Organisers of The War and Peace Revival will be taking part in the 70th anniversary of D-Day, by taking their Sherman BARV (Beach Armoured Recovery Vehicle) back to Normandy, where it went into action back in June, 1944.
The Sherman BARV was built especially for D-Day so it is likely to be one of very few vehicles that can say with almost certainty that it was on the Normandy beaches during the 1944 invasion.The BARV is owned by Rex and Rod Cadman and is the only running one in the world! “I wanted it as soon as I saw it,” said Rex, Organiser of The War and Peace Revival, who bought it nearly 13 years ago. “It’s such an unusual beast. There are only four or five left and this is the only one that runs.” The Sherman BARV is well known to War and Peace regulars.The BARV is painted battleship grey. The Royal Navy won the argument over colours on grounds that the vehicle had to operate in the sea. Its job was vital to the invasion’s success. With so many vehicles of all kinds coming off landing craft into water, it was obvious that many would become stuck. Unless a deep wading craft could be deployed to push or pull them out of the way, the invasion would have seized up in one massive military traffic jam. The BARV with its watertight welded hull and high superstructure could operate in nine feet of water. On occasions the Sherman BARV was used to push stranded landing craft back out into deeper water.“This BARV was completely dead when we got her,” said Steve Cobb, who carried out most of the restoration work. “The engine had to be completely restored and there was a lot of welding to do.” Steve, who has driven the BARV in the sea continued; “You have no visibility, just a tiny square of glass to peer through, you are relying entirely on instructions from the person on top.”Once the BARV returns to Normandy, the schedule (thus far) is, on the 6th June it will drive along the Arromanches Beach from Asnelles. On the morning of the 7th June, there will be a liberation parade through the town of Port-en-Bessin, with wreath laying ceremonies at different places within the town, followed by a static display show to honour the veterans of this Commando and celebrate the liberation with the local population. The last wreath laying will be right at the quayside where the show is planned. The following day there will be a display at Bayeux-Tilly.The BARV will be accompanied on this trip with a couple of Jeeps in British markings and one Dodge Command Car and will be meeting up with another D-Day veteran; a Caterpillar D8 to play on the beach!For further information on The War and Peace Revival 2014, the world’s largest and best vintage and military festival and to order tickets go to:www.thewarandpeacerevival.co.uk