S.A.R.V.A. EVENTS/TOURS/NEWS

 

 

 

Restoration Project of SAR Half Track Armoured Command Vehicle

 

Donald Graves has sent the following notice of interest.  If you are able to assist please drop Sgt. R McCue a line.

 As part of their 2005 centennial celebrations, the SALH are restoring the South Albertas' Half Track Armoured Command Vehicle Half Track to its original wartime condition. This project will take nearly a year to complete and when it is concluded, the vehicle will be maintained and protected by the SALH at their armoury in Edmonton.

 The NCO in charge of this project, Sergeant R. McCue, would like very much to correspond with any SAR veteran who served either on this vehicle or on any of the the wartime halftracks and who may have information that will assist him to restore this vehicle. It turns out that the SAR ACV is actually a much rarer vehicle than thought. It is not a White Motor Company vehicle as I had previously stated, it has a White engine but the chassis and body were manufactured by the Diamond T Motor Company. It is believed that this may the only example of this type of vehicle in service in the wartime Canadian army or extant in Canada today.

 Sgt McCue may be reached at mchuge@shaw.ca

 Don Graves

MORE News and  Pictures of  THE HALF-TRACK RESTORATION - February 24, 2003

Letter and pictures from Rob McCue

Hello, Mike my name is Rob McCue I am a Sgt with the SALH (B SQN in Edmonton) and I am currently in charge of the SAR ACV Restoration project. Donald Graves thought it would be a good idea to give you a rundown of the restoration and a few photos to share with the SAR's. I have been with the SALH since 1990, and was very privileged to have been selected to go with the SAR Vets on their 1999 Bronze Plaque tour to NW Europe. I have been very keen on Regimental history since I joined the Regiment and remember my first summer in the Army taking a course in Calgary for my basic Armoured classification training. The course included a public speaking exercise where individuals were to discuss their regimental histories. Part of my lecture was done about the SAR Halftrack parked in front of the Harvey Barracks, I have learned a great deal about this vehicle since then. While serving in Bosnia with NATO this summer I received an E-Mail from one of our officers stating that the SAR Half-track(H/T) had been delivered to our Armouries. Upon questioning the purpose of the vehicles presence I heard their may be a restoration planned, for the remainder of my time in Bosnia I searched for info on H/T's and about this vehicle in particular. I went to see the vehicle immediately upon my return to Canada in October. I have the photos from that initial inspection and still use them. I quickly immersed myself in trying to get accepted as the project co-ordinator for the restoration as I have often been fascinated by H/T's since I was a boy. My Fathers best friend used to entertain me with stories of his experiences as a H/T driver in the War. It wasn't until I had been in the SALH for about 4 years that I asked my fatherís friend what Regt he was with. Low and behold, he was an SAR, his name is Eric Nichols. So my interest in this project is very personal as well as historical. I spent 3 months collecting info, finding suppliers and contacts to get a worst case scenario budget for the Regimental Association. After carefully assessing the vehicle for as much info and estimated costs the budget and the request went forward and we were able to bring the vehicle inside our Vehicle Bays at the Jefferson Armouries on the 17th of January 2004. Since that Saturday we have been in to work on the vehicle almost every Tues and Thurs evening since. Currently there is much interest in the project and the help has been bountiful, luckily the Regt has skilled tradesman who have dedicated their evenings without pay to restore the vehicle to running condition.  Cpl Adrian Winton is a mechanic's apprentice 3rd year for a Ford dealership in Edmonton, and is currently the "Engine" project head. Cpl Ian Christie who is a Diesel Engine Mechanic's apprentice 2nd year for Cat-Fining in Edmonton is in charge of the body restoration. I have been assisting both and documenting the restoration on video, digital camera and paper. The vehicle has had us in for 7 nights work and we are close to removing the engine to do a complete strip and rebuild, currently the motor turns over by hand although we have a couple of stuck valves. This is a very good sign after this vehicle has been sitting outdoors for as long as it has. The generator and cranking motor have been overhauled and are in very good shape, Cpl Robin Chartier a former SALH member (he now works for 408 Tac Helicopter SQN in Edmonton as a AVN Tech) overhauled both of these items and was amazed at how well built and what marvellous shape they were in. There is that old adage that "They don't make 'em like they used to!", never has it been more true than with this vehicle. The project is going very smooth as the Lord Strathcona's Horse had spent quite a bit of effort to maintain the paint and the lubrication of the vehicle. We do require new tracks and tires as well as various other parts and will be purchasing them from old war stocks, France and Israel have used or had M-3's in storage as War Stocks for the past 30-40 years. We are hoping to have the vehicle completely restored from the frame up to running condition for our 100 Year anniversary in the spring of 2005. We have been lucky to have the support of the SALH Regimental Foundation and the generous support of Stan Milner to aid this project. This vehicle has a very unique history, and is easily recognizable as one of the only armoured roofed H/T of it's type in existence. It was apparently designed by Gen Worthington , and was authorized by Col Wotherspoon. It has the most distinctive profile that is easily recognizable from old war photos and from more recent pictures. There is no doubt that this is the one and only ACV (Armoured Command Vehicle), used by the SAR in the Second World War. It will be a fitting reminder to all generations of the SAR's efforts in WWII, to have it in running shape and visible for parades, functions and displays will be an incredible tribute to a fine Regiment. Here are a few photos as we have been progressing with the work. If you wish to use part or all of this e-mail please feel free.

 

Cheers Rob McCue

 

                                  

A letter and pictures from Rob McCue regarding SAR halftrack progress as of April 1, 2004

Just a quick note on the SAR halftrack, the restoration is progressing well, last week we removed the tracks from the vehicle and completed stripping the frame. All that remains is the running gear and diffs and the frame currently. The motor is going into the acid tank tomorrow night and then to be inspected. We are going to magnaflux the block to search for any cracks or problems prior to reassembly. We are currently sourcing out the main bearings as they have been flattened from long periods of idleness. All the valves have been unstuck and the motor is coming along well. Almost all the parts have been acid bathed and/or sandblasted so we are going to do some priming and painting in May. I am going to insert a few pics for all of you gentleman to look at.

 Cheers, Rob

Meet Sgt. Rob McCue and his crew.  These are the people from the SALH who are actually doing the restoration

 

 

 

 

HALF-TRACK UPDATE FROM SGT. ROB McCUE - AUGUST 2004

Hi Mike, sorry not to have e-mailed in a long while, we have been very busy
working on the SAR Halftrack. We are not as far along as I had hoped, but
progress is continuing daily. We recently concluded a short parts
acquisition trip to Phoenix Arizona, where Cpl's Christie and Winton have
found approx. 90% of the parts we require to complete our project. Currently
the Halftrack is still stripped to the frame, and various pieces are in
different states of repair. About 80% of our sandblasting is complete, with
the frame and larger components next on our list. We have rebuilt the
transmission, and transfer case as well as the radiator, starter and
generator, the horn, air filter assembly, the carb, and various other
components. We have found new old stock  (new parts from 43-65) still in the
original wax wrappings, as well as still packed in cosmoline (packing
grease). Some of these components have the original stickers from the
manufacturer on them (some in Hebrew from the Israeli army, and French as
well). The engine is being rebuilt, due to wear and pitting in the cylinders
we have re-sleeved the block and are awaiting the proper size pistons to
arrive. We needed to do some major repairs/purchasing for items like the
water pump, cam shaft and crankshaft as well as instrument gauges and the
oil filter assembly. All in all, it is coming along well, we will most
likely have the running gear (wheels and tracks) on the frame with hopefully
the motor and tranny installed for the vets visit in Sep, but I think that
is being fairly optimistic. I hope we can continue with the progress we have
made so far, but time is rapidly running out for a full restoration by the
fall/Christmas time period. We are eagerly looking forward to the vets visit
and hope to get a timetable of their plans in order to co-ordinate our
activities with the Vets for that day. We are hoping to have a tour of our
Armouries in Edmonton, with a visit to our Sgt Milner Room, as well as our
new computerized trg systems and Mr. Reg Hodgson of St.Albert is going to
bring some of his WWII Military vehicle collection over for the Vets to see.
He has 18 WWII vehicles ranging from a Staghound Armoured Car to a Harley
Motorcycle. He is also going to bring his restored halftrack to show a
finished vehicle for the Vets and their families. I look forward to seeing
you all in September.
Cheers,
Rob McCue
Sgt
SALH
4th Aug 04

Additional Pictures

Click her for more information and pictures on the Half-Track Project

JANUARY 2005  New pictures (below) of the Half-Track from Sgt. Rob McCue

March 2005 - Half Track Project Completed- See letter and Pictures (below)

Hello Everyone,
 
Just wanted to pass on that,
 
One Year, Two Months, 5 Days after starting this restoration project,
 
"Ol' Reliable" was in motion under her own power, and we put the first Mile on the speedo during our first run.
 
$58,000.00 dollars, over 8700 hrs of labour, which equals 1087- 8hr days of volunteer labour, and many sleepless nights to get to this day.
 
Cpl Adrian Winton and Cpl Ian Christie should be commended on their dedication, preserverance and hard work during this restoration.
 
The Regimental Foundation who funded this worthy project should be commended as well for their unswavering support during the past year.
 
Thanks to all of you who have contributed to this project, the biggest name that comes to mind is Reg Hodgson who has adopted the three of us like sons. And whose phone or advice was always available for comment no matter the hour.
 
What an accomplishment...... There is probably no other unit in the world who could have pulled off this complete frame up restoration in the time we have had to accomplish it.
 
No other unit in the world that I know of can say that they have their original WWII Mobile Command Post restored to near original state, and in running order.
 
'Nuff Said....
 
Rob McCue
Sgt
SALH

Finally Completed !  Congratulations !

 

 

 

 

 

 

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UP DATED  04-02-2009