i-drive with Mat Broughton
Tell us about your military vehicle; what type, year, where and when you got it and why you chose it.
I have two World War Two vehicles, one is a 1944 Ford GPW (Jeep) and the other (my main vehicle) is a 1943 Dodge Weapons Carrier 52.
I was looking for a World War Two vehicle and was lucky enough to be able to buy the Dodge locally in early 2013. It had been in storage for a while and needed recommissioning. After recommissioning I changed the markings to those of the British 50th Northumbrian Division. My late great-uncle served in this division and landed on Gold Beach in Normandy on D-Day.
What is it like to drive?
It is very different to a modern vehicle because there is no synchromesh on any of the gears (known as a crash box). This means you have to double de-clutch going up or down through the gears. Once you have mastered this it is easy to drive. It has a choice of two or four-wheel drive. I have taken it off road with eight people in it and had no problems whatsoever.
Who maintains it?
Mostly I do, with occasional help and advice from other military vehicle enthusiasts. I am a member of the Guernsey Military Vehicle Group.
How difficult is it to get parts?
It is actually quite easy. There are military vehicle specialists in the UK, USA and the Netherlands and virtually everything is available off the shelf. As well as re-manufactured parts, there are plenty of original spares from the 1940s and 50s. For example, I recently ordered some new rear stop lamps which arrived in two days and were still in their original packaging, which was dated August 1953.
What reaction do you get from other road users?
Other road users seem to realise that the Dodge is an old vehicle and cannot respond like a modern car. People are generally very considerate, giving it time to manoeuvre out of gateways etc. Many people smile and wave or even salute as it goes by.
Have you had any interesting journeys in your vehicle?
Last year I drove the Dodge to Normandy with my wife and three friends on board. A round trip of over 500 miles and the Dodge didn't miss a beat. We took part in the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Driving onto Gold beach in the early morning of 6 June, close to the time and place of the original landings 70 years previously, was a humbling and unforgettable experience.
What would your dream journey be?
I think I've already done it, but I am taking the Dodge back to Normandy this year.
Tell us why you are taking part in this year's Liberation Day cavalcade:
Like many local people, I had relatives who were either evacuated or stayed in Guernsey during the Occupation years and Liberation Day was always important to them, as it is to me. I have taken part in previous cavalcades but this year, being the 70th anniversary, will be extra-special. The cavalcade will be much bigger and a large number of vehicles are travelling from the UK and Europe to take part.
What do you think this year's Liberation Day will be like?
A day of celebration and remembrance.
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