Tanks are interesting vehicles, for some odd reason I find them fascinating, and having served in mechanised infantry myself I know how safe you feel behind those steel walls, but how vulnerable you really are to anything bigger than a 12.5mm armour piercing round. World War 2 tanks do not really abound in South Africa, although lately I have been pursuing them as far as as I can. The first one I ever photographed was in Lenz, at the camp where my brother was doing his national service. It was an M3 Stuart, or “Honey” as they were known in Britain, and I do have a soft spot for them. Its probable that they are the most numerous in South Africa.
That image was taken about 1975, and as at 2000 two Honeys are listed as being at the base. I have grown up slightly and thankfully my taste in clothing has improved. The camera still survives and the print that this image was scanned from was taken with it. (126 cartridge format).
Most Stuart Tanks ended up as gate guards at military bases or MOTH shellholes.
There is also a Honey at the Smuts House in Irene.
And a former MOTH Shellhole Honey has found her way to a park in Springs where she is steadily being picked clean by scrap metal scavengers.
She was revisited by a friend in 2017 and is looking very much worse than when I last saw her in 2011.
There is also a Honey to be found at the tank park of the Pretoria Regiment in Pretoria. Gavin Spowart very kindly sent me this image of her taken in 2008.
The document I use to find them is called “Preserved Tanks in South Africa”, by William Marshall and Trevor Larkum, and it lists as many as 34 Honey’s in South Africa. The reason so many seemed to have survived could be because they are small and easy to transport, sadly though, the attention of scrap metal thieves is enough to decimate them and is proving to be even more dangerous than anti-tank guns of World War 2.
The final Honey that is probably the best preserved of them all is to be found at the National Musem of Military History in Saxonwold.
At the Bovington Tank Museum they have a Honey too, and she was imported into the UK from Brazil.
And, my own honey die cast model on a outing. (just because I can)
© DRW 2011-2017. Images recreated 17/03/2016