sure of a certain outcome.

 

Hence my earlier suggestion, rather than digging perhaps the answer would be to start with ground radar or some kind.

 

However, in what kind of condition would tanks buried under concrete be after all this time, is it in a location that guarantees that water would not accumulate and eventually turn the storage into an underground reservoir full of rusty looking water?

 

trevor

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I would be interested to know a few more details on these data plates retrieved from a scrap yard and sold at auction. There must be some clues there.

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I don't know one way or the other whether there are tanks buried or not, it is really more like the Gold Train here in Poland - sometimes it is more interesting to ponder and investigate than to be sure of a certain outcome.

 

Hence my earlier suggestion, rather than digging perhaps the answer would be to start with ground radar or some kind.

 

trevor

 

I would think Trevor the problem in this case with Geo phys would be the re-bar in the concrete, it would produce an awful lot of interference to the point where you would not see anything else

 

Pete

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The Labour government in 45 gave away all and any equipment they could lay their hands on either to interested parties or scrapped , Winston tore into them for doing just that ask "what did you do with the 6 million German and British rifles i'll tell you what you did with them you through the lot in the North sea ..the Americans called the tune on this aspect of the dictating the terms of our financial existance ..Lend Lease repayments = I you want to keep and use it pay for it ; you cant scrap it because that would earn you money ; we dont want it back ; so you will have to bury it or pay for it ;and the labour party wanted to get their NHS up and running which Truman saw as the next step to communism so no love lost there ..

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I would think Trevor the problem in this case with Geo phys would be the re-bar in the concrete, it would produce an awful lot of interference to the point where you would not see anything else

 

Pete

 

That is a very good point, Pete, I do not really know about such equipment. I do have a vague memory of seeing archeologists using a system of hitting a metal plate lying on the ground with a sledgehammer, and then using some kind of listening probes to measure the resulting vibration - I think they were looking for voids in mixed soil and stone?

 

trevor

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Andy

Have you any documentary proof of anything you have stated with regard to these buried tanks ?

Please answer that so we can give up speculating on how to get the Spitfires, oops.....,tanks dug up.


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Have I got this right?

The tanks buried are US lend least done so to avoid payment after the war?

Peter.

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Hoping to answer Peter45 & Bob Grundy's query..

 

Yes they were part of the repayment scheme or would have been if they had been kept. Four or five years after the war it was now the US money men that were calling the tune they had the UK where they wanted them on there knees they could finally put British Imperialism where they thought it belonged even if they had to throttle it with there bear hands "The King is dead ..Long live the King "so we were hounded into submission, it wasnt that the US wanted the money ,they just wanted to prize the British Colonial fingers off of an Empire they now saw as theirs "All fair in love and war "so make them pay till they bleed ..and they did up until Ed Balls made the last payment quite recently ..so instead of the pink bits theyve got McDonalds .As for being saved from speculating !is it worth it ? I was about 9 and a bit when the meeting took place in the garden and unlike now there was a protocol a sense of the correct procedure here were men who you rarely saw in daylight or any other time Camp Coffee and Digestive bikys that blew the ration book for that week now I must admit I saw my father in a different light he was the same as these guys but they were asking him not telling him Telling him what ?telling them about Tanks that much I gathered but that wasnt unusual my world was tanks we lived yards from 10 command wks Mill Hill there was always one or more of dads mates having a cupper with some great newly painted iron monster parked out side in the road my world smelt of pool petrol, gun oil, and hydraulic oil ..If my father said he buried 326 tanks he buried 326 tanks you lot treasure a hand full of sprocket bolt as if they were gold ..they were cutting them up and tossing the lumps into railway trucks just across the road from our house so as for evidence yes that I have but you can go on speculating ! all I needed to do was register what I knew to be fact while I was still capable of doing so I have no intention of argueing the toss with anyone I saw the state of my Dads hands when they finished that job chiseling off all the plates in a tank X 326 over the course of 10 weeks I refrained from telling the whole story enough toys have been thrown out of the prams thus far .....

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