|" I started collecting as a schoolboy, with flint tools found on an uncle's farm, progressing to various old hand tools etc, then later old farm implements and machinery. The first military items were bits and pieces father had saved from his Home Guard days, a Devon's cap badge, 9mm Sten and US 30.06 bullets, and a real prize, a drill No.69 Anti Tank Grenade. Bayonets and various militaria followed, eventually settling on the 1939/45 period, with British, Canadian and Commonwealth as my main interest.||
progression was the purchase of a WW2 vehicle, a
Canadian C8HUP, as I know now, much modified.
Various others followed, the first tracked
vehicle being the Windsor Carrier. The Centaur,
and later the Churchill from Pound's were the
first tanks, and getting these running after 20
or more years in a scrap yard was quite a
challenge. The first tank is always the worst,
because you have nothing to move it with. In the
late eighties, I helped a friend Dave Freeman,
unloading and selling, several shipments of
surplus Warsaw Pact equipment, and acquired for
myself a WW2 T34/85 tank and it's successor, a
T54, now standing
alongside their Cold War opponent, (later to fight in the Gulf War), a 1949 British Centurion tank.
Why is the collection at Cobbaton ? Simple, we lived there, my contracting business was based there, and my uncle offered to sell me some ground there, which made it the cheapest place to set up. "
The collection has survived without any government grants or handouts, and is still growing, with over 50 military vehicles and artillery pieces, and literally thousands of smaller items from 1939/45. The quantity and range of items restored and preserved over the last 50 years is quite mind boggling.