A partner at a prestigious London law firm with a passion for tanks has written a revealing account of the fighting history of the Churchill tank, as well as the painstaking restoration process involved in bringing them back to life, in a new book.
Nigel Montgomery, whose Churchill Tank Project owns three World War 2 era Churchill tanks, is working with a team to restore them to full running order ahead of next year’s 70th anniversary of D Day. Their work is supported and assisted by the Tank Museum at Bovington.
Nigel said: “I have always been interested in the role of tanks in World War 2 and the Korean War, and with so few veterans of those conflicts remaining, I wanted to found a restoration project to preserve the memory of what they did for future generations. Having started my restoration work with a Cold War era Chieftain tank, which was returned to full running order, I set out to build a complete project to restore, and then use, truly historic British wartime tanks.
“For me, the tanks to restore had to be Churchills, which I regard as the greatest British tanks to fight through World War 2, and which remained in service to see action in Korea. The Churchill Tank Project is bringing these unique survivors back to life in as original and complete a state as possible.
“By doing this we hope to widen knowledge and appreciation of the Churchill Tank, testing some of the myths around them, and to pay tribute to those who fought in them.
“These tanks played an important part in our history, and we are making them available for use in films, documentaries and the media, as well as for corporate visits and exhibitions so that the public can share in the knowledge of what they did, how they drive and sound, hopefully maintaining interest and pride in their achievements.”
The Churchill Tank Manual includes an account of the Churchill’s role in battles through much of the War. Based on actual restorations, archive research and interviews with veterans, the book presents a meticulously detailed and extensively illustrated insight into these legendary tanks and their actual achievements.
The manual uses superb period illustrations, as well as many previously unpublished photographs and documents to reveal the Churchill’s development, construction and war record. The book looks in detail at the tank’s anatomy and armament but also explores what it was like to use, drive and operate one in combat.
There is only a handful of Churchills in running order around the globe, and those being restored by Nigel Montgomery’s Project will be the only ones of their kind running anywhere in the world. This background gives him a particular insight as an author on the subject.
Churchill Tank Manual by Nigel Montgomery (Haynes Publishing) is published 15 August 2013, £21.99. www.haynes.co.uk