1972 Alvis Sabre Light tank

 

I grew up near Aldershot & Chobham where there are many firing ranges and vehicle test tracks and research & development centres for Military vehicles. As a boy my friends & I used to go and play on the hard targets (Chieftain MBT & Ferret Scout Cars) on the firing ranges - how we survived I will never know & it must have left a lasting impression.


I first heard about this vehicle through the Alvis Fighting Vehicle Society in UK in 2007 via an article in Classic Military Vehicle Magazine. Contact was made with the society & the question was asked if there were any Sabres for sale - the reply was - "I'm not sure what we've got out in the shed at the moment" after a long road trip through the English countryside I arrived at a farm shed full of military vehicles. Took a couple out for test drive chasing cows around the fields.
I decided on 02 FD 20 because it had a good engine & tracks.


The fun then began trying to arrange getting the vehicle back to Tasmania, import & export permits and many assorted government red tape. After approximately 12 months the paperwork was finally sorted out & the long trip to Tasmania began. Luckily the Sabre fits snugly in a 20' container. 3 months later I was contacted & advised the container has arrived just in time for Steam Fest (annual country show in North Tas 2008). This was the first show I did with the Sabre - lots of interest in the vehicle.

 

Now I had the vehicle here I wanted to know what thehistory was behind the vehicle - I contacted Geoff Fletcher who had access to the military records for British military vehicles. He advised the following:

 

Vehicle Details 02 FD 20

 

1972 - 1976 Blues & Royals at Windsor - (UK)
1976 - 1977 Queens Dragoon Guards (Germany)
1977 - 1981 15/19 Hussars (Germany)
1981 - 1987 17/21 Lancers (Germany)
1987 - 1988 Storage depot (Germany)
1988 - 1992 3rd Royal Tank Regiment (Germany)
1992 - 1996 Storage depot (Germany)
1996 converted to Sabre (UK)
1996 Combined arms training centre (UK)
1996 - 1999 First Irish Regiment (UK)
1999 Deployed to Kosovo - crossed border 12/06/99
2000 - 2003 UK
2003 - 2004 Storage depot UK
2004 Disposal from Army

 

The decision was made to bring the vehicle to Corowa 2009 for the 30th year, this meant I had to find a suitable truck to move the Sabre. A truck was located nearby but needed a lot of work so the next 3 months was spent getting the truck ready for the trip.


In the meantime Geoff Dodge (President of Defence Heritage Transport Tasmania) helped with official documentation needed for ownership of this type of vehicle. After another 3 shows in Tasmania Corowa 30 was looming, I was juabout ready & booked on the ship to leave Tasmania.


A smooth sea crossing of 400klms - arrived in Melbourne Wed 11/03/09 - met up with other members of the Tas Defence along the Hume Hwy and we made our way up to Corowa. This took all day. We had many helpers to awith unloading of Sabre & motorcycle at the loading ramp at the airport. Was a great night meeting Australian Armoured Vehicle Association & the Landrover owners.


Had no problem finding volunteers to crew for the trip out to Maurice Wilson’s property. We got totally soaked on return journey. Enjoyed the Saturday parade very much.

 

 

Greg B.

Tasmania

 

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