A few years back, in 2011 I did the rounds of the usual haunts, hunting down plinthed and preserved tanks, there were three models that fell into my research, namely Crusaders, Shermans and M3 Stuarts. This post deals with one Stuart in particular. I will not go into the history of these M3’s, suffice to say they were popularly referred to as “Honey’s”.
This vehicle I photographed in 2011 while visiting the Roll of Honour at the Cosy Corner MOTH Shellhole in Brakpan.
The history of this particular vehicle is not known, but it is likely that she was a gate guard at a former MOTH Shellhole somewhere in the Springs area and she is currently situated at Google Earth co-ordinates: -26.252307°, 28.446881°. This is a former park, but sadly it is more of the remains of a park. The tank when I photographed her was not a total wreck yet.
Those open doors at the back set off alarm bells in my mind when I saw her, sooner or later somebody was going to get in there and remove parts off her engine, assuming that it had not been done already.
Wind forward to 2017, and Joe Borain from Cosy Corner went to see whether she was still intact or not. Rumours were that she was not looking good. I will post the images more or less in the the same order as the “before (2011)” images.
As you can see, the engine compartment has had lots of attention from the scrap metal thieves.
It also appears as if the open viewing slits have been used to “post rubbish” into. It is only a matter of time before they get organised enough to go after her tracks and idlers. The scrap metal industry is not averse to assisting those who decide to remove steel from monuments and memorials. Remember, I watched a whole collection of steam locomotives systematically stripped by illicit scrap thieves in 2010. Anything can happen.
What can be done? According to Joe the site has been fenced, although he did manage to get in. And, a local garage was supposedly keeping an eye on her too. But, what really needs to happen is they need to weld the front viewing ports and rear engine doors shut. And ideally get her moved from the spot where she is now. Who does she belong to? probably the SANDF, and getting permission to move her will be quite a rigmarole. Springs city council were supposed to have renovated the derelict war memorial by mid 2015 and that too stalled so there is not much hope of help from them. But the way things are, one day that honey of a tank will be no more.
© DRW 2017-2021. Created 08/01/2016. 2017 Images are by Joe Borain and are used with permission.