MATILDA TANK IN ACTION AT TANK FEST
by Paul D. Handel
On Sunday 30 June 2002, the
annual Tank Fest was held at The Tank Museum, Bovington, in the United
Kingdom. Tank Fest is one of the Museum’s premier events, and attracts a
large number of visitors. This year’s event was no exception. On this day,
a relatively large number of Museum vehicles were paraded, along with
those of collectors plus a good representation of in-service vehicles
kindly provided by the Royal Armoured Corps Centre, alongside which the
Museum is located.
One of the most interesting
aspects of this year’s displays was a range of British armoured vehicles,
beginning with the Infantry Tank Mark I, Matilda 1 up to the mighty
Challenger 2, the current Main Battle Tank of the British Army. Among the
tanks to make a circuit of the arena was the Museum’s Infantry Tank Mark
II, Matilda II. Although moving at a very sedate pace, the tank was
hardly audible, its twin diesels moving the tank along quietly and
Originally numbered T 10549,
the tank was donated to the Museum by the Royal Armoured Corps in 1949,
after spending its career as a training vehicle. The vehicle was repainted
in the desert camouflage of the 1941 - 42 period, known as the ‘Caunter
Scheme’. Its markings and name, Golden Miller, represent the tank
of Lieutenant Colonel (later Major General) Bob Foote when he commanded 7th
Royal Tank Regiment. During the period 27 May to 15 June 1942, Foote
displayed outstanding leadership and courage, and was awarded the Victoria
Cross, one of only two won by members of the Royal Tank Regiment.
The photos show the Matilda
during a static display of the Museum vehicles and then moving around the
arena during the mobile display. The Matilda is quite complete, and is
fitted with the later heavy spudded tracks common to those fitted to
Matildas supplied to the Australian Army. The auxiliary fuel tank is
fitted to the hull rear, and the cupola is the early high style.
TANK IN ACTION
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Article Text and Photographs Copyright ©
2003 by Paul D.
Page Created 26 January, 2003
Last Updated 26 January, 2003
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