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3 churchills to be scrapped if not sold


eddy8men
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So without going into perhaps more detail than you'd like to Rick, was it just the money that was the sticking point or the tedious "I just can't be bothered to deal with you" attitude that seems endemic in some parts of the industry?

 

Andy

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the whole deal changed after lunch, they had agreed to let us take parts at 300 euro per ton but I was hoping to save some of the tanks complete. in the morning everything was fine although it was made clear that we couldn't take any of the tanks without them being cut up first which was disappointing but expected. after lunch the sales manager in the main HQ some where else decided it was not worth the effort and put a stop to it which was strange as the yard guys were ok with us taking the spares, it was the upper management that didn't like it. I have been thinking who phoned them? or was it all BS and the yard guys just made it up to get us out of the way. I don't suppose it matters now, the tanks are gone and that's it.

 

 

there were 6 or7 conquerors and a huge pile of parts so maybe 10 were in the yard at one point

 

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Hi Rick,

It is entirely likely that when the company undertook to clear the scrap, there was an agreement it was reduced to scrap and to go against that they may well loose any future work from the authority they are working for or suffer a penalty. Sad I know, and a bitter pill to swallow.

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Please don't post any more pictures as I have dropped into a pit of despair at not only the thought of those Churchills being lamped but also Conquerors!!! ..... and not just one of them either :(:(:(:(

 

actually Richard has probably sadly hit the nail right on the head with the 'future contracts' idea :(

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Surely the sad point, and something which can be addressed is the attitude of the museum (not sure if you said it was 'a' tank museum or 'the' tank museum), as they were offered the wrecks first. I can entirely understand why a museum wouldn't be interested in them but in the interest of what they are custodians of one would have thought they should disseminate the info and offer a simple letter of intent to halt any scrapping on behalf of any interested party. It would be great publicity. "Tank museum pivotal in recovery of historic wartime tanks from xyz". Would play well with the GP.

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What a crying shame. You tried your best, but like someone said before, unfortunately you can't save them all. I was particularly fond of seeing the ARV saved.

I thought I saw a Conqueror in the background of one of your first pics - another awesome piece of kit, and a tragedy their being cut up.

 

Richard

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actually Richard has probably sadly hit the nail right on the head with the 'future contracts' idea :(

 

And to be fair, that's exactly what the MoD's scrap contracts say - MUST be reduced to scrap.

 

Andy

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Is there a museum involved?

That's a good idea though,a good place ot get started. I would call the the Panzer Museum in Munster and ask for their help. Do they even have a Churchill on display? Tell them they need a exhibit showing what their Tigers were shooting at during the war.

 

 

the whole deal changed after lunch, they had agreed to let us take parts at 300 euro per ton but I was hoping to save some of the tanks complete. in the morning everything was fine although it was made clear that we couldn't take any of the tanks without them being cut up first which was disappointing but expected. after lunch the sales manager in the main HQ some where else decided it was not worth the effort and put a stop to it which was strange as the yard guys were ok with us taking the spares, it was the upper management that didn't like it. I have been thinking who phoned them?

Probably one of the yard guys, just looking out for himself and to not get fired for making deals by going around the yard manager.

Did you try talking directly to the yard manager or just the underlings?

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the yard guys were ok, it was the marketing director that objected who was at another site but got wind of it anyway, that put a stop to the whole thing. in future I will try to go through the official channels before it gets to the scrapper.

 

i have learned my lesson and i am going to contact david willey at the tank museum and ask him if in future he gets an offer but doesn't take it up then for him to pass it on to me because you know I won't let them get cut up or at least I will put the word out

 

the funny (or not) thing is the tank museum would have benefited greatly as john pearson is restoring their mk7 and I am helping john so all the spares that I would have provided will never materialise now, also the Swedish tank museum got in touch with regard to their mk3 and the Belgians also need spares. so 3 museum churchills that will not get done now. f#@king makes me angry.

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I feel for you Rick, very frustrating when the parts were so desperately needed but you did all you could. I will refrain from commenting on scrappies to preserve my membership of the forum.

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i have learned my lesson and i am going to contact david willey at the tank museum and ask him if in future he gets an offer but doesn't take it up then for him to pass it on to me because you know I won't let them get cut up or at least I will put the word out
call him now , tell him to contact the yard. It might not be too late, even if one chassis is saved it's better than zero :-(

 

the funny (or not) thing is the tank museum would have benefited greatly as john pearson is restoring their mk7 and I am helping john so all the spares that I would have provided will never materialise now, also the Swedish tank museum got in touch with regard to their mk3 and the Belgians also need spares. so 3 museum churchills that will not get done now. f#@king makes me angry.
yeah that's really warped. On one side, a group of dedicated craftsmen trying to preserve artifacts from the most important Historical even of our time, one that shaped the world we live in.

On the other side, a "Marketing Director" who's probably never picked up a tool in his life , deciding it's too much bother to save that old stuff. >:(

Edited by draganm
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I have no knowledge of the preservation of tracked vehicles but I have a little knowledge of how the scrap yards work. the person scrapping these vehicles will have been paid for clearing these vehicles of the range. therefore they will be looking at what they get scrap value as clear profit. They will have entered into an agreement to sell for scrap only. If they are offered money for parts etc they have to factor in is it worth the risk of loosing future deals for the sake of what after all a good steady income. A couple of idler wheels for readies maybe a truck load No way. They only way you will beat the system is to get on the preferred buyer list and beat the other bidders. One consolation it puts up the price for any remaining every time one is cut up. One other thing to factor in is there is no value/worth in sentimentality only value in turn over profit

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If the scrap firm's decision makers had used their joint loaf on the Churchill tanks , then they could have obtained thousands of Euro value in business advert / propaganda for zilch.

But it is down to the contact they signed up to, -no point in saying how much they could get on the commercial market if they signed to reduce it to scrap then that is that. As happened 20 years ago on Otterburn when the Sea Vixen was removed -had some-one approached the Range they could have had it - but once the scrap dealer bought it from the MOD it had to be completely shreded.

Edited by steveo578
dyslexic spelling.
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I can't help thinking that I should have done more, maybe if I had argued more or threatened them with a breech of verbal contract or something but not speaking german put me at a disadvantage and i'd been on the go for 27 hours straight. I just don't know, there's a part of me that wants to hire a wagon and just go back out and see if there is anything left in the yard. it's just such a waste.

at least it has hardened my resolve to try harder next time round !

 

rick

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I can't help thinking that I should have done more, maybe if I had argued more or threatened them with a breech of verbal contract or something but not speaking german put me at a disadvantage and i'd been on the go for 27 hours straight. I just don't know, there's a part of me that wants to hire a wagon and just go back out and see if there is anything left in the yard. it's just such a waste.

at least it has hardened my resolve to try harder next time round !

 

rick

 

I speak German.

It's indeed a loss if they are scrapped.

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Rick, I don't think you can or should kick yourself. You made a 27 hour trip at short notice to try to rescue these things, motivated not by profit but by a desire to see things preserved. Not many would have done that. Once there you did what you could with the restrictions you had.

 

It's highly likely, as Richard and a couple of others have suggested, and as you guessed at early on, that the scrap dealer's contract specified that they had to reduce the vehicles to scrap and that once senior management got wind of a potential breach of that contract, they put a stop to it.

 

I don't see that threatening them would have achieved anything - you always get more out of people if you work with them (I realise you're just expressing your frustrations). The one thing you might be able to do is contact the relevant director in person and establish in a constructive way what the obstacle is and whether there is any way round it. However they may well feel reducing the vehicle to parts isn't enough and releasing said parts would jeopardise their scrap contract.

 

I don't know whether going to the press or politicians at this point might help save what's left or would just put people's backs up.

 

I think one problem these days is not only arms limitations and demilitarisation laws but also paranoia about liability. Frequently we see usable equipment and vehicles, including historically important ones, destroyed because of largely unwarranted concerns about liability if something goes wrong.

 

Reading the topic I didn't see where the Tank Museum came in or whether they actually had been offered the vehicles - you suggest later they had. As one guy they may well not have contacted you anyway, even if they did think of it. I have to say, it's my experience that museums (with one or two exceptions) are generally fairly blinkered and are not necessarily good guardians of the nation's heritage, sad though that is to say.

 

Either way, as Jack says it's frustrating that important and irreplaceable pieces of history are consigned to the scrap heap almost without thought. Personally, I think it's almost worse with vehicles like this; specialist vehicles are often not considered glamorous and don't attract the attention gun tanks might, but they're just as important in telling the story.

 

However I think you're right; the way to prevent this kind of thing in future is to intercept them before they ever get to the scrap yard, or even classified as scrap. Perhaps setting up some sort of formal clearing house for unwanted tanks and parts, and getting the relevant people - the decision makers and those with direct responsibility - in the MoD, the Disposals Agency, the German defence ministry and museums onside and aware you're doing this might be a way forward, for future cases at least.

 

If I can help with that in any way let me know.

Edited by Sean N
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thanks sean all good points you raise there and I have to agree with them but it still doesn't make it easy to let go of the idea of saving the parts. i must be too stubborn to give up, infact you've made up my mind i'm going to try again today. i'll let you know how it goes.

 

rick

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Go for it. If the tanks can't be saved, at least there's potential to make a significant difference to the restoration of 3 - 5 other Churchills. It didn't look as though they were that far into cutting them so there's a good chance there's at least piles of major units still there, if not complete vehicles.

 

Worth working on from two angles - see if you can get an approach through IWM, Tank Museum, Disposals Agency or other UK sources, while at the same time tackling the relevant director at the scrapyard to see if you can identify and break down the obstacles, plus maybe promise them good publicity as well?

 

Good luck with it.

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I had one last go at trying to save something on sunday but the door was definitely slammed shut in my face. so it's a done deal they are now gone for good.

there was a wartime square door bridgelayer which was particularly interesting because it hadn't been reworked with the cones over the armour bolts, it was also one of only two surviving examples. the twin ark was the only surviving example of the type and that is also gone.

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It absolutely baffles me why things like this are still being turned into cans and why there is no interest in these sort of things from the major museums, who must surely have been aware of the situation and you would think have the clout to get them saved and the contacts to get them moved.

 

If they did not want the vehicles themselves, they might have been able to help out other museums or collectors, perhaps exchanging them for parts they do want.

 

For me, it's particularly important that specialist vehicles like these are saved. It's ironic that the specialist equipment tends to survive longer than the runs of the mill in service, yet tends to get converted back to the run of the mill or destroyed once out of service. Equipment such as this is just as important as gun tanks in telling the history.

 

Absolutely full marks for effort, Rick - a brave attempt.

Edited by Sean N
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Things may have moved on since l was involved with the museum world but in my time it was common for museums to help each other with parts and even vehicles l have sent wheel stations for a dingo to AUSTRAILA new tyres for a Daimler a/c to a museum in the EU and numerous parts to people in the uk to help with restorations Yes museums do get offered vehicles

and parts from time to time and some come with conditions a director / curator is answerable to in most cases a board of

trustees who have the final say the DSA are not interested in history only pound notes if a museum is in need of a part then it should contact another museum in the first case to see if it can help source that item for them l agree with some of the comments made and l also think that Some museums do not act in the best interest of their collections

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