A piece of history

Stuart Wright has just finished restoring a 1943 American tank
Stuart Wright has just finished restoring a 1943 American tank

A WARTIME enthusiast has restored a rare American vehicle.

Stuart Wright, of East Bierley, who organised this year’s Yorkshire Wartime Experience in Hunsworth, bought the 1943 M16 anti aircraft half track from Holland.

He said: “It was in a Belgian museum which had gone into liquidation.

“A man in Holland bought it with some other vehicles and it was then put up for sale.

“It was imported in a bit of a wreck to say the least – it has taken me two years to restore it.

“Apart from the engine and the electrics I did everything myself.

“You need special equipment for the engine and it had to be rebuilt to get it running.

“The next job is to restore the gun turret and put the gun back on it. It carries four machine guns.

“Parts have had to be specially made and the body has had to be rebuilt.

“The original parts have to be found – there is one man in England who specialises in half tracks, and you can sometimes find parts on eBay.

“But they are so rare, it’s pot luck. I’ve got everything except one light.”

Stuart said he had taken the vehicle to its first military show, Rauceby Wartime Weekend in Lincolnshire, last month, and also to the popularGrassington War Weekend recently.

He said: “There are only four left in England so they are very rare.

“It is for my entertainment but it’s also an educational thing so it will go to shows.

“It’s great when people come up and ask what it is, and what it does, and if their children can have their photos taken inside it.

“The other enjoyment is finding something that was a wreck and bringing it back to life – if someone doesn’t do it, it will end up going to scrap.

“It’s a piece of history.”