Tank makes tracks as ren­o­va­tion work starts

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - By Sa­man­tha Wil­liams

No­ticed any­thing miss­ing in the town lately?

The ar­moured fight­ing ve­hi­cle (AFV) usu­ally found on the ‘tank’ round­about off Tem­pler Way and Chart Road in Ash­ford has been re­moved while restora­tion work is car­ried out.

The tank, as it is of­ten re­ferred to, is cur­rently be­ing looked af­ter by the 133 Field Com­pany REME (Royal Elec­tri­cal and Me­chan­i­cal En­gi­neers) at the nearby Army Re­serve Cen­tre, in Sir Henry Brack­en­bury Road.

Com­mand­ing of­fi­cer Ma­jor Phil Line­han said: “The ‘tank’ was re­moved from the round­about be­cause I was fed up of look­ing out of my win­dow at a once great, ma­jes­tic fight­ing ve­hi­cle that was fall­ing into dis­re­pair.

“I ap­proached Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil (ABC) many times threat­en­ing to re­move it in the dead of night and to re­store it to its for­mer glory.

“It turns out that those threats were not required and af­ter some dis­cus­sion, the word was given by ABC and at mid­night on the very same even­ing a team de­scended on the round­about and six min­utes later the AFV was back in mil­i­tary cus­tody.”

The 133 Com­pany are hop­ing to have the ma­chine fully re­stored and back in po­si­tion as the guardian of the Chart Road Round­about in time for Re­mem­brance Sun­day in Novem­ber.

Al­though the army are not charg­ing the coun­cil for the engi- neer­ing re­pairs and restora­tion, ABC have agreed to pur­chase any items no longer avail­able through mil­i­tary sources.

The tank, which has been lo­cated on the cen­tre of the round­about for many years, served in Ger­many dur­ing the Cold War, then was de­ployed on Op­er­a­tion Granby dur­ing the first Gulf War, and then was sent to Bos­nia dur­ing the cri­sis there un­der the United Na­tions Ban­ner.

Ma­jor Line­han added: “It is hoped that a lo­cal school will place a time cap­sule in­side the ve­hi­cle when it is re­placed on the round­about with a view to re-open­ing it in 25 and 50 years time as part of the First World War com­mem­o­ra­tions.”

The 133 Field Com­pany are re­cruit­ing ve­hi­cle me­chanic and tech­ni­cians, metal fab­ri­ca­tors, gun­smiths, road­side re­cov­ery spe­cial­ists, mil­i­tary chefs and mil­i­tary clerks right now.

No ex­pe­ri­ence is nec­es­sary and all train­ing is given. An open even­ing will be held next Tues­day at 7pm at the Army Re­serve Cen­tre, in Sir Henry Brack­en­bury Road.

ThERE iS WaS…gonE: The ar­moured fight­ing ve­hi­cle, above, has been moved for ren­o­va­tion

Chloe Wilkes, 17 of Tun­bridge Way, who died af­ter tak­ing drugs

Ma­jor Phil Line­han from 133 Field Com­mand REME

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