Page 4.


A look at a few other famous Centurions

169005 This Cent hit a mine in SVN and the driver Trooper J Kerr was killed. It had a new hull fitted in Australia and is now owned by Lt.Col. Peter Jarratt (Retd). A very complete Centurion and in very good nick. This was the first Cent I drove after a break of 44 years.

169006   is now displayed at the Armoured Tank Museum at Puckapunyal. This is a very complete tank with most of the fittings on display. The IR Light mounting bracket is still fitted but the light has been removed for some reason ---Most likely to protect it.        


169012 On display at the Vietnam veterans site at Palmerston Darwin. 


169017 also rescued from a gunnery range. This Cent hit a mine in Vietnam killing the driver, Trooper Mick Hannaford.

Now Holding Ground at Robertson Barracks Palmerston Darwin



169020  Sold to Thunderdome at Melbourne. Destroyed by vandals. Now a very sick tank. Its only use now would be a Gate Guard


 At Hall ACT owned by a private owner in very good condition


169040 waiting to be sold. Holbrook NSW I now believe its one of the ten tanks sold and cut up for scrap. This is incorrect as it has now been located near Flowerdale in Victoria, owner Stuart Buchanan. It at this moment {Dec 2005}  is having a new clutch fitted and hopefully will be running in late Jan 2006       


169042 at Moliagul Vic has a seized motor Owner lives in SA where it will in time be moved

 169043 Private owner - this is also a good runner as most of the private ones are



This one had an incorrect number painted on before it was sold

196055 instead of 169055. The owner told me I had the wrong number and sent me this photo to prove it. 

I am not sure that I convinced him that his was incorrect



 169080 Holding Ground at Bandiana 


169080 This tank hit  the first enemy mine in SVN and was returned to Australia where a new hull was fitted. Its now at Bandiana at the old 4 Base Workshops site. Now known as JUL-Victoria, where they repair Army Vehicles  This is the new hull. There are now two 169080 as the old hull is at Puckapunyal. There is no evidence that this tank went back to Vietnam but it does also have a mine damaged hull. Anyone know anything about this story?


The old hull had a turret fitted and is on display at Puckapunyal tank Museum. The mine damage can still be seen underneath her 



There was some question on who had the original 169080 and so the paint was removed  and 

the original British number found, and this did identify the hull 



Note the row of plastic water containers. In Vietnam water was in very short supply in the field

and the Infantry was often given water by the Tankies, as they only had what they carried in water bottles.



This shows the damage to the hull from the mine blast. Looks like just a bulge but it twists the hull and causes heaps of damage to other items,

eg: The turret may not turn and many other bits jam and will not work This was classed as BER (Beyond Enomical Repair)



  169106 The Dozer Tank now at the Sgt. Mess  Armoured School Puckapunyal. This Cent was penetrated by a RPG7 in Vietnam. It was repaired there and the repair can still be seen above the Pistol Port between the bins on the top edge of the turret. This is a well presented tank and looks very nice. There is a  painting of a Kookaburra on the barrel , holding a VC in its jaws. Bob (Snapper ) Snape was the crew commander of this tank when he was in Vietnam. This Cent fired the first 20 pounder shot in anger in Vietnam, whilst moving through the Long Hai hills.



Now let's just sit down and think about this, we all agree were bogged.


We also agree that we are all in the same boat, right?


At least the accommodation is setup. Should we invite them over for tea?



We are right now,  here comes the LAD in the ARV---- Be with you in a minute chaps!


169045 Found in S.A. --- April 2004

You   never know where you will find information. Many people sent me information on Centurions they had seen, only to be informed I had the information. BUT without peoples help I would never have achieved much at all, and just because they were not the first was of no consequence. They were all prepared to help, and they were all appreciated.

On ANZAC Day 2004 some people were having discussions and the information came out of a Tank in SA. Trevor Hyde contacted me and started on the phone looking for this tank. A days work not only found the owner one Richard Clarke of Macclesfield, but also his web site. The site is very good and I was able to contact Richard who was most helpful and I hope very soon to meet him and see 169045 myself, and some more photos.

The photos below are from his web site which he was kind enough to allow me access too.

Looking nice --- very straight



At idle  -- nice and clean from this angle as well



Another nice shot -- It appears to have all the  MK 5 fittings



What better way to spend some time -- sitting in the drivers seat of a Centurion Main Battle Tank.



Turning up hill in soft ground was not a good idea



Having read Major Paul Handel’s excellent article on the history of the ARV and Bill O'Neill's article on times past, I thought I would put a recent experience onto paper, which may interest the old “Tankies Labourers”.

Last year my son Colin who is currently in a Sergeants position in Lavarack Barracks phoned and told me that one of his mates had an interest in the purchase of a Centurion tank. I thought to myself “why would anyone with supposedly, a normal set of thinking gear, want to go and waste that sort of money”.

Colin volunteered the information that I had worked on tanks and might be able to give a bit of technical advice if called upon. Well I was called upon; during the winter months of last year, the proud new owner had decided to take the tank for a spin. He had gone over a hill crest and was angling down the hill when he decided to turn to the right up the hill again, in soft going. You guessed it; he threw the left track and all but buried the left set of road wheels.

That’s when I received the call.

The short story is they decided to leave the Cent. Where it was until the ground dried out and then try and recover it.

With the assistance of some earth moving equipment and advice of some old tankies, they dug it out, ran the track back on and in the process sheared something in the LH final drive.

I was invited to a BBQ lunch on the property, coincidentally at the time they were going to have a go at removing the final drive, which against my far better judgement I decided to accept.

They had broken the track but weren’t too sure how to proceed from there. Bearing in mind that I hadn’t worked on a Cent for almost 30 years, a few things started to come back; the smell for one and then that black stuff that usually hangs around in the transmission compartment when a rear main oil seal hasn’t been performing up to standard.

We all know how simple it is to get the final drive ready to remove from the hull. All we need to do is disconnect the quill shaft, remove the main brake drum, shoes and backing plate, remove the final drive mounting bolts and lift the unit off.

That is of course if you can push the quill shaft right into the final drive.

In my capacity as supervisor mainly because I don’t bend as well as I used to, I was amused by all of the descriptive language that was being issued by the slaves in the transmission compartment. I hadn’t heard them in that context for years but not one word was original. To them maybe, but not to me.

We were a little behind schedule when we were called to the BBQ, all things being equal, we had expected to have the FD on the deck. A beer and a bit of food gave us a chance to re-assess the situation and regain some of the humour that had been there at the start.

Back to work and it was decided that the complete drive (muff?) coupling had to be removed from the transmission.

Of course all the straining and releasing had pushed the brake shoes from the expanders and anchors which didn’t help, but finally the bloody brake drum was lifted clear and the grins of achievement from the two who had worked so hard was worth the wait.

As it was getting dark, we decided to call it a day, leaving only the brake backing plate to be removed and the slinging of the final drive to remove it.

At the time of writing, the current state of repair is, the final drive has been removed and dismantled and spares have been ordered.

I’ve been promised an invitation when the tank is running (or maybe if they hit a problem when they are putting it all back together again). The number of the tank is 169045.

The above caused me to recall when I was Section Leader of C squadron LAD with the then Major Bruce Richards as OC, the tanks had returned to harbour, work allocated and as befitting my position, Bruce was sharing a couple of shots of B & W Scotch in return for my morning Bundy and coffee which he could sniff out at 200 paces. After a suitable time had elapsed, we decided to do the rounds and check of the progress of repairs. Hearing the sound of some exasperation we stopped, I climbed up to where a couple of “crafties” were trying to engage the quill shafts, without success. In my most confident manner I ordered them out of the way and beginning on the left side, slipped the shaft into position without effort, the same occurred to the right hand side. With all the superiority I could muster I made some comment on their lack of experience, stepped back onto the 100 gallon tank and ended up in a heap on the dirt below. I hadn’t noticed that the tank had been removed.


Frank Owen

Ex WO1

(From CFN to WO2 1 AR LAD1959-62, 1968, 1974-76)

(Armoured Centre LAD 1970-72)





Not a bad bog job really!



She is in deep and was left there till the ground dried out a couple of months later, smart move.

Note the position of the infantry phone --- on its side The ones in Qld were this way as well, all others I have seen were vertical.



Note the slack track  the reason she threw a track, they will not fall for that one again I bet!



The damage to the final drive



Teeth stripped off like butter