Work on the Churchill Mark III* is now underway, following an appeal to support the repair of this unique British Second World War tank.
At the end of last year, when the iconic Churchill Mark III* tank suffered a major clutch failure at Tiger Day 14, The Museum turned to its supporters to raise the much needed estimated £5,000 to repair it to running order in time for TANKFEST 2021.
A supporting bracket had suffered a structural failure, with the failed parts breaking away and falling into the clutch, rendering the tank inoperable until work could be carried out.
The initial clutch mechanism failure was caused by apparent weakness in the manufacture of a structural casting. To avoid the same issue happening in the future, The Museum Workshop approached the Severn Valley Railway and nearby Bridport Foundry to assist with manufacturing the necessary parts.
Head of Collections, Chris van Schaardenburgh, “We were grateful the teams at Severn Valley and Bridport could come on board and create parts from the original designs for the Churchill Mark III*. Making the patterns has been a complicated but necessary process.
“With castings, the main cost in time and money is making the pattern. Despite the march of technology, it still has to be carved by hand from wood, then the mould is made from this, then the part itself is cast.
“Progress was slowed by further COVID restrictions, with the foundry having to close for some time. However, we’re very pleased to say we have now received the parts and Jacob, one of our Workshop Technicians has been able to finish machining the pressure plate assembly.
“The next stage in the project will be to balance the pressure plate and then get it fitted to the tank. The other parts are still with the foundries. However, Bridport Foundry has confirmed the completion of the rest of the parts, so we’ll be collecting them soon.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to once again thank everyone who supported this project. We aim to have the Churchill Mark III* running at this year’s TANKFEST.”
The repair work and the story behind The Tank Museums partnership with The Churchill Trust will be covered in the Museum’s popular YouTube series, Tank Workshop Diaries.