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274. Tanking It

26/09/2016

The 17 September 1916 was the first time tanks were used in battle, at the Battle of the Somme.

The centenary was commemorated at the Tank Museum at Bovington, and we had been asked to attend as a static exhibit.

But by now 1264’s engine was in 100 pieces in the Shuttleworth Collection’s workshop, so what were we going to hang the propeller on?

Luckily, Theo had kept in contact with the guys rebuilding a Sopwith Pup, currently housed at Henstridge airfield, and a quick email established that they would be prepared to lend us their non-running le Rhone 80 engine.

Accordingly, on the 11 September, we brought 1264 to Henstridge and parked her alongside the Pup, so that the engine could be switched from one to t’other.

The Sopwith Pup and 1264 alongside each other, and looking remarkably similar. The Pup's cowling dates from her post-war days when she was fitted with a 100hp Gnome Monosoupape engine.

The Sopwith Pup and 1264 alongside each other, and looking remarkably similar. The Pup’s cowling dates from her post-war days when she was fitted with a 100hp Gnome Monosoupape engine.

The transfer was quite straightforward in the end, and everything fitted in all the right places, so we were able to replace the cowling and get on our way.

We’re very grateful to all the Pup team for their help in this matter, and we’re looking forward to being able to return the compliment at some point!

The following weekend we headed off to Bovington, and despite being led by brown signs down some spectacularly unsuitable narrow lanes, we arrived in plenty of time to meet up with the event Co-ordinator, Vicki Pol, who showed us our pitch. Because of the strong overnight wind, we decided to come back early in the morning to rig, and in fact had everything in place well before the gates opened at 0930.

The pitch at Bovington. Notice the HUGE tank park beyond, with all sorts of interesting machinery there.

The pitch at Bovington. Notice the HUGE tank park beyond, with all sorts of interesting machinery there.

The day itself was bright and dry, and as always there were loads of people interested in the only thing that wasn’t a tank!

This young man certainly appreciated the opportunity to sit in the cockpit!

This young man certainly appreciated the opportunity to sit in the cockpit.

All in all, it was a thoroughly pleasant day, and the staff and volunteers made us feel very welcome. And we’re hoping to get down in a bit to look through the actual museum itself, which we didn’t have time to do on the day.

 

 

 

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