Our challenge is to restore two French tanks: a Renault FT and a Renault TSF wireless radio tank. These will take part in commemorative events planned for the 100th anniversary of WWI.
The problem is that over the past 100 years vehicles have been modified, upgraded or stripped and authenticity is difficult to establish. For example the Renault FT was used right up to and including WWII.
Finding original vehicles or parts is far more difficult. Over 20,000 StuG IIIs were produced during WWII but it still took us over four years to assemble the parts. Renault only produced something in the region of 3500 tanks by 1919. The scale of the challenge when it comes to WWI restoration is obvious.
We have just finished restoring a StuG III. We are currently sourcing parts for the collection’s range of German armoured cars. The vehicles will not undergo full restoration and assembly until we have gathered all the required parts, details and information pertaining to each specific vehicle. We will however be reassembling the bodies and turrets utilising numerous armoured car panels from exploded, abandoned or survivors of the various scrap drives since the war. You can follow this activity through our weekly updates.
The British Empire
Archives are well stocked with official and personal records from the colonies and dominions of those who served as part of the Allied war effort. The story of the vehicles, the people who made them and where they were produced is another matter. We have therefore selected three machines for restoration to commemorate the contribution of the people of the Empire at home and on campaign in WWII. These are an LP1 Universal Carrier from Australia, an Indian armoured vehicle and an armoured car from South Africa.
We hope that these vehicles will create a lasting physical tribute to the enormous effort made by the peoples of the Empire in securing victory in the Second World War.